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The Military Power Technology

Military Uses 'Bat-Hook' To Tap Power From Lines 282

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the cutting-corners dept.
Zothecula writes "As soldiers are fitted out with more and more electrical sytems to extend their capabilities, they become increasingly dependent on the power needed to run them. Since soldiers in the field don't always have ready access to an electrical outlet when they need to top up the batteries, the US Air Force has developed a device that taps directly into the electricity flowing through overhead power lines ... a kind of bat-hook for real-life superheroes."
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Military Uses 'Bat-Hook' To Tap Power From Lines

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  • Prior art? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by thomaswp (841668) on Thursday November 11, 2010 @02:56PM (#34199166) Homepage
    There is prior art in Indian cities I believe. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/business/4802248.stm [bbc.co.uk]
  • Retrieval? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by falldeaf (968657) <falldeaf@gmaBOHRil.com minus physicist> on Thursday November 11, 2010 @02:58PM (#34199190) Homepage
    After you throw the hook over a line and jab it into the insulation, how do you take it back off? I didn't see the video address this and the shape of it doesn't seem like it'd be easy to get back down?...
  • by BadAnalogyGuy (945258) <BadAnalogyGuy@gmail.com> on Thursday November 11, 2010 @02:59PM (#34199198)

    Army? Yes.
    Marines? Sure.

    The Air Force? I wasn't expecting that!

    How far do the Air Force guys get from airplanes and hangars and runways? It seems like they don't really have the same type of "field" that the land based grunts do.

  • Re:Yeah right. (Score:2, Interesting)

    by jcrb (187104) <jcrb.yahoo@com> on Thursday November 11, 2010 @03:02PM (#34199246) Homepage

    You post this on Veterans day? Pitty I already posted in this thread and can't use my mod points :(

  • Why use a wire? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Compaqt (1758360) on Thursday November 11, 2010 @03:08PM (#34199332) Homepage

    Just grab through the air from overhead power lines.

    http://www.bris.ac.uk/news/2004/360 [bris.ac.uk]

  • by Shivetya (243324) on Thursday November 11, 2010 @03:12PM (#34199380) Homepage Journal

    with those who give the orders. Soldiers do. The vast majority (five nines thank you) are the best we have to offer. Why? Because they are willing to do what has to be done regardless of personal costs. I am a bit bias, I did four years back in the eighties, but honestly, these people are special in many ways. Most would never brag, most have core sets of values they really do live up to. They do far more than message board bitchers will ever do.

    Look, they aren't perfect, but I respect the least of them more than you.

  • Re:Yeah right. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by MaWeiTao (908546) on Thursday November 11, 2010 @03:15PM (#34199426)

    No military should be considered superheroes. They just glorify violence and legalized murder.

    I'm sure that's exactly what those prisoners at Auschwitz thought when Allied soldiers showed up. That's certain one particular example, but nearly every war in history has been fought for far more complex reasons than simply because a bunch of guys were bloodthirsty.

    Unfortunately you have a simplistic and unrealistic impression of how the world works.

    Soldiers don't do any of the things you suggest. The entertainment industry (ironically pacifist) glorifies violence and the government defines policy regarding death and/or murder.

  • Re:Yeah right. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Genda (560240) <marietNO@SPAMgot.net> on Thursday November 11, 2010 @04:07PM (#34200090) Journal

    What I blame is the Military Industrial Complex, the politicians that pander to it, the ex-pentagon/military officers that retire to cushy jobs lobbying for the Industrial Giants that have raped and pillaged our government (and the tax payer in particular), and the self serving representatives who have played at war for no other reason than to justify pumping the vast majority of America's resources into this immoral, objectionable, enterprise.

    Soldiers are men and women (most from poor economic situations) who have chosen for the most part to sacrifice themselves for the greater good of defending our nation in war, and healing our nation in times of disaster. For these people I have nothing but the greatest of respect. The sad fact is that in the most recent conflicts we've fought, the largest single cause of death or injury is not from the enemy, but all the problems and mishaps that come from moving large numbers of young people around with weapons, and having them live in constant state of near terror. Our leaders have done a piss poor job of protecting and honoring our soldiers. While publicly honoring our fighting men and women, the last administration cut funding for critical medical care to returning soldiers, and failed to make absolutely certain that those soldiers were being properly taken care of. Every expert on the subject has proclaimed the need for providing our soldiers with psychiatric counseling and care to alleviate PTSD and ease them back into civilian life. To this day, such service is being virtually ignored. The one thing in our military most neglected by our representatives, has consistently been our soldiers. Its an insult to their sacrifice.

