Ability to scavenge from vehicles, other batteries, solar panels and other energy sources
The US Army Program Executive Office Soldier (PEO-Soldier) has received signature approval for Protonex Technology Corp.’s, a wholly owned subsidiary of Ballard Power Systems, Mobile Soldier Power Program of Record (PoR) to full rate production status, commonly known as “Milestone C”. This includes a number of new devices focused on improving power and energy management on and around the soldier, including Protonex’ Squad Power Manager Kit (SPM-622), conformal wearable batteries, and man-worn power and data distribution devices, such as Protonex’ Vest Power Manager family.
“With the digitisation of the battlefield, the US military identified a capability gap in energy and power management for its increasing array of electronic devices,” Paul Osenar, President of Protonex, explained. “Our Squad Power Manager is one of the solutions that fill this gap. Lightening the load of warfighters by eliminating many of the batteries, adapters and chargers they carry was a requirement that we identified years ago. We are excited to work with the Army to provide innovative and practical power solutions like our Squad Power Manager. The Milestone C designation now enables the U.S. Army to field the SPM-622 as part of the Mobile Soldier Power PoR in significant volume.”
The small, light and intelligent SPM-622 system increases mobility and flexibility of the soldier. The product fulfills a US Army requirement that has been validated by deployed units engaged in combat operations in austere environments, delivering a number of high-priority benefits to military end-users that include: reliable power for a variety of electronic devices, including equipment for communications, medical, explosive ordinance detection and directed fires; lightened load due to reduced battery burden; reduced logistical strain in remote locations or austere environments as a result of the lower quantity and variety of batteries needed; increased energy independence; and increased operational and mission effectiveness.
According to the company, all that is needed for scavenging power is to choose the appropriate connector/adapter cable from a deployment-ready kit that Protonex provides and presto: power! The time it takes is dependent on the energy source and the level of charging needed.
“We have currently deployed our power management systems with all four branches of the US military, as well as extensively across the US Special Operations Command,” the company concludes. “We have also deployed them with UK, French, Swedish and other European allies. Our systems are also currently undergoing trial and evaluation with the armed forces of several other allied militaries in other parts of the world.”