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 November 26, 2014

News: When Hagel leaves, new SecDef faces big questions about the military’s futureĀ - President Obama’s new pick to run the Pentagon will face a dizzying set of challenges affecting the Defense Department’s mission, budget and culture. Who will be the next Secretary of Defense?- Following the Nov. 24 surprise announcement from the White House, the...
 
 

News Briefs November 26, 2014

Navy to decommission two more ships in Puget Sound The Navy recently decommissioned the guided missile frigate USS Ingraham at Everett, Wash. It will be towed to Bremerton and scrapped. The Daily Herald reports the Navy also plans to decommission another ship at the Everett homeport and also one stationed in Bremerton. Naval Station Everett...
 
 

NASA airborne campaigns tackle climate questions from Africa to Arctic

NASA photograph The DC-8 airborne laboratory is one of several NASA aircraft that will fly in support of five new investigations into how different aspects of the interconnected Earth system influence climate change. NASA photograph The DC-8 airborne laboratory is one of several NASA aircraft that will fly in support of five new investigations into...
 

 
Air Force photograph by Rick Goodfriend

16T Pitch Boom reactivated to support wind tunnel tests

Air Force photograph by Rick Goodfriend The Pitch Boom at the AEDC 16-foot transonic wind tunnel (16T) was recently reactivated. This model support system is used in conjunction with a roll mechanism to provide a combined pitch...
 
 

Northrop Grumman supports U.S. Air Force Minuteman missile test launch

Northrop Grumman recently supported the successful flight testing of the U.S. Air Force’s Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile weapon system. The operational flight test was conducted as part of the Air Force Global Strike Command’s Force Development Evaluation Program. This program demonstrates and supports assessment of the accuracy, availability and reliability of the...
 
 
army-detector

Scientists turn handheld JCAD into a dual-use chemical, explosives detector

Scientists at the U.S. Army Edgewood Chemical Biological Center at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md., proved it is possible to teach an old dog new tricks by adding the ability to detect explosive materials to the Joint Chemical Age...
 




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>