MARINE CORPS BASE QUANTICO, Va. — With Marines and soldiers looking to cut the weight they must lug into battle, one firm is developing a product that combines two items they carry into one: batteries and ballistic plates.

For years, Marines carried five 2.6-pound, cube-shaped batteries, the size of four cigarette packs back-to-back, a heavy technology that is expected to yield to lighter, flexible, ergonomic batteries that conform to a Marine's body. But the next-generation is the Ballistically Rated Conformal Wearable Battery, by ICCN+Palladium.

"We can incorporate a battery directly into a plate," Mark Fiedler, a principal consultant at Palladium, said Thursday at the Modern Day Marine expo here, where the company's products were on display. "This is a fully functional, fully anti-ballistic plate that provides 150 watts of power."

The prototype combines a lithium ion battery with a plate made by a partner company using a proprietary method. According to Tom Heneghan, Palladium's director of business development for military and government, the heat used in the typical process of manufacturing ballistic plates is not compatible with incorporating a battery.

The product is involved in a three-phase, 18-month prototype development program, funded by the US Army Communications-Electronics Research, Development and Engineering Center, located at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland, Heneghan said.

This is not the first time Marines have gotten to see the item. It was featured at the annual Expeditionary Energy Concepts expo in June, at Camp Lejeune, N.C North Carolina. Capt. Anthony Ripley, Science and Technology lead for the Expeditionary Energy Office, said at the time that it would eliminate about four pounds of weight from a service member's pack.

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