FORT BENNING, Ga. - Naval Surface Warfare Center Dahlgren
Division (NSWCDD) partnered with U.S. Army agencies at Natick Soldier Research
and Development Center (NSRDEC) to conduct a 12-mile road march with an
electricity generating backpack here, Aug. 31 - Sept. 3.
A six-man U.S. Army Ranger team evaluated the
"Lightning Pack" component of the Joint Infantry Company Prototype
(JIC-P) system throughout the march.
The program intends to increase the electrical
sustainability of dismounted infantry in hard to reach austere environments.
Partnering technical leads from NSWCDD and NSRDEC are integrating human worn
energy harvesting devices with power management equipment so Marines and
Soldiers can operate farther, longer, and lighter with less spare batteries and
JIC-P is programmatically managed by Headquarters Marine
Corps Expeditionary Energy Office and sponsored by Office of Secretary Defense
Operational Energy Plans and Policies.
JIC-P components include high efficiency solar panels,
vest worn power managers, a "Bionic Power Knee Harvester," and the
"Today's Soldiers and Marines often carry up to 150
lbs. of gear into multi-day combat missions. Up to 30 lbs. of that can be
associated with spare batteries," NSWCDD engineer, Eric South said.
"JIC-P intends to evaluate the integration of "on the move"
energy harvesting and power management to help get some of that weight off
their back and increase the austere warfighter's sustainability."
Noel Soto of NSRDEC collected the empirical data and
qualitative feedback of the Lightning Packs during the Fort Benning 12-mile
road march. The data will be used to improve functional and ergonomic human
factors aspects of the pack and other JIC-P components.
"This is a good example of when the technical work
we are doing in support of the Army may have potential applications for the
Marine Corps and Special Operations community," said Mr. Donald McCormack,
Executive Director, Naval Surface and Undersea Warfare Centers.
The 12-mile road march was the first of many user
evaluations to be scheduled throughout fiscal years 2016 and 2017. "We
want Soldiers and Marines to have a chance to try this gear out and give us
feedback while it's still in development," said South. "We really try
and incorporate what they have to say in the design. Ultimately, we're working