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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.

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