Today we’ll take a deeper look into Tactical Power. In a recent article, we discussed which types of equipment can be defined as “Tactical Power”.  This week, we’ll address which applications this equipment should support.

During field operations war fighters often require a significant amount of support equipment.  With power in the field limited to batteries and/or generators, it can be difficult to supply clean computer and medical grade power, which is critical for operational sustainability.

Most portable equipment such as radios, night vision devices, rifle scopes, laser targeting systems, flashlights and computers runs on batteries, so there is a need for tactical power systems to operate on global power inputs while providing the necessary power output at various voltages to recharge these batteries.  To make this problem more complicated, not all of this equipment uses the same batteries.  These can range from Military style BB-2590, CR123A, AA, AAA, or various proprietary style batteries.  Tactical power systems need to be configured to support all of these types being utilized.  Without being able to recharge these batteries, mission operations can be significantly impacted; either extra batteries need delivered and stocked onsite, or if that inventory is not available communications and team coordination can be disrupted.

Most electric support equipment is typically run from a generator, vehicle battery or one of the many types of energy storage systems utilizing an inverter.  Everything from computer systems, coffee pots and medical devices require AC power.  While food preparation, lighting, and billeting requirements can be connected directly to a generator, other equipment such as medical life support devices and computer monitoring systems require a cleaner grade of AC power in order to operate continuously with efficiency and reliability.  Not meeting the higher grade of power can result in decreased equipment longevity, systems failure, disruption of communication, impact coordination, or loss of life.