Tactical Tailor

Archive for the ‘PEO-Soldier’ Category

SIG SAUER, Inc. Awarded the U.S. Army Contract for its New Modular Handgun System (MHS)

Friday, January 20th, 2017

Newington, NH (January 19, 2017) – SIG SAUER, Inc. announced today that the U.S. Army has selected the SIG SAUER Model P320 to replace the M9 service pistol currently in use since the mid-1980’s. Released in 2014, the P320 is a polymer striker-fired pistol that has proven itself in both the United States and worldwide markets. The P320 is the first modular pistol with interchangeable grip modules that can also be adjusted in frame size and caliber by the operator. All pistols will be produced at the SIG SAUER facilities in New Hampshire.

The MHS Program provides for the delivery of both full size and compact P320’s, over a period of ten (10) years. All pistols will be configurable to receive silencers and will also include both standard and extended capacity magazines.

“I am tremendously proud of the Modular Handgun System Team,” said Army Acquisition Executive, Steffanie Easter in the release. “By maximizing full and open competition across our industry partners, we truly have optimized the private sector advancements in handguns, ammunition and magazines and the end result will ensure a decidedly superior weapon system for our warfighters.”

Ron Cohen, President and CEO of SIG SAUER, said “We are both humbled and proud that the P320 was selected by the U.S. Army as its weapon of choice. Securing this contract is a testimony to SIG SAUER employees and their commitment to innovation, quality and manufacturing the most reliable firearms in the world.”

3M Subsidiary Wins Contracts for Two U.S. Army Soldier Protection Programs

Saturday, January 14th, 2017

ST. PAUL, Minn — The U.S. Army has selected Ceradyne, Inc., a 3M company, as the awardee for two low-rate initial production (LRIP) contracts for next-generation helmet systems and hard body armor inserts as part of the Integrated Head Protection System (IHPS) and Vital Torso Protection (VTP) – Enhanced Small Arms Protective Inserts (ESAPI) components of the Soldier Protection System (SPS).

The Army designed the IHPS to give soldiers a lighter-weight ballistic helmet system that also provides passive hearing protection and increased blunt-impact performance. This helmet system includes numerous accessories, including a mandible, visor, night vision goggle attachment device, rails and modular ballistic applique. The contract awarded to Ceradyne is valued at over $7 million for the delivery of more than 5,300 IHPS helmet systems. Production is expected to start in 2017.

The VTP will equip soldiers with lighter-weight body armor inserts. The $36 million contract is for the production of more than 30,000 ESAPI, with production also expected to start in 2017. This VTP award is an addition to a previous $34 million award, for a total of $70 million on the VTP LRIP contract.

“We are honored to be the awardee of these prestigious contracts,” said Cheryl Ingstad, business manager, Advanced Ceramics Platform – Defense, 3M. “The SPS program represents the highest level of lightweight technology to date. Our focus from the onset has been to meet the Army’s stringent specifications for the SPS, and that will continue as we move into initial production. As a leading science company, 3M has deep expertise in advanced lightweight materials, which, combined with our proven production history, differentiates our defense offerings.”

The SPS will replace the Army’s current personal protective equipment (PPE) system. It is designed to defeat current threats while providing an overall weight reduction for soldiers compared to existing PPE. Both the IHPS and VTP began as research and development programs with multiple contenders.

Ceradyne has delivered more than 120,000 enhanced combat helmets (ECH) to the U.S. Army and Marine Corps since 2014. The ECH offers the highest protection level of any helmet in the U.S. Armed Forces inventory, even protecting against certain small arms threats. Ceradyne has also delivered more than 2 million hard body armor inserts to the U.S. Armed Forces to date.

For more information about soldier protection solutions provided by 3M, visit www.3M.com/Defense.

Blast From The Past: Camo Rumors – Some Observations

Monday, January 2nd, 2017

I was doing some research the other day and ran across this article we had published in the summer of 2009. It was written before the adoption of OEF-P Camouflage Pattern, before Phase IV of theCamouflage Improvement Effort and before OCP.  Looking at it in hindsight is kind of fun as some things we had originally said turned out to be untrue. For example, at the time, there was license for the use of MultiCam, but it was paid by the yard.  It’s really still that way today, but it just wasn’t as visible at the time.

Ever since Congress told the Army that the Universal Camouflage Pattern (UCP) used on the Army Combat Uniform (ACU) wasn’t cutting it in Afghanistan, rumors and just plain old bad info has been swirling about the internet, so I thought I’d share a few thoughts on the subject.

