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By Brian Robinson

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Marines go GREENS for battlefield power

That’s GREENS as in Ground Renewable Expeditionary Energy System (do people come up with the names or the acronyms for these things first?). And it’s a testament to the way technology rules much of current warfighting. In the “old” days, Marines had to make do with no more than a radio, a paper map and a compass. These days you’re talking about multi-channel digital radios, hi-def displays, real-time video links to unmanned aerial vehicles and much else left only to the imagination.

You can’t do that without power. So the Office of Naval Research has come up with a highly portable photovoltaic/battery system that Marine units can take into the field with them. Apart from the obvious advantage of providing continuous power in sun-drenched areas such as Iraq and Afghanistan, ONR is also touting the new system as a way of cutting down on hazardous fuel resupply missions that would otherwise have to be launched to keep Marine generators running.

Also interesting is the fact that GREENS resulted from an expedited development process, taking just a year from concept to contract solicitation. The military has been pushing for these kind of fast-turnaround processes to counter the faster-paced developments of today’s asymmetric warfare.

Posted by Brian Robinson on Jan 06, 2010 at 12:19 PM

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In the latest issue: Looking back on three decades of big stories in federal IT.


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