Quantico Tactical

Archive for the ‘PEO-Soldier’ Category

SMA Dailey Gets Fitted for ‘Pink and Green’ Uniform

Friday, November 3rd, 2017

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Members of PEO Soldier’s PdM Soldier Clothing and Individual Equipment and the SPIE Public Affairs Officer staff met with the Sergeant Major of the Army (SMA) at the Pentagon today to fit him for the proposed Pink & Green uniform.

During AUSA we, here at SSD, showed you prototypes of this proposed dress uniform which is inspired by the World War Two-era Pink amd Green, so named due to the underlying hue of the two-tone jacket and trousers.

Look for an interview with SMA Dailey by the PEO Soldier PAO team soon which will discuss the uniform.

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SMA ofdice photos by PEO Soldier.

PEO Soldier Tests Modular Scalable Vest at Fort Carson

Monday, October 30th, 2017

FORT CARSON, Colo – Soldiers with the 71st Ordnance Group (Explosive Ordnance Disposal) and 10th Chemical Hazardous Response Company participated in the final round of field-testing for the Army’s new body armor, the Modular Scalable Vest (MSV), during a weeklong series of evaluated tasks conducted here Oct. 16-20.


SPC Hannah Carver-Frey, a chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear specialist with 10th Chemical Hazardous Response Company, participates in the final round of field-testing for the Modular Scalable Vest (MSV) during a weeklong series of evaluated tasks at Fort Carson, CO, Oct. 18, 2017. Once this evaluation is complete, the vest will go into production and is expected to reach Soldiers in the field by summer of next year. (US Army Photo by SSG Lance Pounds, 71st Ordnance Group (EOD), Public Affairs)

According to the U.S. Army Acquisition Support Center’s website, the MSV is part of the Soldier Protection System (SPS) and is the Army’s next generation Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) system. The SPS is a modular, scalable, tailorable system designed to defeat current threats at a reduced weight in comparison to the Army’s existing PPE.


Damon Brant, a new equipment trainer from Project Manager Soldier Protection Individual Equipment at Prince George, VA, ensures the proper wear and use of a new body armor system by SPC Creed Cooney, an explosive ordnance disposal technician with 62nd Ordnance Company, during a weeklong field-test of the Modular Scalable Vest (MSV) at Fort Carson, CO, Oct. 18, 2017. Following the field-test, the vest will go into production and is expected to reach Soldiers in the field by summer of next year. (US Army photo by SSG Lance Pounds, 71st Ordnance Group (EOD), Public Affairs)

Stephen McNair, test manager for Project Manager Soldier Protection Individual Equipment (PM SPIE), a division of Program Executive Officer Soldier (PEO Soldier) at Fort Belvoir, was on-site to observe as Soldiers conducted an obstacle course, weapons training, don and doffing procedures, tactical vehicle access capabilities, and a ruck march.


Soldiers with in the 71st Ordnance Group (Explosive Ordnance Disposal) and 10th Chemical Hazardous Response Company participate in the final round of field-testing for the Modular Scalable Vest (MSV) during a weeklong series of evaluated tasks at Fort Carson, CO, Oct. 18, 2017. Once this evaluation is complete, the vest will go into production and is expected to reach Soldiers in the field by summer of next year. (US Army photo by SSG Lance Pounds, 71st Ordnance Group (EOD), Public Affairs)

“We have been working on this vest for the past five years and have since have gone through four versions of the vest and an additional two versions of the Soldier plate carrier system,” said McNair.

McNair said once the evaluation is complete, the vest will go into production and is expected to reach Soldiers in the field by summer of next year.


1LT Dawn Ward, a platoon leader with 663rd Ordnance Company and evaluation officer in charge, participates in the final round of field-testing for the Modular Scalable Vest (MSV) during a weeklong series of evaluated tasks at Fort Carson, CO, Oct. 18, 2017. Once this evaluation is complete, the vest will go into production and is expected to reach Soldiers in the field by summer of next year. (US Army photo by SSG Lance Pounds, 71st Ordnance Group (EOD), Public Affairs)

Debuting in 2008, the Improved Outer Tactical Vest’s modular design was carried over and improved upon for the MSV. Most of the pouch attachment ladder system (PALS) have been replaced with a rubber-like material with laser-cut slots. The improvement still allows Soldiers to affix mission essential gear to the vest, while reducing overall weight.

