British forces in Afghanistan will receive an innovative battery system that significantly lightens the load for dismounted soldiers on frontline patrols.

The new soldier portable charger (SPC) collects energy from used batteries, solar panels and even vehicles and transfers it into a spare power source for the soldier.

Developed by the Defence Equipment and Support (DE&S) and the Integrated Soldier Systems Executive, the LIPS 11 and LIPS 12 batteries weigh 1.5kg and 2.25kg and can provide enough power for two and four hours respectively.

SPC project manager Peter Flowers said a major factor in developing this urgent operational requirement was the weight in batteries required during a 40-hour mission.

SPC also hooks up to a solar mat, which measures only 1m², to transfer power from sunlight.

Currently, frontline forces are using lithium ion power source (LIPS) 10, which provides six hours of juice in a 3.75kg block.

A total of 4,556 SPC units are being deployed to Operation Herrick of which the initial 1,000 will be delivered this month with the remaining scheduled to arrive by September.