Marine Corps asks industry for ideas on distributing power to wearable electronics and battery-operated devices in the field

DAHLGREN, Va., 28 April 2010. Scientists at the U.S. Naval Surface Warfare Center Dahlgren Division in Dahlgren, Va., are asking industry for ideas on developing a wearable power-distribution interface that automatically recognizes connected power sources and military battery-operated devices carried by U.S. Marine Corps infantrymen and rifle squads.

The idea is to improve the Marine Corps's ability to manage, distribute, and sustain individual and squad-level battery-powered devices in the field, with the aim of reducing the need to carry several types of extra batteries and reduce the waste of discarding partially spent batteries.

The Naval Surface Warfare Center issued a source-sought notice (solicitation number N0017810Q1911) Tuesday on behalf of the U.S. Office of Naval Research that asks for industry white papers on how to enable the Marine infantryman to distribute power among the battery-powered devices attached to his modular tactical vest (MTV).

This project is part of an overall Navy-Marine Corps project to lighten the load of dismounted combatants to enhance the mobility, responsiveness, and sustainability of the Marine Expeditionary Rifle Squad. The project involves a three-year research effort that is expected to evolve into a full-scale development program in 2014.

Essentially, researchers want to develop a personal power strip able to provide universal power compatibility via a standardized architecture for integrating portable power sources. All interconnects should be able to be performed with only one hand without visual clues.

Proposed solutions must be able to operate reliably in the temperature and humidity extremes of arctic, desert, jungle, coastal, urban, and aqueous environments. This personal power strip should include a universal interface that automatically recognizes each power source and each power consumer upon connection.

The system should regulate power to each Marine, and distribute power from a common central power source such as the BB-2590, BA-5590, BA-5390, BB-2557, and similar batteries. Power sources may also include body conformal batteries currently under development . In addition, the PPS will distribute and regulate power from tactical vehicles to recharge the central battery source and or all other batteries.

This device must be able to distribute power to systems such as the AN/PRC-117G, AN/PRC-148, AN/PRC-150, AN/PRC-152, AN/PRC-153, AN/PSC-13 DACT, AN/PSN-13A DAGR, micro DAGR, vector 21 binoculars, phoenix flashing beacons, squad digital cameras, tactical computers, and individual water purifiers. the system also should be able to recharge batteries.

Companies interested should submit white papers no later than 24 May 2010 to the Naval Surface Warfare Center Dahlgren Division, 17362 Dahlgren Road, Suite 157, Dahlgren, Va.

For questions or concerns contact the Navy's Stacey Palivoda by phone at 540-653-8133, or by fax at 540-653-7088. More information is online at

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