By looking at battery chemistry, researchers also have developed two smaller and lighter batteries to replace the ones soldiers already use. One is a new version of the BA-5590 battery, a standard power source used in about 80 types of Army radios and robots.
The new version, which has been under development for about five years, can be used in the same equipment but is half the size and weight of the current BA-5590 battery. However, the smaller footprint has not decreased its performance or lifetime, according to the Army. Researchers used lithium-carbon monoflouride, which has a high energy density without the cumbersome weight, as well as other materials to make the new version of the BA-5590 battery more compact.
Army researchers also are tweaking the design of a polymer conformal battery the size of a box that soldiers usually carry on their backs. The Army's Communications-Electronic Research, Development, and Engineering Center is working with the RDECOM's Natick Soldier Research, Development, and Engineering Center to replace that battery with one 0.8 inches thick that soldiers can wear inside their clothing.
The more compact battery will lend itself especially to soldier maneuverability by eliminating a bulky backpack that can make it difficult to move through rough terrain and tight spaces, according to the Army.