The MSV weighs approximately 11-pounds, based on a medium size vest without ballistic plates. Fully configured, the MSV weighs approximately 25-pounds, which is five pounds lighter than the IOTV.


Michael Spencer, a new equipment trainer from Project Manager Soldier Protection Individual Equipment at Fort Bragg, NC, demonstrates how the Modular Scalable Vest (MSV) can be separated into different configurations, during the final round of field-testing of the vest at Fort Carson, CO, Oct. 18, 2017. Once this evaluation is complete, the vest will go into production and is expected to reach Soldiers in the field by summer of next year. (US Army photo by SSG. Lance Pounds, 71st Ordnance Group (EOD), Public Affairs)

McNair said the big push to design a new body armor was based on “cutting down on the weight of a Soldier’s load.”

Many of the testers said the MSV was noticeably lighter than their current body armor.

“Compared to my IOTV, this vest is lighter and cooler, has a greater range of motion, and a better fit,” said 1st Lt. Dawn Ward, a platoon leader with 663rd Ordnance Company and officer in charge during the evaluation.

“It is a huge improvement over previous body armors,” Ward said.


Michael Spencer, a new equipment trainer from Project Manager Soldier Protection Individual Equipment at Fort Bragg, NC, demonstrates how to transfer ballistic plates from the Modular Scalable Vest (MSV) to a plate carrier configuration enclosed within the MSV, during the final round of field-testing of the vest at Fort Carson, CO, Oct. 18, 2017. Once this evaluation is complete, the vest will go into production and is expected to reach Soldiers in the field by summer of next year. (US Army photo by SSG Lance Pounds, 71st Ordnance Group (EOD), Public Affairs)

In addition to saving weight, the MSV is scalable, which was made possible by a four-tier configuration. The tier system will allow the wearer to tailor the vest to better fit mission requirements.

The first tier enables the wearer to pull out the inside soft armor to be used as concealable body armor. The second tier is the soft armor with plates. The third tier is the vest with ballistic plates and soft armor.

The final tier is the addition of a ballistic combat shirt that has built -in neck, shoulder and pelvic protection and a belt system designed to relocate much of what Soldiers affix to their vest to their hips.


(Graphic credit: PEO Soldier)

Spc. Isaac Bocanegra, an EOD technician with 764th OD CO, said he prefers the MSV’s ballistic combat shirt over the IOTV’s yoke and collar set up because it gives him more range of motion.

“I currently wear the IOTV about twice each day and it is quite a bit heavier than this body armor,” said Bocanegra. “Having this new body armor would make my job so much easier,” he added.

McNair said the premise of the tier system is to evenly distribute the system’s weight and reduces stress on a Soldier’s upper body.

“It will be up to unit leadership to determine the level of protection required for wear,” said McNair.

The MSV retained the quick-release feature first used in the IOTV to allow for easy removal in emergency situations, but with a simpler and interchangeable design. Instead of a single pull-tab, the MSV has a buckle system that can be used in one of three ways; left shoulder, right shoulder, or both depending on the wearer’s preference.

Extended sizing options allow the MSV to be tailorable and more accommodating to most Soldier body types.

“The extended range allows Soldiers to be more comfortable while performing tasks with greater ease,” said McNair.

“I have an extra-small because it positions the plates where I need them to be and it has a tighter fit for me,” said Spc. Hannah Carver-Frey, a chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear specialist with 10th Chemical Hazardous Response Company.

In addition to developing the lighter weight body armor, McNair said that developers at PEO Soldier are also working on an improved protective helmet system. It too, will be lighter than current protective helmets and capable of stopping certain 7.62 rounds.

For more information about the MSV body armor, visit the U.S. Army Acquisition Support Center’s website at asc.army.mil/web/portfolio-item/soldier-protection-system-sps

For more information about the future of Soldier protective equipment, visit the PEO Soldier’s website at www.peosoldier.army.mil.

