Exide Earns US Navy Contract for VRLA Submarine Batteries

September 08, 2005 by Jeff Shepard

Exide Technologies (Princeton, NJ), a producer of lead-acid batteries, announced that it has been awarded a production contract by the US Navy for sealed valve-regulated, lead-acid (VRLA) batteries for its submarine fleet. The contract, which is the US Navy's first procurement of such batteries for its submarine fleet (US Navy submarines have relied on flooded battery technology for more than 50 years), is valued at approximately $3.5 million.

"With the advancement of submarine technology, the Navy approached Exide with its desire to increase power density, eliminate gassing, reduce maintenance, and enhance safety on the submarine," said Exide Industrial Energy Americas division President Mitch Bregman. "Working in conjunction with the Navy during the past few years, we have determined that valve-regulated technology can replace the flooded-battery technology prevalent on submarines for more than 50 years. We are pleased to have been a long-term strategic partner of the US Navy. We have enjoyed a solid working relationship and are proud to be at the forefront of developing the next evolution of battery technology for the US Navy submarine fleet."

Exide expects to deliver the first VRLA batteries to the US Navy in 2006. The batteries will be produced at Exide's plant in Ft. Smith, Arkansas, where the company currently manufactures its Absolyte and Champion VRLA industrial batteries. As a result of the US Navy's transition to the advanced VRLA technology, Exide expects to cease production of flooded submarine batteries later this year at its plant in Kankakee, Illinois, which will permanently close.