New, Improved Military Equipment Showcased at Capitol Hill Exhibit
(Source: US Department of Defense; issued June 6, 2007)
WASHINGTON --- America’s service-members are the best-equipped in the world, and people could see and touch an array of all-new or improved military equipment on exhibit on Capitol Hill here today.
Attendees examined a revamped Land Warrior ground-soldier system, inspected improved body armor, tasted the latest field rations and viewed a new aerial cargo delivery system along with more equipment on display at the one-day exhibit held inside the Rayburn House Office Building. The exhibit is co-sponsored by the U.S. Army’s Natick Soldier Research, Development and Engineering Center, Natick, Mass., and Program Executive Office Soldier based at Fort Belvoir, Va.
The Army’s Land Warrior individual combat system was a popular exhibit. Land Warrior is a prototype system that harnesses computer technology and earth-orbiting satellites to boost an infantryman’s survivability on the battlefield, while providing senior leaders with real-time information about the situation on the ground, said Army Sgt. Philip Morici, an infantryman who demonstrates the Land Warrior system.
In development since the early 1990s, the current version of Land Warrior is “a great system, but it’s obviously not the end-result of what we want,” Morici said as he hefted a specially-equipped M-4 carbine that is integrated with the Land Warrior system.
Land Warrior is now being tested by an Army unit in Iraq, the sergeant noted. “We’re slowly getting the info back and we’re making the changes we need to,” Morici said.
Recent improvements to Land Warrior resulted in an 8-pound weight loss compared to the previous edition, Morici said. Future versions of Land Warrior will likely be smaller, lighter, and be wireless and voice-activated, he predicted.
The improved armored tactical vest now being fielded provides servicemembers with the best protection available, said Francis Hayden, a soldier survivability expert with Program Executive Office Soldier at Fort Belvoir.
The improved vest now weighs 29 pounds for a size medium, a 4-pound weight reduction, Hayden said. It features a new, tailored fit, he noted, that in tandem with expanded sizes for longer torsos, provides increased area of protection coverage.
The vest also has a weight re-distributing internal waistband that makes it more comfortable to wear. The vest still incorporates ceramic-plate inserts that will stop a variety of small-arms projectiles, Hayden noted.
“It provides full, 360-degrees protection on the torso,” Hayden said of the new vest, noting it includes detachable protection for the upper arms and groin. The new vest also features a pull-release device for quick removal in case of emergencies, he noted.
“The Interceptor body armor is the best body armor, right now, that we have out on the street for our soldiers,” Hayden emphasized.
And, thanks to the new Unitized Group Ration Express, also called “Kitchen in a Carton,” U.S. servicemembers deployed to austere locales will soon be able to enjoy hot meals even though there’s no dining facility in sight, said Gerald Darsch, director for DoD Combat Feeding at the Natick facility.
The Kitchen in a Carton system is self-heating and features menu items such as turkey dinner with gravy, Darsch said.
“It requires no cook, no fuel, no equipment and no power,” he explained, noting each self-contained system is designed to be air-dropped, weighs 40 pounds and feeds 18 servicemembers.
Kitchen in a Carton, Darsch said, is one of two newly developed military field rations. The other new field food is called the “First-Strike Ration,” he said, and it’s designed for troops on the move.
The all-in-one ration is designed to replace multi-component meals-ready-to-eat, Darsch said, noting they contain about 3,000 calories, enough to feed a warfighter for one day.
“Everything contained in that First-Strike Ration is designed to be consumed on the move,” Darsch explained. “Even the beverages come in an ergonomically designed pouch, where you don’t have to fumble with the canteen or the canteen cup.” Officials hope to field this new ration soon, he said.
And, through the new Joint Precision Airdrop System, the U.S. military has developed a novel method to aerially deliver rations, fuel, ammunition and other vital supplies to troops in the field.
After exiting a cargo plane flying as high as 25,000 feet above the ground, the computer-controlled JPADS parachute system “self-maneuvers using Global Positioning System coordinates to a drop zone as small as 100 meters,” Ed Doucette, Natick’s director of air delivery and warfighter protection, explained. Computer-controlled twisting or warping of the system’s wing-shaped parachute causes the airborne payload to turn left or right, he noted.
