French battery manufacturer Saft has been awarded a contract from BAE Systems to provide lithium ‘Super-Phosphate’ batteries for US military’s M777A2 Howitzer.
Saft will replace previous lead-acid batteries with its Li-ion technology and proprietary ‘Super-Phosphate’ cells to power the weapon’s fire control unit. The batteries will be integrated with the company’s 28V control and power electronics. The 28V batteries provide a capacity of 80Ah.
The three-year contract is set to begin in the second quarter of 2014 and comprises the delivery of 38 prototypes of Super-Phosphate cells during design qualification stage, 121 during production and the opportunity to increase the production up to 1,000 Li-ion batteries. “This partnership with BAE Systems highlights the superiority of Li-ion Super-Phospate technology”, said general manager of Saft’s Speciality Battery Group, Thomas Alcide.
Reasons for the replacement are longer service life of Li-ion batteries, depth of discharge ability, reduced costs and a faster recharge in comparison to lead-acid based batteries. Lithium-ion batteries have not been used before in the Howitzer. US military has chosen the 155mm 39 calibre towed Howitzer as its next-generation medium force weapon for US Army and Marine Corps.
“Saft looks forward to further developing advanced technology batteries and expanding our portfolio of offerings for military weapons systems”, added Alcide.