Urban Legend 1 – MultiCam Uber Alles. Despite internet hype and the military version of an urban legend, MultiCam is not replacing UCP in 2011 or 2012. As best I can tell, this rumor came about because the Future Force Warrior program was supposed to be fielded in, you guessed it, 2011. It so happens that all of the photos of guys suited up in the FFW garb were swathed in MultiCam goodness. For some odd reason, folks couldn’t divorce the concept of FFW from Multicam. Hence, the urban legend. Naturally, this new round of Congressionally driven controversy has only fanned the flames of this untruth. Think about it. The Army just spent a gazillion dollars changing everything to UCP. In fact, fielding isn’t even complete. So ask yourself this question. Why would the Army spend a “gazillion” dollars on a new camo pattern and turn right around a field a new one mid-stream? The answer? It wouldn’t. They want to buy FCS, not new uniforms.

Urban Legend 2 – UCP is going away completely. It isn’t. The Congressional “suggestion” is only for forces in Afghanistan, not the whole shebang.

Urban Legend 3 – The Marine Corps offered MARPAT to the Army and they turned it down. Total Fantasy. Here is a truth. These patterns are about branding. When you see MARPAT, you think “Marine”. When you see UCP you think “Soldier”. MARPAT was developed for the Marine Corps. General Jones, former Commandant of the Marine Corps wanted a uniform that would let his enemies know when Marines were in town. He got one.

desert brush variant 3

I feel for the Army. What a big poop sandwich. “Hey Army, UCP stinks, issue something else. But use the money we already gave you for OTHER stuff.” You can’t just change out uniforms. You have to replace all of the Soldier’s other kit as well, or the contrast will just highlight the guy. So the Army is going to have to compute this huge cost for one theater. That was the point of UCP in the first place. One camo…universal. No more issuing two different patterns to guys…economize.

I feel even worse for the poor action officer at PEO-Soldier who has to develop the decision brief on this one. For example:
COA 1 – Do nothing…Tell Congress “Nuts”, I mean after all, UCP does work in some parts of Afghanistan.
COA 2 – Do Nothing…Beg Congress for cash
COA 3 – Stall…conduct study (Attn PEO-Soldier, I am available for contract to conduct said study)
COA 4 – Issue Woodland or Three-Color Desert
COA 5 – Adopt all new pattern – See pic above

Option 5? That is the fantasy option. Or is it? There are select US forces rocking MultiCam all over the place. Oddly enough, so are Snipers. Aside from that, the Army spent a great deal of time and effort developing and testing several patterns any of which could be dusted off including the one in the photo.

However, I am voting for some combo of one or more of the first three with COA 4 as the ultimate outcome. There is already precedence with the Army’s G1 permitting USASOC forces to wear Woodland camo. Plus, there are stock of the older patterns that can be drawn from to get this thing rolling.

Do we love MultiCam at Soldier Systems Daily? You’re damned right we do. Will it be adopted for use in Afghanistan? Who knows at this point, but it sure will be interesting watching whatever ultimately happens.

US Army Patents New Blast Debris Protective Harness

Sunday, December 4th, 2016

This press release from the Army discusses a new take on the Protective Over Garment or POG program.  The commercial items they issued in the past, would be displaced by the negative pressure wave preceding the blast and frag wave.  Consequently, they weren’t as effective as they could have been.  I’m told this new system is a much closer fit, so it won’t move during a blast.


Engineers and designers at the Natick Soldier Research, Development and Engineering Center, or NSRDEC, have patented a blast debris protective harness. The harness is worn outside the pants and hugs the body without hindering movement. (Photo Credit: David Kamm)

Granted, it looks complicated in this photo, but it will make sense once you see it actually being worn in the next photo.

Below is the full Army story.

NATICK, Mass. — Engineers and designers at the Army Natick Soldier Research, Development and Engineering Center have patented a new design for a harness that protects its wearer from blast debris.

Worn outside the pants, the harness is designed to protect the groin and femoral artery and prevent debris from embedding in and around the groin. Such injuries can be so severe that repeated surgeries are often needed to remove the debris, leading to extreme discomfort as well as health and hygiene issues. The harness has also been adapted to provide fragmentation protection.

Project lead Kristine Isherwood said NSRDEC began designing the piece of equipment after a joint urgent operational needs statement was issued for blast debris protection, while the Product Manager Soldier Protective Equipment looked for commercial off-the-shelf solutions.

“The protection that existed before was letting debris in because it wasn’t fitted close enough to the body,” said Cara Tuttle, an NSRDEC clothing designer and design lead. “Soldiers weren’t wearing it often enough, and it didn’t come down inside of the leg to protect the femoral artery.”

Before arriving at the harness design, NSRDEC considered several others, including under-trouser, within-trouser, and over-trouser designs. The ultimate design for the harness uses multiple layers of Kevlar that alternate as they overlap.

“A layer overlaps in one direction, then the next layer overlaps in the opposite direction, and it keeps alternating,” Tuttle said. “This creates a better barrier for small [debris fragments], which would have to zig zag through all these layers to get through.”

