Batteries are used in most military equipment and weapons systems and arecritical for the successful operation of these systems. As a result, system acquisition managers are urged to recognize the importance and uniqueness of battery requirements and take appropriate measures to assure proper and cost- effective performance through their life cycle. To facilitate this process, batteries must be addressed early in the system acquisition planning phase to identify pertinent requirements and considerations.
The program manager for a system requiring electric power has to determine the best power source for the application. Alternatives include batteries, generators, rotating air turbine, solar cells, fuel cells, auxiliary power units, and inductive-capacitive circuitry. Several considerations enter this decision: function (uninterruptable power, emergency power, starting, etc.), life, response to instant demand, weight, volume, availability, safety, cost, and others. Trade-offs must be made.
When a battery is selected as the power source, the type of battery best suited for the application must be determined. The program manager, during the planning stage, needs to consider the target operating voltage and environmental conditions required of the battery. Each available chemistry offers advantages at certain operating voltages, in specific temperature ranges, over the whole life cycle (operating and non-operating). Battery weight, current densities, and life cycle costs are dependent upon the demands of the system and must be monitored during development. The use of standard operating voltages will ensure the program manager a broad selection of existing battery designs to fulfill the end-product demands.
Before selecting a battery for a particular application the electrical requirements must first be defined. What maximum, average, and minimum voltages are required? How long must this voltage be maintained in operation and how much current is required during this period? In addition to electrical requirements, some of the most important factors to consider are:
- Battery Type - Which battery chemistry is
best for the application?
- Standardization - Is there an existing
battery design that will meet the mission requirements? (See Section 3.3.
- Life - How long must this battery last in
storage and in operation?
(See Section 3.4.
- Cost - What is the total life cycle cost,
including disposal cost at the end of life?
(See Section 3.4.
- Schedule - Can the battery be developed and
manufactured in the required time period? Are proper scheduling tools being
(See Section 3.5.
- Documentation - What documentation type can
be used and what is the preferred method?
(See Section 3.6.
- Reliability, Maintainability, and
Availability - What steps can be taken to assure the power source has
and will maintain these attributes?(See
- Safety - This is especially important if
lithium batteries are to be used.
(See Section 3.8. )
Consideration of the above factors leads to the
identification of an existing battery or definition of battery requirements
for procurement. This process will be discussed later in this section and Section 4
Evaluation of the battery proposals follows. How the battery can be integrated into the system and interfaced with other components of the system must be evaluated, as well as the detailed battery specifications.
Once the battery contract has been awarded, many items
must be monitored regarding battery manufacture and quality control and
concerning interface with the system components during the system design,
development, and testing phase to ensure complete compatibility and proper
integration. Some of the factors to watch for during acquisition are listed in
3.9 and 3.10