The U.S. Army has awarded more than $1 million to North Carolina-based small business United Protected Technologies to provide a mobile power solution that charges the wearable battery used by Nett Warrior and the Integrated Visual Augmentation System, or IVAS, programs.
The company will receive $1.1 million in funding over an 18-month period through the Army Applied Small Business Innovation Research program, which releases contract opportunities on an ad hoc, rolling basis for U.S.-based small businesses and non-traditional defense partners to take on some of the Army’s most critical challenges.
“We identify the most advanced, unrivaled technologies in the private sector and the appropriate mechanisms to integrate these technologies into Army systems,” said Dr. Matt Willis, director of Army Prize Competitions and the Army Applied SBIR Program in the Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Logistics and Technology. “The focus of our program is to develop, deliver and transition technology to benefit the Army, so we’re looking forward to seeing how this company continues to transition its technology into a solution for our Soldiers.”
This award is part of an Army effort to identify and develop new technology solutions in power and directed energy. Currently, battery-charging equipment consists of several pieces of gear, such as power converters, solar panels and cables. United Protected Technologies’ personal, expeditionary power generator will condense these tools into a single generator, making the gear smaller and lighter for Soldiers to wear.
“Soldier-borne power generation is a very difficult requirement to meet due to all of the applicable security and safety concerns,” said Jose Lopez-Merced, a systems engineer with PEO Soldier and technical point of contact for the SBIR topic. “The ability to provide power generation on-the-move could potentially reduce the individual Soldier’s load, resulting in increased unit mobility.”
In addition to benefiting the Army, the Army Applied SBIR Program also offers a valuable opportunity for small businesses to interact with Army Soldiers and technical and operational subject-matter experts, who provide insight into Army technology needs and guide small businesses through the Army research and development ecosystem. Small businesses are teamed up with technical points of contact, who serve as a resource for companies as they mature their technologies for insertion into Army programs of record. The program’s flexibility and timeliness in responding to the Army’s emerging technology needs are used to maximize the initial cash-flow for small businesses while minimizing the time to contract.