Portable battery charging to be demonstrated for dismounted soldiers by SMSS unmanned vehicle

WASHINGTON, 28 Oct. 2010. Lockheed Martin's Squad Mission Support System (SMSS) autonomous vehicle will demonstrate rugged maneuverability while meeting solderis' need to recharge batteries in Portable Power Excursion (PPE) tests next month at Fort Riley, Kansas.

Posted by John McHale

WASHINGTON, 28 Oct. 2010. Lockheed Martin's Squad Mission Support System (SMSS) autonomous vehicle will demonstrate rugged maneuverability while meeting soldiers’ need to recharge batteries in Portable Power Excursion (PPE) tests next month at Fort Riley, Kan.

The PPE is part of the larger Net Warrior program, which will use the PPE tests to collect data and form a strategy to help reduce weight load carried by soldiers, while providing long lasting power, Lockheed Martin officials say.

"Soldiers deserve the best possible situational awareness, communications, optics, sensors, and protection, and the SMSS will help power it all and relieve their burden," says Jim Gribschaw, director of combat maneuver systems at Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control in Orlando, Fla. "SMSS represents much more than a portable charging station; it can carry more than half a ton of warfighters' supplies and can autonomously follow the squad, allowing the soldier to put down the remote control and focus on the fight."

The SMSS vehicle will cycle through three test companies from the 1st BDE, 1st Infantry Division during the Net Warrior excursion demonstration. During that time SMSS will maneuver soldiers and provide2 kilowatts to 4 kilowatts of power -- the SMSS can charge as many as 146 batteries within 10 hours.

In addition to six soldier battery chargers and a complement of batteries, the SMSS will carry and power a Mobile Network Integration Kit to improve communications from the network to the platoon, as well as transport as much as 600 pounds of other soldier gear.

Nett Warrior, managed by the Army's Product Manager Ground Soldier, is a set of soldier-worn battle tracking technologies that provide dismounted soldiers with increased situational awareness, better redaction times, and reduced risk of fratricide. Nett Warrior is designed for infantry brigade combat teams. A Nett Warrior-equipped rifle platoon, along with all of its organic radio power consumers, will consume the power of 140 batteries per day. The collection of batteries required for one 24-hour mission weighs 155 pounds.

When completed, the PPE's safety release for operating by and among soldiers will be the fourth military-issued safety release for the SMSS vehicle.

More in Power