This article was written by SSG Lance Pounds and shared via the Army News Service.

PEO Soldier – Soldiers Test Newest Precision Targeting Device

Wednesday, October 25th, 2017

This is a great story by PEO Soldier’s Kyle Olson, updating you on their JETS program.

FORT GREELEY, Alaska – For nearly two weeks in mid-August, it seemed the only sound that could be heard between gusts of wind along a few of Fort Greeley’s Alaskan ridge lines was…

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“Target Lock.” “Target Lock.”
“Lasing.” “Lasing.”
“Solution.” “Solution.”
“5…7…6…9.” “5…7…6…9.”
“4…2…5…2.” “4…2…5…2,” and so it went—more than two-thousand times.
Find a target. Check.
Identify the target. Check.
Range/Geolocate the target. Check
Call it. Verify it. Log it.
And do it again, and again, and again, and again.

Six teams of Forward Observers (FO) from the 1st Stryker Brigade’s 2nd Battalion, 8th Field Artillery Regiment and data collectors atop places like Windy Ridge and Donnelly Dome looked out over the Alaskan landscape. They picked out targets and called in target data acquired through the Joint Effects Targeting System, better known as JETS, as part of a Limited User Test (LUT). The Army’s Operational Test Command conducted the testing at the Fort Greeley Cold Region Test Center (CRTC).

JETS is a modular advanced sensor suite consisting of a hand-held target location module (HTLM), a precision azimuth and vertical angle module (PAVAM), and a laser marker module (LMM) that collectively offer the FO capabilities not contained in any currently fielded system. JETS allows them to quickly acquire and precisely locate targets.

When fielded, it will be the first precision targeting device of its kind provided to Soldiers.

“Its brand new cutting edge technology that is a paradigm shift in how the Field Artillery BOS (Branch of Service) is employed across the battle space,” said LTC Michael Frank, Product Manager Soldier Precision Targeting Devices (PM SPTD). With JETS, “I turn a [M777A2] howitzer or a Paladin into a giant sniper rifle. I’m dropping that round, with first round effects, on target.”

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LTC Frank is guiding the development of JETS with the experienced hand of a FA officer with multiple deployments and more than 26 years in the Army. The lieutenant colonel emphasized that JETS not only provides greater precision, but also allows for a more rapid response. “Standoff doesn’t just mean range anymore,” LTC Frank said. “It means time. We can get kinetic effects on that target, and we don’t have to mess around with mensuration. We don’t have to take anywhere from 15 to 18 to 20 minutes to go through mensuration. We can get that target data to the guns and rounds out of the tube faster with JETS than without.”

According to CPT Eric Munn, JETS Assistant Product Manager (APM), “JETS will revolutionize how the Field Artillery conducts precision fire missions. A hand-held, stand alone, true precision targeting device that is fielded to every Forward Observer team will increase the agility and lethality of Field Artillery as a whole.”

Before the system is fielded, and well before Soldiers can experience the benefits of JETS on the battlefield, it must go through comprehensive and rigorous testing. While the 1st Stryker Brigade’s FOs could attest to the seemingly mind-numbing monotony of conducting thousands of data calls, they also understood the inherent value and importance of their mission.

“We have the ability to find things that are wrong with the system and have the capability of getting it changed,” said SPC Israel Wallace, FO, Delta Battery, 2nd Battalion, 8th Field Artillery Regiment (2-8 FAR). “We’d go up there, shoot grids, see if we can find anything wrong with it—see how long the batteries last, you name it.”

Although the Soldiers packed the JETS in their rucks and maneuvered through the Alaskan terrain to their observation posts, the LUT was not about the system’s durability on the move. It was about collecting enough data to verify its consistency, reliability, and ease of use.

“We don’t do a whole lot of rugged testing like throw it on the ground or anything like that,” SPC Israel said. “We’ll take it up there and use it all day long.” The Soldiers took note of things like the various connections and ports—were they easy to use or maybe vulnerable to snagging or breaking; was the tripod stable and easy to use; how did the system perform in the rain; and were the controls easy to use while wearing gloves?

