Sustainability includes scientific and technological efforts to sustain and enhance warfighter performance and combat effectiveness. These range from nutritional performance enhancement, food preservation, food service equipment, energy technologies, and drinking water to precision cargo/personnel airdrop and airbeam technologies for lightweight, rapid-setup shelters.
A key area for sustainability will continue to be man-portable electrical power. As the soldier relies increasingly on sophisticated electronic sensors, computers, and communications, there is a corresponding need for more efficient sources of portable electrical power. Japan is a world leader in secondary (rechargeable) batteries, fuel cells, and small gasoline engines. France and Russia also have significant capabilities in selected aspects of secondary batteries. Advanced lithium and nickel-metal-hydride batteries and fuel cells offer exceptional energy densities and longer operating life, which are key factors in man-portable weapons and sensors.
Canada also has recognized strengths in the subarea of sustainability as demonstrated by the FY96 approved foreign comparative testing (FCT) of a Canadian less-than-3-kilowatt generator, and Canadian multifuel burner. In addition, Canadian research in hydroxide fuel cells is strong. A Canadian firm is currently fielding a test fleet of hydrogen-oxide powered buses at Disneyland; the only waste product is water. Canadian companies are also working in other fuel cell concepts such as aluminum-oxide. A small Canadian company has, with the Special Operations Command (SOCM), further developed this cell for military use. Ongoing efforts with France offer special opportunities to accelerate the development of low-cost, long-life power sources based on these technologies. In addition, there is a great need for small, portable, high-efficiency power generation. Germany has world-leading capabilities in the specific area of miniature fossil fuel engines for portable electrical power.
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