Several programs are currently underway in the USA to support Land warrior and Future Force Warrior programs with durable, long-lasting supply of electrical power. Several concepts are pursued, including lithium-manganese dioxide “pouches”, which could replace current batteries.
Both primary and rechargeable power systems are considered. The primary pouch battery will consist of a five-cell, 15-volt lithium-manganese dioxide prismatic battery weighing 4.5 lbs., small enough to fit into a standard army canvas pouch. Cells are contained in thin, light, flexible laminated aluminum pouches, replacing the bulky, heavier steel cans typically used for lithium cells. The rechargeable battery set will be used for training and when operational conditions enable regular recharging. The rechargeable polymer battery will consist lighter, eight-cell 15-volt package weighing only 3.5 lbs.
The system operating time for the primary batteries approaches 20 hours, significantly more than earlier competitive batteries which only lasted 2.5 hours. These batteries also offer the Army many additional benefits including the ability to operate safely over a wide range of temperatures, flat voltage profile, light weight, compact design and are more environmentally friendly than other batteries previously used.
Ultralife’s proposed power solution for Land Warrior consists of lithium pouch cells, with lithium anode and manganese dioxide cathode electrodes folded in a flat, or prismatic, configuration and sealed in thin, lightweight laminated aluminum foil pouches. The combination of Li-Mn02 chemistry in a volume and cost efficient pouch configuration resulted in a power source with almost twice the energy of cylindrical-cell lithium sulfur-dioxide batteries currently used by military forces. The Pouch battery manufacturing technology developed during this program will use flexible manufacturing techniques to support the production of various cell sizes and battery configurations. The battery configurations that will be produced to prove out the results of the program are the BA-7590, BA-7847, Land Warrior and CSEL Radio batteries. The BA-7590 and BA-7847 Li-Mn02 Pouch batteries are intended to replace two of the most widely used lithium-sulfur dioxide batteries currently in use by the Defense Department. In February 2004 Ultralife won a $2.7 million development contract from General Dynamics, to develop and produce lithium primary and lithium-ion rechargeable batteries, and vehicle and soldier based chargers for the Land-Warrior Stryker Interoperable (LW-SI) program. Initial deliveries are expected by January 2005.
In early January 2006 Ultralife Batteries announced a new 1.7 million contract to supply General Dynamics C4 Systems with lithium ion rechargeable batteries and chargers developed under the previously announced program. The new batteries and chargers are destined for the Stryker Land Warrior Interoperability evaluation. The systems will be used as part of vehicle mounted kits and individual soldier-based chargers. The Stryker Interoperable portion of the Land Warrior program is scheduled for operational assessment and a Limited User Test in the summer of 2006. The products selected for the program include Ultralife’s UBBL06 (LI-145) Rechargeable battery, a lightweight, rugged, high-energy 16.8 volt, 9.4 Ah lithium ion rechargeable SMBus v1.1 compliant smart battery with a state-of-charge indicator. Recharging will be provided by CH0006 3-Bay Vehicle Based Charger, a rugged, smart Level-3 charger mounted in different variants of the Stryker Vehicle. An alternative charger is the CH0008 Individual Soldier Based Charger Kit, which is a rugged smart Level-2 charger with global input voltage and frequency capability. The 12-Bay Bulk Charger Kit will also be supplied, facilitating rechargino of up to 12 batteries simultaneously in the field, from vehicles or in depot via AC and DC power source. The 12 bay system will utilize the rugged CH0017 smart Level-3 charger.