According to CPT Munn, it’s essential that the JETS is developed with Soldiers in mind. “One of the most important parts of these tests is determining how suitable the JETS is for the Soldier and what we need to fix prior to fielding these systems to the Army,” he said. “The Soldier is the ultimate customer and we have to ensure that they can employ the system effectively and reliably.”

SGT Christopher Maurer, 2-8 FAR FO, appreciated the ability make a difference. “It’s good to know what it can do,” he said. “But, it’s [also] good to have that face to face with the people that actually designed it, so they can take in the feedback and actually do something about it.”

LTC Frank described how the Soldiers conducted the testing. “The Soldiers operated over five different lanes, incorporating different scenarios that put JETS through the type of mission scenarios it would see—not just if, but when it’s taken into a theater of combat,” LTC Frank said.

After spending several weeks training and then testing JETS, the Soldiers gained a special appreciation for the system and its capabilities. SGT Maurer especially appreciated the reduced weight when compared to the Lightweight Laser Designated Rangefinder (LLDR) and increased capability when compared to the Vector 21 Laser Target Locator (LTL). “They’re both kind of the far ends of the spectrum,” he said. “[JETS] is the perfect hybrid between having one module you can take and just go with, or you can bring everything.”

SPC Wallace echoed SGT Maurer’s sentiment. “If I was running around up in the mountains, constantly moving, setting up hasty [observation posts] I would take the JETS over the LLDR any day.”

The Operation Test Center will spend the next several weeks combing through the LUT data and then present PM SPTD with the test findings. Everything will be looked at and recommendations will be made. Some will affect training, and others will result in physical changes or even software updates.

Soldiers will have another opportunity to work with the JETS in the upcoming Initial Operational Test and Evaluation (IOT&E) scheduled for February 2018. The IOT&E, like all previous tests, will put the JETS in hands of Soldiers. They will put it through its paces ensuring the operational capabilities of this next generation precision targeting device are tested and verified to exacting detail before any Soldier uses the JETS to call for fire on a live target.

“Our goal in the Acquisition community is to increase our Soldiers’ survivability and ability to win on the battlefield,” CPT Munn said. “The JETS system accomplishes both tasks by giving the Forward Observer time and space to defeat enemies on the battlefield,” he added.

JETS is expected to be fielded to Soldiers in fourth quarter of Fiscal Year 2018 (July–September 2018).

Picture1Soldiers from the 1st Stryker Brigade’s 2nd Battalion, 8th Field Artillery Regiment put the Joint Effects Targeting System (JETS) through its paces at the Cold Region Test Center (CRTC), Fort Greeley, Alaska. The Soldiers, all Forward Observers (FO), spent several weeks testing and evaluating the JETS during the Limited User Test (LUT) conducted by the Army’s Operational Test Command. More than 2,000 data calls were logged on the systems by six teams of FOs and data collectors. JETS, a hand-held, stand alone, true precision targeting device, represents a capability not yet available to Forward Observers. One of the Soldiers characterized it as the perfect hybrid system, fitting neatly between the Vector 21 Laser Target Locator (LTL) and the larger Lightweight Laser Designator Rangefinder (LLDR). At 17 pounds, JETS weighs less than half of the LLDR and offers greater precision than the Vector 21.

(Photos by Kyle Olson, PEO Soldier)

peosoldier.armylive.dodlive.mil/2017/10/24/soldiers-test-newest-precision-targeting-device

US Army Improved Hot Weather Combat Uniform

Thursday, October 19th, 2017

If you’re a Soldier, a new jungle uniform is in your future. The Army has developed an Improved Hot Weather Combat Uniform (IHWCU) for use in hot-wet environments and is working to put it into production.

The two-piece ensemble consists of a Coat and Trouser printed in the Operational Camoufiage Pattern. So far, prototypes have been made from Invista’s Cordura NYCO fabric, a 57/43 blend, which is lighter, faster drying and more breathble than the ACU’s 50/50 NYCO. However, other fabrics are currently under evaluation.