A 2,000-pound payload version of the JPADS system has been used in Afghanistan, Doucette said, noting another system with a 10,000-pound capacity also has been developed.
“There are further plans to deploy more of those (2,000-pound systems) over the next six months, and then rapidly field the 10,000-pound systems, as well,” Doucette noted.
The US Army exhibited the improved Land Warrior individual soldier combat system on Capitol Hill in Washington. (US Army photo)
Army Continues Working to Improve Warfighters’ Gear, Equipment
(Source: US Army; issued June 15, 2007)
WASHINGTON --- Today’s soldiers have the best equipment available, and the Army keeps striving to improve it, the general who oversees the equipping effort said.
“In the history of warfare, there has never been a ground soldier as well equipped and capable as the U.S. Army is today,” Army Brig. Gen. R. Mark Brown told Pentagon reporters during a roundtable briefing yesterday.
The weapons, clothing and other gear used by warfighters today make them “more capable, more survivable, more lethal and with better communications than any time in history,” Brown said.
“Even though that’s the case, we never rest on our laurels,” he said. “We’re always looking for something better. … We get the state-of-the-art, and then we immediately start going on to the next thing.”
As commander of the Army’s Program Executive Office Soldier program, Brown oversees the production of everything soldiers wear or carry. That ranges from uniform items, protective gear and weapons to optical equipment and communications systems.
With a $1 billion annual budget for research and development and $4.4 billion for procurement, PEO Soldier’s 400 programs all work toward a common goal. “The eternal challenge in PEO Soldier is to balance size, weight and power consumption with soldier capabilities,” Brown said.
That means giving troops the highest-quality, most dependable, lowest-maintenance gear possible, but with the lowest weight and least bulk. It’s a constant balancing act between lightening equipment without losing capability, while adding new systems as they come on line, he said.
Brown’s goal is to limit the maximum fighting load to one-third of a soldier’s body weight. That’s a huge challenge, he acknowledged, when some missions currently require as much as 100 pounds of equipment.
Even the latest Interceptor body armor and outer tactical vest now being fielded weigh about 27.8 pounds. This figure varies slightly depending on size and doesn’t include the added weight for throat and groin attachments or deltoid protection.
Brown said he’s impressed with the speed in which new equipment is reaching the force. The Army has introduced nine body-armor improvements in the last five years and four helmet improvements in the last three.
“What we try to do is develop these things as rapidly as we can and do the research and development, the test, the acquisition as simultaneously as we can,” he said. “A lot is being done and being delivered to the soldier at the right place and right time.”
Brown visibly bristles when asked about news reports that more capable gear is intentionally being kept from the troops. That’s flat-out wrong, he said, and shakes the confidence of soldiers in harm’s way.
“I want to assure the American public, the soldiers and their families that they have the best equipment when and where they need it,” he said. “If there were something better, we would buy it, and we’re always looking for something better.”
Another fine Army prototype test-bed program. I'll bet it's every bit as effective as the OICW. Wow, an 8lb savings on a system that started out at about 70-75lbs. That only leaves another 35lbs of weight to trim from the thing before the Infantry will adopt it. At this rate they might as well give it up and start a serious prototype for Infantry power-armor instead. At least then they'd be taking a larger, more "quantum leap" in technology towards the future.
Hah, they're just trying to make Tom Clancy seem like less of a dreamer for military tech.
Not to highjack the thread, but: are you a Sergeant or a Private that wishes he was a Sergeant. You really need to fix the ambiguities in your profile.
No, its the fact that my father was a sergeant in the marines and cause of that all my friends called me sarge in highschool so..heh..
holy crap that stuff looks like it weighs like 50 lbs! i sure wouldnt want any of that stuff on me. It looks like its from a video game or something......
as soon as you put that much stuff on a gun you and the gun start to become a robot. A gun is a gun and it looks like that stuff would start getting pretty annoyin after doin about 15 door to door searches.
Sorry I'm not one of those give a private a hug guys
If you don't like that idea then your going to be hurting. Present day soldiers are all ready wearing on average 50-60 lbs just as a rifleman, add on additional items and your packing some weight.
