Tony Bui is an engineer with the Army Power division of the U.S. Army Communications-Electronics Research, Development and Engineering Center (CERDEC), which is located at Fort Monmouth, N.J.
As my colleague wrote yesterday, CERDEC Army Power is at the C4ISR Symposium in Baltimore this week, discussing and displaying our research and development efforts to support the dismounted Soldier. In addition to emerging technologies, we’ll be addressing some of our recently deployed systems. One that’s been receiving a lot of attention lately is the Rucksack Enhanced Portable Power System, or REPPS.
The REPPS provides forward charging capabilities by combining solar panels, connectors and adaptors for increased charging options. It’s portable and can charge most common military battery types in five to six hours. If devices with higher power need to be charged, several REPPS may be daisy-chained together.
This means units no longer have to be tethered to vehicle power or tactical operational centers. Rather, a solar panel and suite of power accessories provide alternative energy for operating C4ISR equipment and charging standard Army batteries. The system, which has been used for surveillance and reconnaissance missions, is designed for silent watch operations and operations in remote areas.
This REPPS has been evolving since 2004; originally, it was just a Soldier Photovoltaic Portable Power Panel. But we’ve been working with units and gathering feedback in order to better meet Soldier needs. As a result, the new incarnation provides a whole spectrum of custom power. The REPPS now includes supplementary connectors and adaptors that are compatible with standard Army batteries (BB-2590, MBITR, Li-145/Li-80). Furthermore, we’ve included accessories such as a NATO Slave plug, a cigarette lighter adapter and an AC/DC adapter for added flexibility. Through the use of these interchangeable adapters, the REPPS will automatically configure it’s charging to the battery type. This increases efficiency and safety.
We will be delivering 725 REPPS to Afghanistan as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) program, and incoming requests are on a wait-list for the next delivery. We were able to free issue the first set of early deliverables to units in rotation and have received favorable responses. But, as always, we’re still looking for more feedback, so we’re reaching out to the Army community in search of units that have use for this system.
We’d also be interested in hearing your thoughts, recommendations or efforts in similar endeavors. If you would like more information, visit Army Power or contact CERDEC Public Affairs: (732) 427-1594.