Defense

November 6, 2013

Lab improving combat capability by developing more energy-efficient systems

Pictured here, the Base Camp Systems Integration Laboratory at Fort Devens, Mass. There, new technologies have been spinning out to soldiers in Afghanistan and elsewhere since the unit stood up in June 2011.

Technologies are being developed and tested that enable soldiers to focus more on mission and less on logistics and resupply, said Katherine Hammack, assistant secretary of the Army for Installations, Energy and Environment.

Hammack was referring to the Base Camp Systems Integration Laboratory, or B-CIL, at Fort Devens, Mass. There, new technologies have been spinning out to Soldiers in Afghanistan and elsewhere since the unit stood up in June 2011.

Hammack, along with Lt. Gen. Raymond V. Mason, deputy chief of staff, Army G-4, and Kevin Fahey, program executive officer, Combat Support and Combat Service Support, toured B-CIL Nov. 5. They later discussed their impressions of the facility, and pointed out the good work B-CIL has been doing.

About 70 to 80 percent of resupply weight in Afghanistan consists of fuel and water, Hammack said. That weight is being reduced through new technologies coming out of B-CIL.

For example, soldiers are now using an intelligent microgrid computer system that distributes reliable power matched to demand loads and peak demand times at a lower cost per kilowatt hour than the point generation of the traditional grid, she said.

A lot of that energy is renewable, like solar, she said, and when it isn’t being used, it is stored in batteries for later use. This reduces the logistics burden of fuel transport on Soldiers by more than 30 percent.

The shower water reuse system, another B-CIL technology, reduces shower water demand by 75 percent, since the water is recycled.

Another product is the Rigid-Wall Camp, she said, which is replacing traditional tents in theater. It houses 10 to 12 Soldiers, is twice as energy efficient as a traditional tent, can be quickly set up and taken down, and even has ballistic-resistant capabilities. Furthermore, soldiers say it’s comfortable.

 

Budget uncertainties

 

The return on investment in what B-CIL has been doing is proven, Hammack said. However, continuing resolutions and sequestration have put a damper on research and development.

“We may not be able to test as many new technologies as we’d like to in the future,” she said. “We may have to continue with some of the things we already have out there and we may be unable to explore the art of the possible.”

Mason was more blunt.

“The continuing resolution is caustic. You can’t do any new starts and you’re stuck with the previous fiscal year cash flow. And sequestration is Armageddon. It’s a double-whammy,” he said. “The effects spell uncertainty for the Army and its industrial partners, especially small businesses. You can’t run a business efficiently not knowing what the next year is going to look like.”

Despite the budget woes, Hammack said the Army is partnering with academia, the national labs, industry and the other services to come up with creative and cost-effective solutions and products like those she mentioned to support the war fighter.




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 

Headlines July 23, 2014

News: Israel’s Iron Dome defense in line for tripled U.S. spending - Israel’s iron Dome missile defense system may end up getting triple the U.S. funding that the Defense Department sought for it in March. Ukraine asked U.S. for systems to counter Russian missiles - A month before the United States says a Russian missile likely brought...
 
 

News Briefs July 23, 2014

U.S. military deaths in Afghanistan at 2,194 As of July 22, 2014, at least 2,194 members of the U.S. military had died in Afghanistan as a result of the U.S.-led invasion of Afghanistan in late 2001, according to an Associated Press count. The AP count is three less than the Defense Department’s tally. At least...
 
 
Raytheon photograph

Raytheon completes key Air, Missile Defense Radar reviews

Raytheon photograph Partially-populated, full-sized Air and Missile Defense Radar array. Raytheon has completed two critical program reviews for the new Air and Missile Defense Radar, the U.S. Navy’s next generation integ...
 

 
Insitu photograph

Insitu demonstrates long endurance capabilities of Integrator unmanned aircraft

Insitu photograph Insitu’s Integrator unmanned aircraft recovers via SkyHook; the aircraft recently completed a 24-hour endurance flight. Insitu announced July 22 the successful 24-hour flight of its Integrator unmanned a...
 
 

NASA partners punctuate summer with spacecraft development advances

Spacecraft and rocket development is on pace this summer for NASA’s aerospace industry partners for the agency’s Commercial Crew Program as they progress through systems testing, review boards and quarterly sessions under their† Space Act Agreements with the agency. NASA engineers and specialists continue their review of the progress as the agency and partners move...
 
 

U.S. Navy selects Northrop Grumman for ship self-defense system

The U.S. Navy has awarded Northrop Grumman a $12 million task order for a full range of engineering services to continue modernizing the Ship Self-Defense System Mark 2. The contract has a potential value of $61 million over five years, if all options are exercised. SSDS MK2 is a combat system designed for anti-air defense...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>