    Our country spends more on it's weapons of mass destruction, than the next top 27 military countries on the planet combines. Simply said, it's killing us. The sane answer would be to create a small highly mobile team of experts with insanely advanced cutting edge military technology, so at the first hint of trouble, they could make powerful tactical strikes. We live in a time when the greatest threat to America, is not hostile nations, but rogue international organizations (usually religious or politically based.) Our current military is almost useless in the face of that kind of enemy. We could keep a relatively small arsenal of ICBMs, for larger global threats. Dismantle the rest, reduce our army/navy/marines/air force to 10% of it's current size, and then outfit that 10% with space age technology. We build a robotic, fly by wire fighting force, so the number of soldiers in the field are reduced by another 90%. Finally we make certain we have a huge National Guard (in particular, we could cycle huge numbers of non-violent men and women out of prisons) to ensure our safety in case of a catastrophic event either natural or man-made.

    In doing this, we still have the strongest militarily on the planet, but it costs us 80% less, its orders of magnitude more mobile, easier to scale and apply to specific situations, and for Americans, less likely to be the source of needless casualties on the field (ours or theirs.)

    Of course it would demand that we change our focus from making a buck, to doing the right thing, serving our nation, promoting the common defense, and ensuring domestic tranquility. It saddens me to see that our greed centric society has made suffering, moral degradation, and religious fanaticism the gross national product.

  • Re:Is this legal? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by hedwards (940851) on Thursday November 11, 2010 @04:11PM (#34200138)
    You might not care, but the Hague might. Stealing electricity for use in combat ops is almost certainly illegal. It's been criminal for some time to use pillaged resources against the owner. I'd assume that includes intangibles such as electricity.
  • Re:Yeah right. (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 11, 2010 @04:53PM (#34200690)

    "I'm sure that's exactly what those prisoners at Auschwitz thought when Allied soldiers showed up. "

    The Japanese-Americans would have been glad to be liberated from their American-run Concentration Camps too if the Germans had won the war.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 11, 2010 @05:25PM (#34201028)

    I have to disagree, as someone who has been on three combat deployments to Iraq as an infantryman. Nearly every building in and around cities has some kind of elevated power line coming in. The only places where you don't have power are super remote farming communities where people are basically living in tents or dirt-floor cinderblock buildings. The type of missions that drop you out there are typically not the type of missions that involve prolonged power requirements.

    Also, there are some rules of engagement considerations for just "going into someone's house" to charge up the radio batteries. You can't go into a house in Iraq without IP or IA, and a bench warrant from an Iraqi judge. And no, you can't just "phone one in." For units that post up at blocking positions at night, this could be a very discreet way to get power to amplify your manpack'ed radio and cut through the crazy RF soup that buzzes all over Baghdad. Vehicle mounted antennas and deck amps are functional, but when you go dismount you have to get creative.

    There are other interesting things that this could facilitate... like on-site RF jamming... who knows. :)

  • by bkmoore (1910118) on Thursday November 11, 2010 @05:59PM (#34201394)
    On paper, nice concept. But just one minor problem: the power grid's most likely down, or was never built. I served in Iraq in 2006-2007 and again in 2008-2009. Even six years after invading the place, the central grid worked only sporadically. Most Iraqis had portable gasoline-powered generators. Other countries such as Afghanistan or Somalia probably never had a functioning electrical power system (outside of a few capitol cities). I was with the Marines in Iraq. We got by fine with batteries and some small utility generators. The only reason for tapping local power would be to run air conditioning, without which the Air Force is probably out of the fight. Second point is if US soldiers were to tap the local grid for power, guess who would be blamed for every power outage? It would drive unit commanders insane paying damages for spoiled milk every time the power went down. And we would pay to avoid controversy.

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