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 April 21, 2014

News: Former Ranger breaks silence on Pat Tillman death: I may have killed him - Almost 10 years after the friendly fire death of former NFL star turned Army Ranger Pat Tillman, a fellow ranger admits that he may have been the one who fired the fatal shot.   Business: Ship study should favor existing designs -...
 
 

News Briefs April 21, 2014

Navy OKs changes for submariners’ sleep schedules The U.S. Navy has endorsed changes to submarine sailors’ schedules based on research into sleep patterns by a military laboratory in Connecticut. With no sunlight to set day apart from night on a submarine, the Navy for decades has staggered sailors’ working hours on schedules with little resemblance...
 
 

NASA cargo launches to space station aboard SpaceX resupply mission

Nearly 2.5 tons of NASA science investigations and cargo are on the way to the International Space Station aboard SpaceX’s Dragon spacecraft. The spacecraft launched atop a Falcon 9 rocket from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida at 3:25 p.m., EDT, April 18. The mission is the company’s third...
 

 

Second series of CASIS-sponsored research payloads launch to ISS

The Center for the Advancement of Science in Space is proud to announce several sponsored research payloads have launched to the International Space Station onboard the Space Exploration Technology Corporation’s Dragon cargo capsule. This marks the second series of investigations headed to the station that are sponsored by CASIS, the nonprofit responsible for managing research...
 
 

Boeing to give California workers $47 million in back pay

PALMDALE, Calif. – Boeing will pay $47 million to hundreds of current and former Southern California employees who are owed back pay and benefits, a union announced April 18. An arbitrator ruled against the aerospace giant in January and laid down guidelines for the payments and interest, but it took months to cull through records...
 
 

NASA selects commercial crew program manager

NASA has selected Kathy Lueders as program manager for the agency’s Commercial Crew Program. Lueders, who has served as acting program manager since October 2013, will help keep the nation’s space program on course to launch astronauts from American soil by 2017 aboard spacecraft built by American companies. “This is a particularly critical time for...
 




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>