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Powering the Next Generation Hand-Held Radios

New Radio Systems which include devices such as AN/PRC-163 and AN/PRC-148C offer a significant increase in capability to the dismounted operator in the same form factor as for legacy radios and increases the amount of usable space available for kit. However, the enhanced capability and functionality also comes with a cost – one of them being a larger requirement for power. These devices are far more complicated, run hotter than current radios, and rely on their batteries to function as a heatsink. Precision Technic Defence and our Partners are dedicated and have solutions to optimize the power management of these latest dual-band radios by involving several different designs and solutions to support the full functionality of the radio.

A software application provides the ability to power each radio on and off from the End User Device (EUD) and further, allows control of system power, whilst providing battery status indication, identification of connected cables, and a Built-in-Test functionality.

The Black Diamond Advanced Technology “Power Wedge” solution for example, uses the same locking mechanism as for the radio batteries (compatible with Harris and Thales legacy and new generation dual channel radios, and Hand-Held Link-16) attached to the base of the radio which allows it to operate without individual batteries – instead drawing power from a single main system battery. This mitigates the heat sink issue and eliminates excess heat from trickle charging of radio batteries. As an option the Power Wedge can allow trickle-charging of an installed radio battery while simultaneously powering the radio from a main system battery. This design is incorporated into the operator’s kit with minimal impact by leveraging existing interfaces of both the radios and the batteries.

Precision Technic Defence work with partners in Enhanced Power Scavenging techniques that allow a complete system to be re-charged from various power sources “on the fly”, and without the need to remove or displace items on the users Carrier setup. Much work is also underway in looking at various ways of harvesting power, and emerging technologies that convert human movement and body heat into usable energy sources to extend the autonomy of the modern warfighter.

News article no. 1/2020