Saturday, June 25, 2011

Army, Indian scientists focus on power, energy

BELCAMP, Md. -- American and Indian military scientists discussed unburdening warfighters through improved power and energy technology March 9.

Developing better power sources is vital for their militaries and countries in general, the speakers said.

"We are trying to reduce the burden on the Soldiers. In Afghanistan, weight is one of the primary burdens. Weight comes in the context of food, fuel and Soldier protection," said Gary Martin, executive deputy to the commanding general, U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command.

"This is a focal point of the Army. Power and energy has become a major focus for small units and individual Soldiers," Martin said.

R.S. Hastak echoed many of Martin's concerns during an overview of Indian research and development. He is the director of India's Naval Materials Research Laboratory.

Hastak's scientists have recently worked on fuel cells, materials protection, marine environment control and development of specialty polymers and ceramics.

Because of Base Realignment and Closure, Aberdeen Proving Ground is becoming the Army's hub for science and engineering, including improved power and energy sources.

The U.S. Army Communications-Electronics Research, Development and Engineering Center is moving from Fort Monmouth to APG as part of BRAC. Eight CERDEC scientists who research power and energy attended the conference.

CERDEC Director Jill Smith said American scientists should seek international partnerships.

"Power is a very important area for us, for our Soldiers, and for the country in general. We have size, weight and power challenges in [the Department of Defense]," she said. "This is a very important collaboration. We can move further and faster than we could alone."

Martin identified agreements with Canada, Israel and South Africa that have led to improvements on U.S. Mine-Resistant, Ambush-Protected vehicles.

"We want to leverage the technologies that other countries have. We are very excited about this partnership," Martin said.

The conference continues through March 11, with presentations from scientists in academia, defense contracting and the military.