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Wanted: Mobile power station for remote FOBs

Feb. 10, 2013 - 11:29AM   |   Last Updated: Feb. 10, 2013 - 11:29AM  |  
Marines assigned to Landing Support Platoon, Combat Logistics Battalion 26, 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit, prepare a generator to be lifted by helicopter. The Corps wants a system that will make and output enough power to run numerous items at once.
Marines assigned to Landing Support Platoon, Combat Logistics Battalion 26, 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit, prepare a generator to be lifted by helicopter. The Corps wants a system that will make and output enough power to run numerous items at once. (Cpl. Christopher Stone / Marine Corps)
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Marine officials are tasking industry with the development of a truck-borne power platform that will provide electricity to Marines in austere locations while cutting down on the consumption of fuel and batteries.

It is part of the service's effort to reduce power consumption to save money, bolster the ability of small units to operate independently and reduce the need for resupply missions, which put additional Marines unnecessarily into harm's way.

The new Medium Hybrid Expeditionary Energy System will be built on the M1102 Marine Corps Chassis Light Tactical Trailer, a highly mobile, two-wheeled trailer that can be hitched to a Humvee or MRAP.

"The MHEES will act as a hybrid system able to receive power from different energy sources, smartly manage these sources to conserve the most fuel possible, and distribute this power to multiple types of end items," according to a purchase description first posted Dec. 13 to FedBizOpps.gov and updated Jan. 28.

That means not only will it be able to produce its own electricity, it will be able to manage energy-producing devices like generators by automatically turning them on and off, as needed.

"The concept of operations is that a core MHEES trailer could move into a location, be combined with existing power generation assets at the location, if available, or be fully able to provide the 5kW sustained, 10kW peak load by itself," according to the purchase description.

It will be capable of running a forward operating base, weapons systems or even mobile radars.

The system is a follow-on to the Ground Renewable Expeditionary Energy System — commonly known as GREENS — a solar-powered generator that uses a scalable array of 155-pound panels. GREENS has served well in Afghanistan, but Marine procurement officials are looking for a more powerful system.

"GREENS reduces fuel and resupply requirements for low power applications but reductions in fuel consumption are also needed for high power applications," the purchase description reads.

Although the Marine Corps is pursuing a more powerful, efficient energy system, it still wants a light, mobile system.

"The MHEES should break down to allow four Marines to move system components around the battlefield," according to the purchase description.

To accomplish that, officials hope the new system will fit on an M1102, but no more than two. Even if the system consists of two trailers, a single core trailer must still be capable of operating on its own to provide Marines with up to 10kW of peak power.

Once a contract is awarded, the development timeline is 18 months, which indicates Marines may see the next-generation system on the battlefield soon.

Marine Corps Systems Command declined to provide specifics, however, saying that "the subject solicitation is still active with industry, who are currently preparing proposals. As such, we cannot comment on it due to competition sensitivities."

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