PELVIC PROTECTION SYSTEM
the 1990s, but with the immediate need in Iraq, the Army could not wait for further development, testing, and integration. The Level 2 Manned-Unmanned (L2MUM) Teaming for the OH-58D Kiowa Warrior helicopter is a real-time system that can receive encrypted and unencrypted video and metadata in the common bands within a long range. Based on technology originally developed for the AH-64 Apache helicopter, the software provides the user with UAS location on a standard Falcon view moving map display along with the metadata, which provides better and quicker situational awareness farther from the target and the engagement than was possible before.
L2MUM allows for specific aviation attack assets to see and understand strategic objectives. L2MUM also provides and receives intelligence to and from various ground elements, and tactically enables destruction efforts on specific targets.
“Putting together a qualified production package required enterprise-wide commitment and cooperation to meet this critical operational demand,” Merritt said. “PM Apache, PM UAS, and the Aviation Applied Technology Directorate [of AMRDEC] worked together diligently to put together a technical package that was integrated and qualified quickly and sent to combat operations.”
The solution designed for the Apache helicopter was called Video from Unmanned Aircraft Systems for Interoperability Team – Level 2, or VUIT-2. L2MUM is a refined version of this capability. Merritt said that a typical comment received from a warfighter about the system was, “VUIT in the AH-64s makes it ridiculously powerful.” He added, “It is clear that this capability brings a huge leap in capability to the Army.”
In response to an increased threat to dismounted Soldiers from buried improvised explosive devices (IEDs) in the war theater, Product Manager Soldier Protective Equipment at PEO Soldier now provides them with the Pelvic Protection System (PPS), which helps prevent serious injuries to the pelvis, femoral arteries, and lower abdominal organs from a blast or small fragmentation threat. It also limits the amount of sand and debris that can penetrate wounds sustained from IEDs, which can result in complications and serious infections.
“There were a lot of significant injuries, and very traumatic injuries occurring to Soldiers in the lower extremity area,” said LTC Frank Lozano, Product Manager Soldier Protective Equipment. “It’s very traumatic, very heartbreaking, when Soldiers go through those types of events,and they are very young, and then they come home and they are not able to have children.”
The PPS, which was rapidly fielded in 2011 to support evaluations and Soldier assessments, is a two-tiered system. The first tier, worn close to the body, is the Protective Under Garment, resembling bicycle shorts. It is made of a breathable, moisture-wicking material. The Protective Outer Garment, worn over the combat uniform, is made of ballistic material similar to the soft panels in the IOTV that provides added protection to the inner thighs, femoral artery, and groin.
Beyond protecting troops from wounds, pelvic undergarments can support morale, said Jim Martin, a sociologist at Bryn Mawr College in Pennsylvania and a retired Army colonel. As USA Todayquoted Martin in an April 2, 2012, article, “It [the PPS] conveys a very strong message on the part of the Army and government to give you the best equipment possible, that they’re not just concerned about executing the mission but your safety and well-being, too.”
Soldier feedback has helped the Army make the garments lighter and more breathable. “When you’re wearing something close to your skin in 100-degree temps, sometimes those minor adjustments go a long way,” said Lozano.
HELMET SENSOR AND DATA RETRIEVAL SYSTEM
According to the Pentagon, the underwear has resulted in a 40 percent reduction in wounds to troops’ genitals, key arteries, and abdomens. “It’s hard to call this a success story when someone loses a limb,” Lozano said. “But I have met Soldiers who, if they weren’t wearing their protective ensemble, they would be dead.”
To address traumatic brain injuries (TBIs), PEO Soldier developed the Generation II Helmet Sensor (HS) and Data Retrieval System (DRS) to measure, record, and store data from pressure events and responses associated with explosions, blasts, and other shock and impact events. More than 13,000 have been fielded to five brigade combat teams in Afghanistan.
The device, weighing just two ounces, is mounted and attached inside the helmet, and effectively records the correlation between forces on the Soldier’s head and mild TBI. If a potentially injury-causing concussive event occurs, the DRS uses wireless communication to detect which sensors have data that need to be downloaded, generating a summary report.
Once downloaded, the data are used by medical authorities to determine which Soldiers require immediate examination and in administering their long-term care. The data are also analyzed by the DOD and Army medical experts to support the development of an injury risk criterion and to correlate data with potential injury-driven events.
“[Screening] is the important part, so we can realize that a Soldier has been through a traumatic event,” said Lozano, whose product office manages the HS program. “Combat is inherently a traumatic event, and there’s very little way to avoid that. But what we want to be able
OH-58D COMMON MISSILE WARNING SYSTEM
to do is immediately understand if those traumatic events have been realized or manifested in the state of a concussion. And if that has occurred, then we want to allow the Soldier the right amount of time to heal.”
