Maxwell Technologies has won a $1.7m technology development contract from Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to develop a lighter energy device for field radios and other portable electronic equipment carried by military personnel.

Maxwell will lead a team including the US Navy and the University of Massachusetts for developing an energy storage device combined with an capacitor module, an advanced battery pack and power management electronics.

The objective of the deal is to develop an enhanced energy source that will provide extended run time and longer operational life than existing batteries alone that will reduce the requirement for carrying heavy, bulky, spare batteries.

To ensure that field military personnel are energy self-sufficient during extended missions, they typically carry primary and spare batteries weighing more than 60 pounds to power a growing assortment of portable electronic equipment.

The award provides funding for an initial, one-year phase, with options for two additional phases which, when approved, would result in total funding of up to approximately $8m.