APART from ammunition, water and food, today's soldier needs batteries to stay connected with commanders and the world.
Keeping those batteries charged or carrying enough replacements has been a major challenge, until now.
The Australian National University's Centre for Sustainable Energy Systems yesterday revealed its SLIVER solar cell technology - super thin, flexible and lightweight panels fitted into straps that can be built into an army pack.
The revolutionary solar cells are as thin as a sheet of paper making them flexible and lightweight with very high power to weight ratios. Solar energy can be absorbed from both sides.
Project development manager Dr Igor Skryabin said infantry soldiers were being equipped with electronic devices to enhance combat tactical awareness and survivability.
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"Currently soldiers are dependant on electrical power provided by a conventional battery to power these devices," Dr Skryabin said. "Each battery has a different endurance and reliability level and each rechargeable type requires its own kit, compounding the bulk and weight that needs to be carried."
At yesterday's unveiling, the army's modernisation and strategic head Major General John Caligari said: "The average soldier would carry around half a kilogram of batteries to operate radios, night vision devices, torches, communication.
"If we were able to have a single source of power that meant we didn't need to recharge our batteries then we would be able to run all those electrical systems and reduce our weight significantly."
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