He added, “I really can’t say we’re seeing a number change in TBIs, [but] the intent is that over the next couple of years, we would hope that we would see the number of TBI cases drop.”
The National Football League is interested in an exchange of information that could aid in developing future systemsthat can target and measure effects on specific parts of the human body.
Housed in the Project Management Office Aircraft Survivability Equipment (ASE) for PEO Intelligence, Electronic Warfare, and Sensors, the OH-58D Common Missile Warning System (CMWS) provides missile warning and countermeasures for infrared guided missiles, increasing aircraft and Soldier survivability against guided-missile attacks. The technology detects a fired missile and then dispenses flaresto detour the missile away from the aircraft. Before CMWS, the OH-58D Kiowa armed reconnaissance helicopter had no protection or countermeasure capabilities against the threat of infrared guided missiles.
CMWS was a collaborative effort of ASE, PEO Aviation’s Armed Scout Helicopter Project Office, and AMRDEC’s Aviation Engineering Directorate to develop system requirements under several constraints: limited space on a small platform, reduced weight, and a short time period. Responding to an Operational Needs Statement, the team rapidly fielded the
CAIMAN EXPLOSIVELY FORMED PENETRATOR ADD-ON-ARMOR KITS
technology and installed the first unit in January 2011.
The U.S. Army Tank Automotive Research, Development, and Engineering Center (TARDEC) invented an armor package that is easily integrated into multiple variants of Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicles with little modification to existing armor. The new package better protects the driver and commander sides of the vehicle as well as the gunner’s high position, which previously was vulnerable to explosively formed penetrator attacks.
A collaborative group tackled the urgent request, creating concepts in less than 48 hours and using small, cost-effective standard panels that allow for quick replacement of damaged armor. Team members included TARDEC’s Center for Ground Vehicle Development and Integration, G2 Security, and Ground Systems Survivability; and PM MRAP within PEO Combat Support and Combat Service Support.
Because time was not available to test the effectiveness of the new armor, the smaller armor panels were designed similar to the current, proven production armor. The standard welded bosses were replaced with bolted bosses, which reduced production time and eliminated warping of the aluminum plate without compromising performance.
The first prototype kit was fabricated and shipped to Iraq in June 2011, followed by 100 more in July, all in support ofOperation New Dawn. An additional 1,140 kits were required on an accelerated schedule, so PM MRAP turned to Blue Grass Army Depot, KY, and Rock IslandArsenal, IL, which completed production and shipped the remaining kits to theater by mid-September.
In addition to the top 10 AGI awards, the Army has a special award that recognizes a Soldier’s contribution.
The 2011 Soldier Greatest Invention is the Small Unit Tactical Light, created by CPL Buddy Jacobucci of Brighton, CO.
Now retired from the Army, Jacobucci served with Bravo Company, 4th Battalion, 31st Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division (Light Infantry). The motionactivated, infrared floodlight, which is camouflaged like a rock to blend in with the surroundings, can be positioned to illuminate target areas when motion is detected, using a 12-volt DC passive motion sensor. A thermal imaging sensor is encased in the motion sensor to pick up objects that emanate substantial heat, such as a person, large animal, or vehicle.
The device has a day/night photoelectric sensor, automatically switching off during the day to conserve battery life.
Placed along the perimeters of avenues of approach and at points identified by vulnerability reports, the infrared light enables the occupying force to see the target or enemy with night vision goggles, without alerting those being seen. This helps to extend security perimeters and allows the on-guard Soldier to determine whether activity is from friendly, enemy, or animal sources. According to Jacobucci, the Small Unit Tactical Light increases readiness, survivability, capability, lethality, and situational awareness.
The AGI awards program is designed to encourage and reward those fighting the war from research laboratories throughout the Army to develop the best solutions for the Soldier. Nominations come from across the Army and reflect innovation, progress, and the Army’s commitment to developing, acquiring, and fielding lethal, cutting-edge equipment that can sustain the success and safety of its greatest asset: the Soldier.
Dale Ormond, Director of the U.S. Army Research, Development, and Engineering Command (RDECOM), a subordinate command of U.S. Army Materiel Command, commended the scientists, engineers, and inventors for their efforts to empower, unburden, and protect Soldiers. “All of the nominated inventions demonstrate significant contributions to the warfighter. The 2011 award winners demonstrated significant impact to Army capabilities, potential benefits outside of the Army, and inventiveness.”
MS. TERESA MIKULSKY PURCELL provides contractor support through SAIC for the U.S. Army Acquisition Support Center. She holds a B.A. in English from the University of California at Berkeley.
MR. DAN LAFONTAINE provides contract support to the Public Affairs Office of the U.S. Army Research, Development, and Engineering Command through BRTRC. He has a B.A. in journalism from the University of Richmond.