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05 June 2013

US Army's new portable charger brings power to soldiers in the field

Portable electronic devices have revolutionized warfare, but they've also burdened the soldiers with an increasing number of batteries that adds significantly to their load. To help lighten the load, the US Army Research, Development and Engineering Command's communications-electronics center (CERDEC) has developed a military-grade Universal Battery Charger (UBC) to help soldiers in the field keep their electronics powered up.

Ever since the invention of the walkie-talkie, soldiers have had more and more electronic gear added to their kit. Fast forward to today when the average US soldier carries 20 pounds (9 kg) of batteries on a 72-hour mission. It’s small wonder that soldiers tend to “lose” batteries on a long march. With the coming of the digital battlefield, things will only get worse.

"There is an increasing need with the networked soldier for portable power," said Dave Schimmel, Project Manager Soldier Warrior lead engineer. "There is a widening gap between the need for power and the actual availability of that power when the soldier is in the Tier-1 environment (the most austere environment, such as the remote areas of Afghanistan) so portable power is an absolute requirement."


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