Batteries that Stop Bullets


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While the patent application mentions ground troops – it even includes an “Iron Man”-esque drawing of a soldier decked out in the specialized armor – the team says its focus is on protecting and powering vehicles.

The team’s goal is to allow armored vehicles more time in a state known as “silent watch,” where the engine is off but on-board optics and the gun turret remain powered. Just like a car, using electronics with the engine off drains the battery, often forcing soldiers to start the engine in the middle of the night – and give away their position to nearby enemy fighters.

“If you’re in a desert environment at night, and you have a Bradley or an Abrams tank with the engine on, you can hear them from long distances away,” said Chuck Betack, a retired U.S. Army colonel and Iraq War veteran who now works in Raytheon’s Integrated Defense Systems business. “It just seems to magnify the sound. You become a target.”

But how does it stand up as armor? Pretty well, Wahlquist said. During a ballistics test, a prototype stopped a 7.62 mm sniper-rifle round. If a round penetrates the battery, only the damaged cell will stop working; the others will continue supplying power.

Betack, who advised the team throughout research and development, praised the engineers for their idea and their determination to see it through.

“They did work on their own to get this thing to be functional,” Betack said. “It goes to show you how dedicated they are to helping find solutions that make a difference.”

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