DLA updating battery technologies
The US Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) is working with industry to update battery systems that power some of the US military’s key weapons systems, the DLA announced on 15 March.
Recent work led by the DLA includes the development of a new lithium ion-based power system for the TOW 2 anti-tank missile system and new lead-acid batteries used in armoured vehicles such as the Bradley fighting vehicle.
Current 'flooded' lead-acid batteries, in the 4HN and 2HN configurations, still require users to deal with the messy and potentially dangerous task of opening the cells and refilling them with acid. The US Army sought DLA’s input in 2017 on whether the 4HN and 2HN batteries could be replaced with ones made with new absorbent glass material.
To meet the army’s requirement, DLA awarded a 12-month development project contract to an unnamed industry partner to develop military-unique 4HN and 2HN lead-acid batteries. The company produces green lead-acid batteries and owns some of the original patents for a glass-like material that has become an industry standard.
The two-phase project will begin with the production of ten handmade prototypes that will be tested by TACOM. Once the design and prototypes are approved, the contractor will - using a standard manufacturing process - provide ten batteries built on its production line for TACOM qualification.
The BATTNET programme is also behind major improvements in the battery used to power the TOW 2 missile system to overcome obsolescence and performance issues. DLA partnered with the Army Aviation and Missile Command and a design team to design and test a new lithium-ion based power system, expected to enter production in 2018. The new system has several benefits, including a reduction in weight by about 120lbs and potential procurement savings.
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