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News | Feb. 27, 2023

DLA R&D works to improve battery technology, reduce costs

By DLA Research & Development

Batteries power devices like the lifesaving pacemaker, cars, smartphones, hearing aids and many other devices that make life easier and safer. They’re so commonplace they often blend in with other modern conveniences.

The Defense Logistics Agency procures $200 million of batteries annually. Critical weapons systems, aircraft, ground vehicles and communications systems all rely on long-lasting, durable batteries to maintain America’s global strategic advantage. Civilian agencies including the U.S. Forest Service and Federal Emergency Management Agency also require batteries to power their mobile communications systems during wildfires, tornados and hurricanes.

DLA Research and Development is working to develop manufacturing and logistics solutions that improve industry’s ability to provide batteries in a ready-to-use state with improved performance, quality, safety and shelf life. DLA is also focused on lowering the cost and lead time for batteries.

DLA R&D started the Battery Network Program in 2010 to improve battery support to warfighters by developing and leveraging advanced manufacturing technologies through industry partnerships. The program is focused on improving the shelf life and safety of batteries as well as reducing premature disposals.

BATTNET is expected to qualify and transition two new capabilities this year. The Conductive Polymer Bipolar Lead Acid Batteries Project developed 6T prototypes that are 35% lighter than current batteries. These batteries are critical to the defense industrial base, and the new bipolar design will generate fuel savings and lower distribution costs while yielding energy, power rate and longevity improvements.

Another R&D project addresses outdated technology that powers 4HN batteries used for gun turrets on armored fighting vehicles. BATTNET is contracting with industry to design a lead-acid battery that uses absorbent glass material to improve safety, power, energy capacity, vibration resistance and shelf life. The U.S. Army Ground Vehicle System Center will test, qualify and approve two prototypes later this year.

In 2022, the Defense Department formed the Federal Consortium on Advanced Batteries and the Defense Advanced Batteries Working Group to explore how to leverage new technology improvements and battery science to achieve increased battery performance and capabilities.

Visit the BATTNET website to learn more about DLA’s battery support.