Solar Powered Night Vision?

Keepads Harris gave a speech at the Navy academy. In support of the idea of military use of wind and solar power, she told what was apparently supposed to be a joke.* She imagined asking a female Marine which she’d prefer to carry: twenty pounds of batteries, or a rolled-up solar panel.

Either all those battery-powered devices they carry — NVDs, radios, optics, and so on — are either going to still have batteries, or that poor Marine is going to trudging along in the field with an unfurled solar panel. But let’s say batteries. Please.

So… night patrol. NVD batteries go dead. No prob, says Kneepads; just open up that solar panel and recharge. Surely the moon and starlight will be sufficient. </sarc>

Okay, so day patrol. Radio battery go tango uniform. Deploy the solar panel and recharge. With a little luck, you’ll be charged enough to call in that request for artillery support before nightfall.

Somehow, I think that Marine will still be carrying spare batteries. I’d assume at least two spares for an extended patrol. If a battery dies, you want to swap it for a charged one, and then have the dead one recharged before the replacement runs down, too.

And if you don’t really want the troops on the move with location revealing solar panels deployed all the time, patrols will all be extended when you have to take a down day every other day to get everything recharged.

At least that isn’t quite as bad as the solar-charged electric main battle tank.

* If anyone got her joke’s punch line, can you explain who “he” is?

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2A advocate, writer, firearms policy & law analyst, general observer of pre-apocalyptic American life.

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