Advanced Military Batteries for the Digital Battlefield: A Technology Challenge

Published - Dec 2000| Analyst - Anna Welch Crull| Code - FCB030A
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Report Highlights

  • This opportunity study is focused on analysis of the high tech batteries used in the military's man-portable systems and devices in the United States. This multimillion-dollar industry is a growing niche in a global industry, but it is a sector that still has to overcome many technological problems. There is a shift in focus from purely "military-unique" battery configurations and chemistries to a combination of "dual purpose" or commercial configurations and chemistries.
  • This report looks at the types of high tech batteries used in the battery powered systems and devices intended to improve communications, target acquisition, weapons sighting, ground navigation, improved global positioning systems (GPS), warning and surveillance systems, and the changes that are coming about as a result of shifts to secondary batteries and the concept of Land Warrior XXI system.
  • An important objective is to identify what is the most likely and, concurrently, the most appropriate technology for each classification of man-portable systems and devices. There are deficiencies in current battery technology that are criticized in today's military that, if solved, will truly enhance military capabilities while reducing or eliminating serious problems with battery technology and will encourage expanded marketing opportunities.

INTRODUCTION

Modern technology has been widely embraced in recent decades by the Department of Defense (DoD) as a means of enhancing the offensive and defensive capabilities of the military services. This is a particularly important factor at a time when our military forces have been greatly reduced in size while being deployed abroad at unprecedented rates. The focus of this technical/marketing report will be on the ground forces, especially infantry elements, because they employ most of the man-portable battery-powered systems and devices used by the U.S. military today.

This opportunity study is focused on analysis of the high tech batteries used in the military's man-portable systems and devices in the United States. This multimillion-dollar industry is a growing niche in a global industry, but it is a sector that still has to overcome many technological problems. There is a shift in focus from purely "military-unique" battery configurations and chemistries to a combination of "dual purpose" or commercial configurations and chemistries.

This report looks at the types of high tech batteries used in the battery powered systems and devices intended to improve communications, target acquisition, weapons sighting, ground navigation, improved global positioning systems (GPS), warning and surveillance systems, and the changes that are coming about as a result of shifts to secondary batteries and the concept of Land Warrior XXI system.

An important objective is to identify what is the most likely and, concurrently, the most appropriate technology for each classification of man-portable systems and devices. There are deficiencies in current battery technology that are criticized in today's military that, if solved, will truly enhance military capabilities while reducing or eliminating serious problems with battery technology and will encourage expanded marketing opportunities.

SCOPE OF STUDY

This report will not cover the more conventional batteries used by the military such as lead acid secondary batteries, NiCad, or alkaline batteries. While efforts have been underway in the Army for at least five years to require new systems acquisitions to use only rechargeable battery systems, the program has met with limited success. Aerospace applications are excluded from this study.

Nonmilitary agencies, i.e., federal, state and local, primarily law enforcement entities, use some of the same types of devices, and therefore batteries, as the military, but to a much lesser extent.

METHODOLOGY AND INFORMATION SOURCES

Throughout the report, past market data is expressed in then current dollars. Estimates and predictions are in constant 2000 dollars. Historic markets and predicted market values for 1980, 1998, 1999, 2000, and 2005 are provided. Most market summaries are based on a consensus scenario that assumes no unanticipated breakthrough technical advances and no unexpected legislation or global-scale conflict. Totals are rounded to the nearest million dollars. Budget figures from the military, adjusted to the conceptual market of this report, are combined with press releases, contracts, and contacts within the industry to provide a basis for the historical market values. Projections are those of the authors and explained in the appropriate sections of the report.

Companies were contacted by letter, email or telephone to gather information, insights, and opinions. A visit to the Army's CECOM (Communications & Electronics Command) at Fort Monmouth, NJ and the opportunity to view their battery sales records and tour their laboratories was vital to the project. The Communications Co., Inc. monthly newsletter, "Battery and EV Technology" was available as an archived monthly resource to the and technology of advanced primary and secondary batteries. Relevant World Wide Web (WWW) pages and Security and Exchange Commission (SEC) reports were examined.

Market data were obtained from extensive reviews of secondary sources such as trade publications, trade associations, company literature, and available on-line databases. This was done to supplement an understanding of applications, markets and trends in the high tech battery industry.

Government agencies, congressional sources and military entities provided information on plans and programs, Department of Defense acquisition systems, R&D, and current and projected organizational requirements for battery-powered systems common to the ground forces.

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