Dismounted soldiers may soon be able to siphon power from any electrical source on the battlefield to recharge their battery-powered kit. Army equipment officials are evaluating the SPM-611 Soldier-worn Power Manager, a juice-box-sized device designed to make any power source compatible to charge platoon-sized radios, GPS units and other essential gear.
The SPM-611, made by Protonex Technology Company, is part of a new effort to slim down the Army's Nett Warrior smart-soldier system. Army officials recently moved away from the wearable, but heavy, command and control ensemble and are evaluating a smart-phone device capable of connecting to a secure radio.
Despite the reduced weight, Nett Warrior still runs on batteries that must be recharged, said Bill Brower, deputy program manager for Nett Warrior, describing the SPM-611 at a recent discussion with reporters at the Pentagon.
I can take power from virtually any source. If I come across an old car battery, I can plug this in and charge either of these devices, Brower said, referring to the Rifleman Radio and the chest-mounted smartphone display for Nett Warrior. It will pull power from any power source, AC or DC.The SPM-611 weighs just under a pound and measures 1.6 inches high, 4 inches wide and 2.3 inches deep. It has two ports for connecting to power sources and six ports for charging as many devices. It's also designed to protect against power surges and short-circuiting.