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US Army Demonstrates Mobile Microgrid Capability to Power Next-Gen Weapons

The US Army recently demonstrated a vehicle-mounted microgrid system that provides “on-the-move” power for next-generation weapon systems.

In addition to powering systems such as directed energy and missile defense, the vehicle-centric microgrid (VCM) prototype promises to charge “future command, control, communications, computers, and intelligence systems,” the army said.

Valuable on the Battlefield

The utility of the system greatly increases in a threat environment.

C5ISR Center engineers work on a hybrid power system as part of the US Army’s ongoing research in tactical microgrids, which provide resilient and efficient power for soldiers in the field.
C5ISR Center engineers work on a hybrid power system as part of the US Army’s ongoing research in tactical microgrids, which provide resilient and efficient power for soldiers in the field. Photo: US Army

“Generating 100 kilowatts per vehicle and capable of supporting both static and on-the-move operations, VCMs enhance our lethality and survivability in contested environments,” project lead for Army Futures Command Dean McGrew said.

A VCM system can distribute power between vehicles and through a “centralized controller” regulate the power supply for optimal efficiency.

More Efficient Power Generation

Another project lead for Army Futures Command, Frank Bohn, explained that the VCM reduces the Department of Defense’s overall energy footprint “by coupling a more efficient power generation approach for expeditionary forces with reduced logistical requirements to deploy and sustain it.”

McGrew remarked that the system could also be utilized for non-combat applications such as humanitarian assistance and disaster relief operations. He revealed that the National Guard is interested in using the technology for responding to natural or man-made disasters, predicting that 10-20% of army tactical vehicles will have VCM capability in the future.

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