Anyone fed up with short battery life for their mobile computing needs should spare a thought for the humble Aussie digger who may soon be issued with a house brick of a 1kg battery to power their electronic battlefield system needs.
Dubbed the 'Generette', Australian Defence Minister Senator Robert Hill described the new power unit as "a miniature personal power generation system [that] will have enough power for three days at a time, will recharge in minutes and weigh only one kilogram".
The unit is intended to power equipment such as night vision goggles, mobile computers, communications equipment and thermal imaging weapon sights, all of which have become de riguer accessories for the network centric modern warfighter –who has clearly outgrown the humble hand-crank dynamo.
The product has been developed by Melbourne firm Tectonica, which will undoubtedly be looking for civilian applications for its high-powered device.
The project is one of eight to be funded under $14.8 million of the Capability and Technology Demonstrator (CTD) program administered by the Defence Science and Technology Organisation (DSTO).
CTD funds local companies in development of defence technologies that "provide a new or enhanced high-priority Defence capability".
Meanwhile, other lucky recipients of what defence observers call "the hard-cash Oscars" include:
* Acoustic Threat Localisation System - a helmet-mounted sensor to detect the source of weapons fire developed by Canberra firm Pacific Noise & Vibration;
* Tactical Pluggable C2 Framework (Innovation Science Pty Ltd) a software plug to allow modification of special-purpose software in combat systems for network-enabled warfare without the need for costly integration;
* Aerosonde Radio Relay, a remote controlled airborne over the horizon communications platform or surrogate satellite from unmanned aerial vehicle company Aerosonde;
* Combat Data Network (Tenix Defence), networking battlefield sensors on various platforms to provide over-the-horizon targeting across land, sea and air platforms;
* Decentralised Data Fusion (BAE Systems) a distributed sensor system for network interconnectivity on low bandwidth communications to allow UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles) to be navigated without GPS or maps;
* Defence Dynamic Bandwith Broker (Tenix Defence), a bespoke traffic shaper for the Defence communications network;
* Airborne Magnetic Tensor Gradiometers (CSIRO, Newmont Exploration Pty Ltd and DSTO), an improved sensor system to counter enemy submarinesfor deployment on Orion and Seahawk aircraft.