Saft wins $1.2m contract to improve the lithium ion batteries

Paul Boughton

European battery maker Saft has won a $1.2 million contract by the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) in the US to make manufacturing improvements to the Advanced Lithium Power Source (ALPS) battery, the compact energy storage unit with integrated charger developed as a portable energy source.

The funding will advance the technical and manufacturing readiness of the ALPS battery for use in a variety of applications, including the US military Long-Range Advanced Scout Surveillance System (LRAS3).

The LRAS3 is a high-tech, multi-sensor system that detects, recognises, identifies and pinpoints long-range target locations in virtually any conditions.

The improved ALPS battery will provide a lower cost, lightweight power source with a longer lifecycle and quicker recharging capacity. [Page Break]

Compared with the current power sources, the improved ALPS system will be lighter by 187 pounds, provide a 200 per cent increase in silent watch time and reduce recharging time by 300 per cent. The system will be capable of serving as a remote energy source, able to power critical sighting and communications equipment and recharge from tactical vehicles.

Saft will provide a total of 10 ALPS batteries to the US Army Communications-Electronics Research, Development and Engineering Center (CERDEC).

Some units will be supplied to the US Army Product Manager, Ground Sensors, for field testing. Improvements to the ALPS will enable Saft to manufacture and market the battery for additional defence applications. [Page Break]

The new ALPS battery will adapt components of the highly successful Lithium Battery Box (LBB) for the Improved Target Acquisition System Lithium Battery Box (ITAS) developed for the TOW missile system. The ALPS integrated charger version will offer 24 to 28V and consist of a 100Amp hour energy storage unit with built-in charging functionality compatible with 28V MIL vehicle batteries and AC generators.

“The ALPS battery will provide greater power capacity, speed and efficiencies in the field which are crucial to mission success for our military personnel,” said Thomas Alcide, General Manager of Saft’s Specialty Battery Group.

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