REDUCING THE BURDEN ON THE DISMOUNTED SOLDIER (INTEGRATED PORTABLE POWER SOLUTION FOR MILITARY VEHICLES)
Technology has since moved on in recent years and solutions are now available which both improve the overall efficiency of the re-charging capability on the vehicle whilst offering the dismounted soldier significant benefits when away from the vehicle.
The proposed solution centres around the ABSL Soldier Portable Charger (SPC) which ensures that the modern soldier can be interoperable with all in-field power sources (thereby minimising the requirements for additional batteries), In July 2008 the SPC was awarded the “Best Lightweight Soldier Technology” at the Soldier Technology Global 2008 Conference in London Olympia.
The SPC (shown in Fig 1) delivers a step change in the soldiers charging flexibility and hence self-sufficiency in the field by being used as an individual charging unit by the dismounted soldier and then converting to 4 - channel charger by use of the DC Field Charger (DCFC) when back in the vehicle (see Fig 2)
|Fig 1 - The awad winning Soldier Portable Charger (SPC)
||Fig 2 - The DC Field Charger- houses up to four SPCs|
The benefits offered by the SPC when mounted in the vehicle in the DCFC mode are as follows:
- Reduction in size and weight of the charging unit in the vehicle – hence better utilisation of space
- The ability to re-charge a much wider, if not the full range of batteries used by the soldier, by use of suitable interface cables
- Provide faster charging rates thus reducing the re-charging down time
- Providing a significant increase in the flexibility of use to the soldier by being able to take SPCs out into the field, replace charging channels by other SPCs in case of faults, i.e. built in redundancy
- Future proofed solution – the SPC is a Level 3 SMART charger and will be able to re-charge future SMART batteries.
In addition the SPC when used by the dismounted soldier provides the following benefits :
- Reduction in the overall portable power weight burden by allowing the soldier to recharge his battery on the move rather than carry spares.
- Power scavenging - high degree of flexibility in terms of the ability to utilise what ever power source is available in the field e.g. AC or DC including solar panels, dead vehicle batteries, partly discharged primary batteries etc,
- Lightweight –SPC weighs only 0.5kg
- Ability to re-distribute power between power sources i.e. ECM battery to VHF radio battery.
- Ability to recharge legacy batteries with the correct cable.
- Saves power –the SPC is highly efficient and has a DC-DC conversion rate of 94%
In February 2010 the SPC was the subject of a UOR for UK MoD to be utilised for its power scavenging capabilities in redistributing energy between available batteries, also in conjunction with the use of solar panels and recharging systems fitted to Quad bikes.
Over 3000 x SPCs will be supplied during the summer of 2010 for use in conjunction with BOWMAN VHF and HF batteries and the Chubb ECM LIPS 10 battery. The SPC can also be used to re-charge the BOWMAN encryption CIFD/KIFD batteries
Should rechargeable power options emerge in the near future for any of the PRR/EZPRR radio, Night Vision Goggles, and Thermal Weapons sights, all of which currently use primary/non-rechargeable packs, the SPC will have the capability to recharge such batteries with the correct interface cable.
The SPC ABSL Part No is 231017 and it is already codified as follows NSN 6130-99-269-2863. The SPC is designed to meet Def Stan /Mil Std performance criteria and is IP67 rated. The charger will potentially charge at rate up to 3 times quicker than the current BOWMAN Chargers and has the ability to automatically adjust and continue to operate at a lower charging rate to prevent over temperature operation. The SPC has the capability to recharge a flat BOWMAN HF battery to 75% of full charge within 1 hour providing it has adequate in put power.
The circuitry within the SPC is currently being used in the new Single Radio Mounts for the Jackal and Vixen vehicles to provide recharging capability.