"Assessing the Army Power and Energy Efforts for the Warfighter" a Defense Technology Paper from CTNSP
Defense Technology Paper #81
Center for Technology and National Security Policy
Armies are dependent on power and energy. When these resources for any reason are not available on the front lines, everything is affected. The importance of petroleum-based liquid fuels in warfare became evident in 1892 when Rudolph Diesel developed his fourcycle spark ignition engine.1 By 1909 the French had switched from coal to oil-fired ships. Japan’s inability to obtain sufficient petroleum to supply their war machine was one of the major reasons for their need to expand their dominion to include sources of petroleum. The logistics of warfare in World War II were a controlling factor in critical times. For example, in the European theater General Patton’s Third Army, on its dash to Germany, ground to a halt when it ran out of fuel. Similar shortages affected the Germans in the latter stages of the war, especially during the Battle of the Bulge. Fuel supply remains a challenge to logisticians in today’s conflicts.
Research into improved efficiency in the Army’s use of energy has a long history. Some of this work has been in engine design, high power electronics, environmental control systems (ECUs), distribution, alternative power conversion (fuel cells and Stirling devices), and a considerable effort on chemical storage batteries. Not until recently has the effort broadened to include alternative sources of energy with much improved capabilities and efficiencies. Some of this is being done in parallel developments in the private sector; e.g., solar and wind energy, compact batteries for computers and handheld communications devices. There has been much progress and more is likely in the near future. In this report we review the Army’s technology efforts to weigh the balance and distribution of the effort and to place it in the perspective of the broader energy world.
« Read More News & Events