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Energy-Efficient Technologies for the Dismounted Soldier 1 Introduction The Army has embarked on a firm course to ''digitize" the battlefield by exploiting advances in communications and computer technologies to acquire, exchange, and employ timely digital information throughout the battle space. The Army expects digitization to give commanders and individual soldiers a common picture of the battle space in near real time, enabling them to speed up operations to such a degree that the enemy will be unable to react. Dismounted soldiers, as opposed to soldiers who fight from mobile platforms, will be particularly affected by this initiative. In addition to a weapon and load-bearing equipment, dismounted soldiers of the future will carry such things as a high-capacity tactical computer; a helmet-mounted display; one or more secure, antijam radios; a global positioning system terminal; a hand-held display for color overlay map graphics; a video capture and transfer device; monitoring and detection systems; a laser rangefinder and target designators. These electronic devices will increase the demand for electric power from already limited power sources. Field commanders have always considered reliable power to be a high priority, but the energy demands associated with the new electronics on the battlefield are likely to exceed the capacity of human-portable energy sources. Because practical capacity is limited by the laws of chemistry and physics, the Army must investigate ways to do more than increase the supply of energy. The most promising approach is to reduce energy consumption through advances in electronics technologies. Promising examples include: developing more efficient devices and circuits; using power management architectures; using low power microcircuits, sleep mode designs, and data compression techniques; using adaptive networking; and adopting energy-conservative operational concepts and procedures. Because commercial industry is already working on energy-efficient mobile communications and data processing, the Army can make substantial progress just by following industry's lead. Energy storage technologies were reviewed by the National Research Council (NRC, 1988) in the Energy Engineering Board report, "Power Technology for the Army of the Future" (see also Zucchetto et al., 1989). The results of that study were carried forward into the Board on Army Science and Technology study, "Strategic Technologies for the Army of the Twenty-First
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Energy-Efficient Technologies for the Dismounted Soldier Century" (NRC, 1993a). Since 1990, workshops sponsored by the Army Research Office have been reviewing the state of the art to determine what is applicable to the power needs of soldiers (Space Power Institute, 1990, 1992a, 1992b, 1992c, 1994, 1996). Prior studies and workshops have concentrated on methods for storing more energy in smaller, lighter batteries or fuel cells through the use of more energetic reactants and newer electrode, electrolyte, and packaging materials. The Army has introduced new battery technologies slowly, however, because of the limitations of fundamental chemical properties and because of safety concerns associated with operating at the high specific energies necessary for soldier applications. At the same time, advances in fuel cells may offer a tenfold improvement where substantial amounts of energy are needed over time and where fuel can be resupplied. Batteries represent a major concern for the Army. The logistical costs of providing military batteries for the Army combat net radios during the Gulf War approached the cost of replacing the radios. Commercial batteries could reduce costs, but almost all commercial battery cells come from foreign sources and require stockpiling in bulk. The cost of batteries has become such a major issue that the Army Materiel Command (AMC) recently directed that rechargeable batteries be used wherever practical and established a goal of reducing expenditures on batteries by one-half (AMC, 1996). APPLICABLE TECHNOLOGY AREAS The committee reviewed and assessed technologies associated with the generation, storage, and distribution of energy, as well as technologies associated with energy usage, such as electronics design and fabrication, power management, and data communications. In particular, the committee assessed commercial technologies that might apply to the Army's plans for future dismounted soldiers. The committee divided its technology assessment into four technology areas: energy sources and systems low power electronics and design communications, computers, displays, and sensors networks, protocols, and operations STUDY APPROACH In assessing the power requirements of the dismounted soldier, the committee used the Land Warrior system as a baseline. The objective Land Warrior is depicted in Figure 1-1 and described in detail in Chapter 2. The Army's engineering and manufacturing development program is scheduled to begin
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Energy-Efficient Technologies for the Dismounted Soldier FIGURE 1-1 U.S. Army Land Warrior. Source: Doney, 1996. fielding systems in 1999 with plans to deploy 34,000 by the year 2003. Land Warrior and successor dismounted soldier systems are likely to remain in the Army inventory at least through the year 2015. In addition to the mid-term possibilities represented by Land Warrior and its elaborations, the committee also considered a longer view extending to the year 2025 to project advanced energy concepts that would support revolutionary capabilities for the dismounted soldier in what the Army calls the "Army After Next." The committee formulated research objectives for meeting the anticipated power requirements and, finally, reached a consensus on conclusions and recommendations. REPORT ORGANIZATION The report is organized to document the committee's interpretation of Army requirements based on fact-finding activities and to provide background information and support for the conclusions and recommendations. Chapter 1 (Introduction) explains the study approach and report organization, lists applicable technologies areas, and states basic assumptions. Chapter 2 (Requirements and
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Energy-Efficient Technologies for the Dismounted Soldier Needs) discusses requirements for electric power for the dismounted soldier using the capabilities in the Army Land Warrior program as a baseline. Chapters 3 through 6 assess technologies in the four technology areas. Chapter 3 (Energy Sources and Systems) provides a detailed assessment of compact power sources and systems advances likely to effect the availability of energy for the dismounted soldier. Chapter 4 (Low Power Electronics and Design) discusses the effect of advances in integrated circuitry manufacturing and design techniques on energy demand. Chapter 5 (Communications, Computers, Displays, and Sensors) assesses energy loss and power drain characteristics of basic hardware, and Chapter 6 (Networks, Protocols and Operations) discusses the effects of communications networks and architectures on energy demand. Chapter 7 (Advanced Concepts) offers an integrated assessment of all technology areas, with projections of the power requirements using energy-efficient technologies in the near future (the year 2001) and in the mid-term (2015). Chapter 8 (Research Objectives) proposes specific research objectives that would enable the Army to achieve the capabilities envisioned for dismounted soldiers of the future and provide guidelines for achieving these objectives. Chapter 9 (Conclusions and Recommendations) reviews the committee's most significant findings. ASSUMPTIONS The committee made several assumptions at the outset of the study to focus its efforts. First, the committee defined a "dismounted soldier" as one capable of carrying the battle to the enemy independently, untethered to a supporting platform. The committee assumed that a typical dismounted soldier would be a member of an Army infantry squad and would operate with other dismounted soldiers and leaders in a pyramidal organizational structure like the one shown in Figure 1-2. FIGURE 1-2 Organizational structure of an infantry squad.
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Energy-Efficient Technologies for the Dismounted Soldier FIGURE 1-3 Energy train. The committee also assumed that electric power for the dismounted soldier would consist of elements of an energy train from primary source to consumption, as illustrated in Figure 1-3. Each element in the train is included within the scope of the study and offers opportunities for improving the overall provision of electric power to the dismounted soldier. SUPERIORITY THROUGH TECHNOLOGY The Army has achieved its current superiority through the application of technology. One way to ensure full-spectrum dominance and continued superiority over the extended range of operations the Army faces in the future is to develop and field better technology than potential adversaries. Doing so will require keeping pace with rapid advances in commercial technology, especially as they become more freely available worldwide. This will challenge the way the Army develops and procures systems as never before, but the alternative is to risk becoming a second-class force.
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