Field patrols will soon have almost weightless solar blankets as well. These will be able to capture a once unthinkable 35pc of the sun's light as energy with thin membranes, a spin-off from technology used in satellites.
This new kit is a military imperative. Taliban ambushes of supply convoys are a major killer. The Pentagon says the cost of refueling forward bases is $400 a gallon.
The US Naval Air Weapons Station already relies on a 14 megawatt array of solar panels in California's Mojave desert for a thrid of its power. Pearl Harbour will soon follow as the Pentagon goes off-grid, better shielded from enemies.