Coat, Improved Hot Weather Combat Uniform


IHWCU worn by CPT Daniel Ferenczy, APM for Extreme Weather Clothing and Footwear, PM-SPIE, PEO Soldier

Features:
-single-breasted
-raglan sleeve front with a five (5) button closure
-a fold down collar with a fusible interlining
-long sleeves with cuffs and one (1) button, three (3) buttonholes adjustable cuff tab
-The top of the button down closure is open to accommodate a pen
-front has loop tape to accommodate the Name and US Army Tape
-front placket has a loop tape for the Rank Patch
-coat has two (2) bellow style top opening upper sleeve pockets and includes an eyelet drain-hole
-sleeves have an elbow reinforcement patch
-Both sleeves have an Identification Friend or Foe tab cover that can be opened and closed using hook and loop fastener
-IFF tab cover is centered and sewn onto the sleeve above the upper sleeve pocket
-double turned and cleaned finished hem

Trousers, Improved Hot Weather Combat Uniform

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(Rear of the IHWCU Trouser, showing the cargo and lower leg pocket layout.)

Features:
-covered fly with a four (4) button/ buttonhole closure, or three (3) button/buttonhole closure, depending on size
-seven (7) belt loops
-two (2) side hanging pockets
-two (2) front side pleated cargo pockets with three (3) button/ two (2) buttonhole closure flaps
-high end of cargo pockets at front of pocket rather than rear like ACU
-two (2) lower leg side pockets with one (1) button/ one (1) buttonhole closure flaps
-side cargo pockets shall have three (3) sewn-in eyelets hidden by the bellows
-double needle seat patch and a pleated knee reinforcement incorporated into the pant leg at the knee
-one (1) piece single gusset
-two (2) front side hanging pockets
-mesh fabric attached on the inside of the trousers at the bottom of the legs as inner cuffs
-bottom of the trousers leg hems, the inner cuffs, and the waistband shall have drawstrings

Right now, Natick has issued an RFI to industry in order to identify manufacturers for up to 150,000 sets of the new uniform. However, that number could drastically increase depending on whether the Army decides to make the IHWCU an optional wear item or solely Organizational Clothing & Individual Equipment (OCIE) issue.

AUSA – Prototype Pinks and Greens

Monday, October 9th, 2017

At AUSA PEO Soldier is demonstrating a prototype World War Two Pinks and Greens-style service dress uniform.

SGT Schacher and SFC Johnson wear prototypes of male and female versions of the uniform. This is only a prototype, intended to solicit feedback and there is currently no requirement for a new Service uniform. However, if this concept is adopted by the Army, the final uniforms will be different.

Here, SFC Johnson shows us the Class B Shirt. I’m very impressed by the work the uniform’s designers have done to research historical uniform items and adapt the styles to reflect modern tastes and materials.

What do you think?

US Army’s PEO Soldier, BG Cummings, Speaks Out On 7.62mm Rifle Efforts 

Sunday, October 8th, 2017

7D1AC0D0-1C97-4ABD-A261-661A9D063FB5In an October 3rd Army News Service article, BG Brian Cummings, who serves as Program Executive Officer Soldier, discusses the Army’s on-again-off-again efforts to identify and field a 7.62 rifle capability.

Reading the extract below, it seems that wires have been crossed somewhere. BG Cummings makes it sound like the Interim Combat Service Rifle effort is still underway. However, we, and others, reported several weeks ago it had been cancelled. Additionally, Deputy Director of the Lethality Branch at the Army’s Maneuver Center of Excellence Matt Walker (CSM, Ret), verified just last week, that they have ceased work on what he now describes as an “evaluation” despite it being issued as a solicitation.

As we posted on September 22nd, the M110A1 Compact Semi Auto Sniper System is still underway, although unfunded, and the directed requirement to field a Squad Designated Marksman variant of the H&K G28, also remains underway.

Without the ~50,000 ICSRs which would have been fielded, the Army will have to rely on the limited number of CSASS/SDMR procured in order to deal with the body armor threat Chief of Staff of the Army, GEN Mark Milley testified about in front of the Senate Armed Services Committee, earlier this year.

Below is the pertinent section of that Army News Service article.


STILL ON TARGET FOR NEW RIFLE

Despite some reports to the contrary, the Army is still looking for a new rifle that uses a 7.62mm cartridge.

