Batteries are used in almost all military equipment and weapons systems and
are a key element in the successful operation of such systems. As a result,
system acquisition managers should recognize the importance and uniqueness of
battery requirements relative to their particular applications and take
appropriate measures to assure proper and cost-effective performance
throughout 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 selection of the best battery for a particular application requires not
only optimum performance, but a variety of considerations, such as weight,
volume, life (or number of cycles for a rechargeable battery), life cycle
cost, maintainability, reliability and safety.
New battery developments should be avoided whenever possible. Lack of
standardization has resulted in excessive battery proliferation within the
Federal Stock System. It is also a major factor contributing to the inability
of military batteries to achieve anticipated cost and reliability objectives.
Every effort should be made to satisfy battery requirements by using existing
military inventories as the first priority. Candidate battery designs must be
evaluated not only for their technical adequacy, but also for their past
performance and current availability. Use of commercial designs is a desirable
alternative, but the military user must consider militarization to assure
adequate performance within the system environment.
Navy hardware acquisition managers are required to consider the use of
standard batteries and design requirements as a result of the issuance of
SECNAVINST 4120.23 which endorses the Navy's Standard Hardware Acquisition and
Reliability Program (SHARP). SHARP can provide battery users with existing
standardized battery configurations, as well as the necessary development
disciplines to satisfy new battery requirements.
This document covers five types of batteries commonly found in military
applications. Two types are rechargeable (or secondary) cells: lead-acid and
nickel-cadmium. The other three are not rechargeable (commonly called primary
cells): dry cells, thermal cells, and primary lithium cells.
Lead-acid batteries are the most widely used rechargeable batteries in the
world. Both the battery product and the manufacturing process are proven,
economical and reliable.
Nickel-Cadmium batteries are rugged and reliable. They exhibit a high power
capability, a wide operating temperature range and a long cycle life. In small
sizes, they may be sealed, thus requiring no addition of water.
Dry cells are widely used in portable devices. The most commonly used is
the zinc-alkaline manganese dioxide type (called alkaline).
Thermal batteries are special batteries capable of high rates of discharge
for short periods after being pyrotechnically heated in a very short time.
They can remain inactive at room temperature for a long time.
Lithium primary cells offer performance advantages well beyond the
capabilities of conventional aqueous electrolyte battery systems in terms of
energy densities and storage life. However they are not widely used because of
safety concerns regarding the instability of lithium under certain
This document describes the design, manufacturing, quality assurance,
testing, and safety practices that are necessary to produce batteries that
meet all the performance, environmental, and reliability requirements for
military service. The requirements described here are general and are
applicable to all military batteries. Detailed requirements for batteries for
specific applications are contained in the specifications and purchasing
documents associated with the specific purchase.
The life cycle cost of a battery system includes costs of transportation,
storage, and disposal. Since most batteries contain materials classified as
hazardous, disposal costs for batteries can be an important cost component.
Disposal requirements and concerns have been identified in this document. With
the growth of environmental awareness, the specific disposal requirements will
likely change. Before acquisition of any battery system the current disposal
regulations for the materials included in the battery should be reviewed.
Safety is always a concern, but is a primary concern of lithium batteries.
Safety issues for all battery chemistries are addressed in this