Need for SOC Identified in Iraqi Freedom Will Soon be Available to Land Warriors
by Shirley Georgi
The Defense and Space Power Division of EaglePicher has a new BA-5590 battery with a built in-state-of- charge indicator (SOCI) developed by POWERPRECISE Solutions. This high-energy Lithium sulfur dioxide (LiSO2) BA-5590 is the militaryís most widely used battery, and tremendous cost and logistics savings are anticipated with the addition of an SOCI. Users will now have the ability to make smart replacement decisions based on the remaining energy capacity, eliminating the need to discard a mission-critical battery after a single use.
Why is this product announcement exciting?
Perhaps one of the biggest issues at the U.S. Tri-Services and Expo Conference, a year and half ago (Summer 2003), was the shortage of BA-5590 primary batteries which provided the life blood power for portable communications and weaponry for the soldiers fighting for Iraqi Freedom. This most popular military battery, composed of 10-D size cells packed in a hermetic can with a plastic rectangular housing, was used to power a variety of devices from an AN/PRC-119 Single Channel Ground and Airborne Radio System (SINCGARS) to the Javelin man transportable ordinance launcher.
In 2003, the military procurement of batteries was limited to BA 5590 cells with no indication of state-of-charge. Marines were using 757 packs a day at the height of the conflict, which was 50% of the projected total war requirements. No solider in combat wanted his/her communications or weapon to die from a dead battery, so soldiers were instructed to change the BA-5590s at four hour intervals. Many discarded batteries still had usable power, but there was no way of validating how much was left, so it was best to discard the partially used batteries and get fresh replacements. Thus, inventories in some areas dropped to a seven day supply, with projections the number could have gone to zero. To successfully combat the shortage, six manufacturers of the BA 5590 were asked to built these batteries around the clock, seven days a week.
How will EaglePicherís addition of an SOCI be of benefit?
Batteries that previously might have been discarded prematurely, due to the inability to know the remaining capacity, now have a display that indicates remaining capacity at levels of greater than 80 percent, 60 percent, 40 percent and 20 percent. The SOCI on the BA-5590 provides the user with an indication of the remaining capacity through a unique light emitting-diode (LED) display, which is designed for both night operations and bright light environments. For use with a SINCGARS, the EagePicher BA-5590 battery equipped with the SOCI allows users to correlate percentage of capacity remaining to operating time remaining, allowing for more effective equipment management.
EaglePicher has been awarded a $1 million contract by the U.S. Army Communications Electronics Command (CECOM) for qualification and delivery of the new BA-5590 battery with SOCI. EaglePicher will begin delivery of units to CECOM in spring, 2005. BD