Question, how do you know what it would be like to do 15 building searches in a row? Back up a couple of years and it would have been the RIS/RAS, ACOG/EoTech/M68/etc., tac light, PEQ-2/PAQ-4 would seem like to much stuff. Now it is everyday gear, we evolve with technology that gives us the edge. Not like you'll actually have the choice if your told to carry it.
I dont know what 15 searches is like(im only 12), but i have an idea. In the heat, with all of your gear, knockin down doors and searchin every room seems like a lot of work, also add the stress that all of the gun fire and noise, it seems like a pretty difficult, and add all those cameras, and equipment on your gun would make it even tougher.
lol i only recognize 1 accessory on that weapon and thats the grippod....What is that big box on the left side of the weapon with the two flashlight looking thingies for?
Why does this thing remind me of an Okie headed to Califonia during the depression, with every bucket, spoon, and bedspring his family has ever owned hung off of a rattletrap Model-T Ford?
I saw quite a few Joe's while serving in Iraq sporting every add-on whizbang guru novelty they could hang off their rifles. One particularly sad example had shelled out major $$$ from his own pocket to buy a 1st generation night scope (that resembled the Hubble space telescope in both size and complexity). He showed it to me and I swear I could see better at night through iron sights than with that POS.
KISS-Keep It Simple Stupid; Rifle (clean, oiled, loaded), iron or aimpoint sight (properly zeroed), PAC-4 (great for aiming with your NOD's at night, tac-light if you're involved in searches and room clearing.
As for the digital micro plasma TV screen, boom mike, thermal/day/night/radar interfaced scope, battery pac, GPS monitoring system, reserve battery pack, cable modem, internet bluetooth firewire junction box, extra battery stored in Glad trash bag, and the ungodly wieght of it all stacked onto body armor, ammo, frags, etc...ad nauseum.
that gear on the rifel is not only bulky its heavyand we are not seeing the power supply yet .get the 2 12volts out of my m151 my camras batteryes went t@#$ up. email@example.com does the helmit come with a neck brase?
Yeah, just wearing a helmet is hard on your neck. Especially if your swiveling your head around for several hours. They've got to move that equipment of the helmet.
With certain innovations currently underway, such systems and their power sources, should shrink and weigh less soon. Thank the cell phone and laptop industry for that. Less expensive too.
I wonder if the mistake will eventually be made, as such systems evolve, that have been made in the past, of neglecting training and relying on the technology. Mistakes like not teaching riflemen with repeaters marksmanship or not equipping F-4 fighters with a gun.
The Interceptor armor isn't the best body armor out there. Dragon Skin is far more superior to the Interceptor. If you wanna truthfully say that we're outfitted w/ the best gear, we need Dragon Skin.
|Been there, done that. Played the terrorism game...and kicked their A$$!|
You mean the 20 extra pounds and the plates melt off at120F while we wear it in 135-140F Dragonskin?
Tell you what...stop considering joining, and put your name on the dotted line and join me. When you wear 80#'s of shiite for 14 hours a day, you will reconsider your conclusion based on some dipzhit TV show.
Interceptor with the SAPI's are combat, impact, and lifesaver proven....unlike Dragonskin.
Life ain't worth living, if ya ain't got a good cigar.
Now ive seen these types of combat systems played with for a few years now and this has been changed and thats been upgraded but ALOT of them have an eye piece. There is some kind of hud system in there I take it but what I want to know is can you see through it? I'd hate to trade my depth perception and peripheral vision for enemy positions or friendly troop movement. Thats just my opinion. If you can see through it that would be pretty nice. But where are the controls located? I don't see a keypad on there arm or a bunch of controls on the weapon itself.
I don't see this being done well enough to become practical. Its very bulky!
On a side note, a few years ago didn't they actually send out a group with the oicws to field test them? I saw them mentioned farther up the thread.
The HUD needs to be a holo or in your goggles and switched.
All the kit in the article are developmental. As the technology improves teh size and weight will drop. Just look at the difference in "starlight" technology and the current families of NVDs. As for "dragonskin" It is quite proven that they are liers and are putting lives in danger. SAPI plates are as "starsandbars" put it are proven. I wouldn't where anything else.
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