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Solar Pannels For Military Use

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if we made a set of solar pannels that had bullt proof glass on them, wouldn't the production of them and use in the field have dual use


what i mean to say is, as we integrate solar pannels into the field use of our armies, keeping them safe is an issue,


so why not put a bullet proff glass on the top,

then you have a shield, and power

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I don’t think bulletproof solar panels make much sense. Ordinary solar panels, sure, in certain limited applications, but bulletproof, not much.


The whole point of bulletproof glass (which isn’t really bulletproof, just resistant against a few strikes by typical handguns and rifle bullets) is to be see-through. To be most effective, a solar panel must be opaque, and any glass covering of it as transparent as possible. Because of plastic typically layered between it, bulletproof glass typically is only around 80% transparent, worse the thicker, and thus more protective, it’s made.


If you wanted to add solar panels to a combat vehicle, I think it makes most sense to simply lay commercially available panels on top of the vehicle, outside of its existing armor.


Imagining the applications solar energy would have for an armored vehicle, I can think of only one, essentially the same as for non-armored ones: to keep its batteries charged when left unattended for a long time. (like this US$13 gadget)


Armored vehicles are almost without exception heavy and energy inefficient, so I find it unlikely that one would ever be made to get its main driving energy from sunlight.


Though electric motor-powered combat vehicles exist (I believe still as prototypes, none yet actually used in combat), this is because such systems promise to provide 2 major advantages:

  • Regenerative braking, improving their fuel efficiency, thus extending the range they can travel without refueling
  • More power to the wheels for short periods than possible with a direct motor-driven transmission. This can both allow the vehicle to have more power in demanding situations, and allow smaller, lighter, more efficient motors to be used.

These systems don’t replace a fuel-driven piston or turbine motor in the vehicles drive system, but enhances its performance by adding batteries and electric motors – they’re hybrids.


This 2005 magazine article has a pretty good summary of the military applications of hybrids technology, including in tracked vehicles.


The ultimate electric-driven tracked would, I think, be powered by a small fission reactor – in other words, a nuclear tank. Other than some very small-niche non-military applications, such as transport and mobile labs in Antarctica, interest in such things seems to have faded by the late 1960s (remember the Ford Nucleon?) except among science fiction wargamers (remember Steve Jackson’s Ogre?)

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