“The chief [U.S. Army Chief of Staff Gen. Mark A. Milley] wanted an interim combat rifle, or he was only going to fulfill a requirement to have a squad-designated marksman in each squad, called a squad-designated marksman rifle,” Cummings said. “So, there are two efforts going on to get a 7.62 inside the squad.”

What are those two efforts? Cummings said that course of action No. 1 is to have one Soldier in a squad carrying the Squad-Designated Marksman Rifle, or SDMR. Course of action No. 2, he said, is to have multiple Soldiers in a squad with the Interim Combat Service Rifle, or ICSR. Both are 7.62mm weapons.

The SDMR is already a program of record for the Army, Cummings said, and there is a weapon already identified to fill that role: the M110A1 Compact Semi-Automatic Sniper System, or CSASS. That weapon is undergoing testing now, Cumming said.

But the ICSR and the SDMR do not represent the future for what weapons will be issued to most Soldiers.

“Right now, many are focused on the ICSR or SDMR,” Cummings said. “But that’s not the long-term way ahead. The long-term way ahead is a brand new rifle for all of the Department of Defense called the Next Generation Squad Weapon.”

The Next Generation Squad Weapon, or NGSW, is actually two weapons, he said. It will include one rifle to replace the M249 Squad Automatic Weapon, and then a carbine that replaces the M4. Both the M249 and the M4 use the 5.56mm cartridge. The NGSW will likely use a different caliber cartridge than 5.56mm.

“For the next-generation, we wanted to make one end-all solution,” Cummings said. “With the M4, when you look at it, it’s got all these things hanging on top of it. We keep evolving by putting on things. The next-generation is going to be kind of like what we did with the pistol, with the modular handgun system. It’ll be one complete system, with weapon, magazine, ammo and fire control on it and we will cut down on the load and integration issues associated with it.”

The general said the U.S. Marine Corps is “on board” with development of the NGSW, and the British are interested as well.

Cummings said the Army can expect to start seeing the Next Generation Squad Weapon by 2022, in about five years. That will include the weapon, magazine and bullet. Later, by 2025, he said, Soldiers can expect to see a fully-developed fire-control system.

Until then, Cummings said, the Army is working on an interim solution to get a larger-caliber rifle into the hands of at least some Soldiers. It’ll either be the SDMR in the hands of one Soldier, or the ICSR in the hands of some Soldiers. But, he said, “the final decision has not been made.”

US Army Leverages Foreign Comparative Testing To Procure M3E1 Carl Gustavs

Thursday, September 7th, 2017

ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. — Used on battlefields around the world since 1991, the M3 Multi-Role Anti-Armor Anti-Personnel Weapon System, or MAAWS, has seen several iterations.

The latest version, or M3E1, is not only lighter, but shorter and ergonomically designed with a longer handle and better grips. These features, as well as its ability to use multiple types of rounds for firing, has led the Army to approve a requirement for 1,111 M3E1 units.

“The current system that the Army uses is the AT4, which only allows Soldiers to fire one shot, and then they have to throw the system away. With the M3E1, Soldiers can use different types of ammunition which gives them an increased capability on the battlefield,” said Randy Everett, Foreign Comparative Testing, or FCT, project manager.

The M3E1 is part of the Product Manager Crew Served Weapons portfolio, which is processing a contract to procure 1,111 M3E1s and an Urgent Material Release to field them as soon as possible.

The U.S. Army FCT program office, which is positioned within U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command, receives oversight from the Office of the Secretary of Defense’s Comparative Technology Office. The FCT program provides an avenue for Army engineers, scientists and program managers to test and evaluate items and technologies from allies and other friendly nations that may fill an Army capability gap.

The program encourages international cooperation and helps reduce the DOD’s overall acquisition costs by providing funds to formally test and evaluate foreign non-developmental items, commercial-off-the-shelf items, or technologies which are in the late state of development that may satisfy U.S. military requirements.

In 1988, U.S. Special Forces identified a need for a shoulder-fired, recoilless rifle to replace the M67, and Saab Dynamics developed the M3, which was a likely candidate to address the need. It was through the FCT program that the first M3s were delivered to U.S. Rangers and U.S. Navy Seals in 1994.

