Thursday, October 18, 2012

DOD Science Fair: USAF and USMC Look for Industry Help

The quest for energy security in the operational realm continues. The Army announced that it has taken a major step in changing its energy culture and increasing energy efficiency by deploying the Advanced Medium Mobile Power Systems (AMMPS) with the 173rd Airborne Brigade in Afghanistan. The system, which has been in the acquisition process since the ‘90s, is expected to provide 21% more efficiency and 95% more reliability.  I assume this was calculated based upon optimum loading.  I never saw a generator optimally loaded, but you have to work from some sort of a baseline.  PM, Mobile Electric Power is deploying the system in a new manner whereby they will do an assessment of requirements and then install a right-sized generators to meet that amount of power.  They are also providing the training.

The Air Force and Marines are joining the Army in their continued quest to figure out what is in the realm of the technically possible for operational energy by conducting a bit of a Science Fair. Apparently the current crop of government and commercial, off the shelf available technologies are not sufficient.  On to the beauty contest.

The Air Force Research Lab has published a sources sought in advance of a Broad Area Announcement in order to “identify potential sources that possess the expertise, capabilities, and experience to meet Air Force needs to accomplish a variety of aerodynamic and structural energy efficient demonstrations to support current and projected Air Force capability requirements”.  The focus is on energy efficiency and is intended “to conduct applied, advanced, and demonstration/validation research to develop, demonstrate, integrate and transition new aerospace system energy efficiency technologies to the warfighter”.  AFRL will evaluate Advanced Structural Concepts, Advanced Energy Efficient Aerodynamic Configurations, and Integrated Demonstrations (permutations and combinations of aerodynamic and structural energy efficiency tech).   The Sources Sought portion closed on 12 Oct, but that should not preclude late arrivals to the actual BAA.

The Marine Corps wants to build on the success of Ground Renewable Expeditionary Energy System (GREENS).  They plan to release a request for proposal to develop and prototype what they are calling the Medium Hybrid Expeditionary Energy System (MHEES).  This system is intended to be the big brother of GREENS and provided power to the next level up of requirements. The RFP will be on the street in the next couple of months, so, Watch Your Lanes!

These developments are still occurring in the absence of requirements from the acquisition community.  The effort to produce the concept documents is ongoing at Fort Lee and, hopefully, we will get an update on that effort at the Association of the United States Army’s Annual Meeting and Exposition next week in D.C.  Many sources have reported that this usually well attended event is considerably scaled back in light of the GSA debacle.  Lots of government folks who routinely attend the event had their trip tickets pulled for this year.  Still, it is should be a good opportunity to check the pulse and I will report back on the findings. Hope to see you there.  Dan Nolan 

1 comment:

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