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Recharging on the Move: Long Range Movement

7th Special Forces Group (Airborne) perform off-road maneuvers with ATVs, during pre-mission training at Fort Bliss, Texas.

For the US military there are few things on the strategic level prized more than speed and maneuverability. Being able to get things where they need to go, from boots on the ground to precision-guided munitions, has been a key part of any conflict from shock-and-awe assaults to quick reaction search and rescue. Long Range Movement (LRM) is a key part of this, but especially with Special Operations Forces this can lead to major power issues when behind enemy lines with vehicle’s systems not designed for military use.

LRM: ATVs and Side-by-Sides

Marines from Alpha Company, 2nd Reconnaissance Battalion get wet during a LTATC qualification course at Camp Lejeune.

Special Operations operate behind enemy lines, in territory where even the rugged Humvee can’t pass or situations where those heavier vehicles just can’t make in, such as when these vehicles need to be airlifted in. This is why many SOF forces rely on Lightweight Tactical All Terrain Vehicles (LTATVs), such as All-Terrain Vehicles (ATVs) and Side-by-Sides (2 to 6 man LTATVs). However, these vehicles bring their own problems along with their mobile and lightweight solutions. These vehicles are also known as NTVs or Non-traditional Tactical Vehicles.

Fuel

While their smaller engines and light frames make for great fuel efficiency, eventually their tanks will empty, especially with the smaller gas tanks these vehicles carry. For example, for the Army Special Forces LRM is a critical task involving 500+ miles of movement, usually behind enemy lines. This much movement means either taking up their own storage capacity with extra fuel, or relying on resupply from the air or friendly ground forces – since there’s not much chance of a gas station.

Powering Systems

While all standard military vehicles are built with a 24 volt charging system and designed to be outfitted with military Command and Control computer, satellite receivers, radios, and GPS, NTVs are not. A standard SF LRM, usually an Operational Detachment – Alpha (ODA), would use either 12 All Terrain Vehicles or 4 Side By Side Vehicles or a combination of both. These are COTS – Commercial Off The Shelf – vehicles that use the standard civilian 12 volt charging systems and are not designed to meet military power demands.

Tackling LRM Issues: Power on the Go

Normally what units do to solve the power problem is modify their electrical systems to work the way they need them. This leads to three major issues: damaging systems due to power loads, not enough voltage to power comms or medical system suites, and at the same time violating the warranty on these vehicles, which becomes an issue with the supplier. But if it’s a power problem, we’ve got a power solution.

Solution One: Standalone SPM

Our SPM-622 has the ability to draw from multiple power sources and automatically balance power supply with demand. Hooking up the SPM to booth the LTATV’s OEM battery and a standard BB2590 battery allows for scaling power demands: the OEM powering up to 12 volts, and the SPM adding in the power from the battery when you need to turn your Side-by-Side into an ambulance with a powered medical suite or a command and control vehicle with computers and long-range radios.

Our SPM-622 paired with a RPAMS Power Pack on a military LTATV at the SOFIC 2016 expo.

Solution Two: SPM and RPAMS Power Pack

We’ve partnered with RP Advanced Mobile Systems (RPAMS), specialists in COTS NTVs for both commercial and military usage, to combine our military power managers with their RP Advanced Portable Power Pack to bring even greater integration of power systems to ATVs and Side-by-Sides for military energy demands. Contact us to learn more.

Here at Protonex our mission is to get you power when you need it most. From military power managers small enough to fit in a vest to commercial solid oxide full cells to power remote systems, we have solutions for any power problem using our ready-made kits or custom engineered equipment. Let us know how we can help.