Kevin Finch, MAAWS product director, has worked on the M3 program throughout the years, collaborating with Saab Dynamics AB, the Swedish vendor, to perfect their system.

According to Soldier feedback, the M3 was too heavy and bulky. By using titanium, the updated M3E1 is more than six pounds lighter. The M3E1 is also 2.5 inches shorter and has an improved carrying handle, extra shoulder padding and an improved sighting system that can be adjusted for better comfort without sacrificing performance.

In response to the new requirement, a wiring harness was included in the M3E1 configuration that provides a foregrip controller and programmable fuze setter for an interchangeable fire control system. For added safety and cost savings, an automatic round counter enables Soldiers and logisticians to accurately track the service life of each weapon.

The system was tested for gun tube safe service life at IMT Materialteknik AB in Sundsvall, Sweden by the U.S. Army Test & Evaluation Command and other subject matter experts. Testing at the vendor’s test facility in Sweden eliminated the need to purchase ammunition and material, and it limited range time in the U.S., saving the Army nearly one million dollars.

The M3E1 uses the same family of ammunition as the M3, which has already been successfully tested.

As a result of this project, the Army received the OSD award for the FCT program. Click here to read the article.

“Our original investment of $3 million has led to an approximate $40 million procurement for the Army, which is a great return on investment. But, most importantly, the M3E1 can be reused so it gives Soldiers increased flexibility and capability on the battlefield,” Everett said.

For more information on the FCT program, visit cto.acqcenter.com.

US Army Paratroopers Testing Airborne Tactical Assault Panel 

Monday, September 4th, 2017
The Airborne Tactical Assault Panel (ABN-TAP) rigging configurations. (Photo Credit: Photo courtesy of PEO Soldier)

The Airborne Tactical Assault Panel (ABN-TAP) rigging configurations. (Photo Credit: Photo courtesy of PEO Soldier)

Fort Bragg, North Carolina — For the first time since their inception, Army Airborne forces will soon be fielding a new fighting load system tailored to the paratrooper’s unique requirements.

“The Airborne Tactical Assault Panel (ABN-TAP) was developed with the paratrooper in mind and will allow the paratrooper a greater degree of comfort, mobility and safety during static line airborne infiltration operations,” said Rich Landry of the U.S. Army Soldier Systems Center laboratories in Natick, Massachusetts.

Rich Landry of the U.S. Army Soldier Systems Center laboratories in Natick, Massachusetts, demonstrates key design features included in the Airborne Tactical Assault Panel (ABN-TAP) based on Soldier input. (Photo Credit: Photo courtesy of Natick Research laboratories)

Rich Landry of the U.S. Army Soldier Systems Center laboratories in Natick, Massachusetts, demonstrates key design features included in the Airborne Tactical Assault Panel (ABN-TAP) based on Soldier input. (Photo Credit: Photo courtesy of Natick Research laboratories)

Typical Airborne troops say the legacy load carrier systems have some drawbacks.

Previous designs must be worn under the T-11 parachute harness, which is less than optimal because it does not allow for a proper fit of the main parachute harness, and moves the T-11 reserve activation handle further away from the paratrooper’s grasp.

ABN-TAP enables Soldiers to rig the fighting load under the parachute harness but below the reserve parachute.

Soldiers from the 57th Sapper Company, 27th Engineer Battalion, 20th Engineer Brigade, assemble the Airborne Tactical Assault Panel (ABN-TAP) during New Equipment Training at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, before putting it through operational testing. (Photo Credit: Jim Finney, Combined Technical Services, Airborne and Special Operations Test Directorate, U.S. Army Operational Test Command)

Soldiers from the 57th Sapper Company, 27th Engineer Battalion, 20th Engineer Brigade, assemble the Airborne Tactical Assault Panel (ABN-TAP) during New Equipment Training at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, before putting it through operational testing. (Photo Credit: Jim Finney, Combined Technical Services, Airborne and Special Operations Test Directorate, U.S. Army Operational Test Command)

“This will allow paratroopers to properly adjust the T-11 parachute harness to their specific sizing requirements and keep the T-11 reserve parachute handle well within reach,” said Sgt. 1st Class Ian Seymour, Test NCO from the Airborne and Special Operations Test Directorate (ABNSOTD) here.

The ABN-TAP design actually draws its lineage from the older Load Bearing System (LBE) used with the T-10 and MC1-1 parachute systems by paratroopers for decades.

Soon after the Global War on Terror began, all branches of the armed services rushed to modernize field equipment to meet the rigors of modern combat and allow for the constant presence of body armor, according to Mike Tracy, deputy test division chief at ABNSOTD.

“With the vest/plate carrier systems seeing overwhelming Soldier acceptance, the task of providing the paratrooper with a modern design compatible with current parachute systems is challenging to say the least,” Tracy said.

Paratroopers assigned to the 57th Sapper Company, 27th Engineer Battalion, 20th Engineer Brigade, Fort Bragg, N.C., practice "buddy rigging" the Airborne Tactical Assault Panel (ABN-TAP) at the 82nd Airborne Division Advanced Airborne School during New Equipment Training. (Photo Credit: Michael Zigmond, Audio Visual Production Specialist, Airborne and Special Operations Test Directorate, U.S. Army Operational Test Command)

Paratroopers assigned to the 57th Sapper Company, 27th Engineer Battalion, 20th Engineer Brigade, Fort Bragg, N.C., practice “buddy rigging” the Airborne Tactical Assault Panel (ABN-TAP) at the 82nd Airborne Division Advanced Airborne School during New Equipment Training. (Photo Credit: Michael Zigmond, Audio Visual Production Specialist, Airborne and Special Operations Test Directorate, U.S. Army Operational Test Command)

The ABN-TAP bridges this gap by providing both new and old capabilities to the paratrooper.

Tracy explained that ABN-TAP allows not only for rigging under the parachute harness and reserve, but can be rapidly adjusted to serve as a “chest rig” design upon landing.

“Ground troops consider this to be the most efficient design under current operational conditions,” said Tracy.

“Operational testing using Airborne paratroopers, collects data which truly allows the Army to evaluate the suitability and safety of the ABN-TAP when worn during static line Airborne operations and follow-on missions,” Tracy said.

Before testing Soldiers participated in New Equipment Training (NET), which included familiarization with the system, fitting and proper rigging of the ABN-TAP with the T-11 parachute system.

Following NET, Soldiers conducted live parachute jumps from a C-17 high performance aircraft at 1,250 feet above ground level over Sicily Drop Zone here.

More senior Soldiers participating in testing were optimistic about the proposed rigging procedures.

“Having jumped the LBE system earlier in their careers, this proven rigging method signals a simple approach to a complex problem,” said Leon Price, senior ABNSOTD test officer.

“I think I benefitted personally by being a part of this,” said Spec. Aaron Adams, a Combat Engineer with the 57th Sapper Company, 27th Engineer Battalion, 20th Engineer Brigade. “I enjoyed participating in the testing because it allowed me to provide direct input into the test and I will get to see it once it is fielded to the Airborne force.”

“Any time Soldiers and their leaders get involved in operational testing, they have the opportunity to use, work with, and offer up their own suggestions on pieces of equipment that can impact development of systems that future Soldiers will use in combat,” said Col. Brad Mock, the director of all the Army’s Airborne testing.

Upon completion of testing, the ABN-TAP could potentially be issued to Army Airborne forces worldwide, signaling the first steps in modernizing the combat loads of thousands of paratroopers.

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The U.S. Army Operational Test Command is based at West Fort Hood, Texas, and its mission is about making sure that systems developed are effective in a Soldier’s hands and suitable for the environments in which Soldiers train and fight. Test units and their Soldiers provide feedback, by offering input to improve upon existing and future systems with which Soldiers will ultimately use to train and fight.

The Fort Bragg, North Carolina-based ABNSOTD plans, executes, and reports on operational tests and field experiments of Airborne and Special Operations Forces equipment, procedures, aerial delivery and air transportation systems in order to provide key operational data for the continued development and fielding of doctrine, systems or equipment to the Warfighter.