The resulting design hugs the body without hindering movement or range of motion. Project engineers partnered with NSRDEC’s Human Factors and Anthropology teams to achieve the snug fit. The design makes use of adjustable straps and buckles that allow for easy doffing and donning.

“It was challenging to add layers and area of coverage without impacting movement,” said Isherwood. “Whether you had to climb in a window or kneel, [the harness] needed to stay in place, but also allow full range of motion. The uniqueness of this design is that it’s stable but moves with you.”

Tuttle, who worked in the apparel industry for a number of years before coming to Natick, and Isherwood say they are dedicated to improving the quality of life and safety of the warfighter.

“There is nothing in the [apparel] industry quite like what we do here at Natick,” Tuttle said. “We are helping to protect the men and women who are protecting our country. Our work … has the potential to save lives.”

“[Our Soldiers] are volunteering to be put in harm’s way,” Isherwood said. “So anything I can do to protect them without compromising their effectiveness is the goal. That’s what we are trying to do every day.”

As with many protective items developed by NSRDEC, the innovation is expected to benefit the not just the warfighter, but also may, in the future, be licensed for use by first responders.

US Army Develops Wool-Centric FR Fabric

Monday, November 28th, 2016

Last week, the US Army released a story about a new FR fabric they’ve developed. This is great news. I love to see new materials developed. I also share Army Textile Technologist Carole Winterhalter’s and others’ enthusiasm for the reintroduction of wool into US military uniforms. There are only good things to say about wool, particularly the wool sourced from Rambouillet sheep, which rivals New Zealand’s famed Merino wool. I think it’s going to happen eventually, as well. However, there are a couple of things I want to point out about the article.

First off, the article states that the goal of the development of this new fabric blend is to create a flame-resistant combat uniform made wholly from domestic material, but that’s already been done, by multiple vendors. Although, US Army and Marine Corps FR combat uniforms are made of Tencate’s Defender M, which is milled from a blend of materials that incorporates Austrian Lenzig FR Rayon fibers, a fiber requiring a Berry waiver, there are many domestic FR fabrics. Rather, the goal here, seems to be to figure out ways to use wool, and in particular, wool blends.

Additionally, the US herd of sheep is currently insufficient to support a major DoD procurement. Currently, SOF is way out front of the services on this, and the industry is working hard to support their limited requirements while continuing to sustain its existing commercial business.

Finally, the article seems to overstate the Army’s role in the introduction of our domestic Superwash facility. To be sure, they supported the effort, but it has not sat fallow, awaiting an Army requirement. To the contrary; it is a fully viable commercial entity, currently supporting such brands as Duckworth, Farm to Feet, Point6, XGO and others.

Having said all of that, I urge them to keep up the good work. Wool is awesome and it’s unfortunate the domestic wool industry is currently so limited. Show the ranchers there’s a viable requirement, and they’ll grow to meet it.


Photo: Pvt. Antwan Williams, an Infantryman serving as a Human Research Volunteer Soldier at the U.S. Army Natick Soldier Research, Development and Engineering Center, models a prototype uniform developed by NSRDEC’s textile technologists. He is also wearing a MOLLE Medium Pack System and a conceptual load carriage vest system called the Airborne Tactical Assault Panel that is designed specifically for Airborne operations but will also be evaluated for non-Airborne operations, including jungle environments. (Photo Credit: Jeff Sisto, NSRDEC Public Affairs)

Some of you are going to ask about the chest rig in the photo, called the Airborne Tactical Assault Panel. Yes, that’s Tubes which FirstSpear provided to the Army Experimental Load Carrying Facility. I’ve seen prototypes of this design going back several years and Tubes makes a great, low profile, front closure. Hopefully, we’ll see this adopted.

ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. — U.S. Army researchers who are developing a wool-based fabric blend are aiming to improve combat uniforms while also boosting U.S. manufacturing jobs.

The Army has developed a fabric composed of 50 percent wool, 42 percent Nomex, 5 percent Kevlar and 3 percent P140 antistatic fiber. The goal is to create a flame-resistant combat uniform made wholly from domestic materials, said Carole Winterhalter, a textile technologist with the Army Natick Soldier Research, Development and Engineering Center.

“We have a lightweight fabric that is inherently flame resistant. No topical treatments are added to provide [flame resistance],” Winterhalter said. “We are introducing a very environmentally friendly and sustainable fiber to the combat uniform system.

To test prototype uniforms made with the fabric, three Army researchers traveled to Germany in August for Exercise Combined Resolve VII, where they worked with about 100 Soldiers. The exercise drew about 3,500 participants from NATO allies to the region.

There, the researchers joined John Riedener, the field assistance in science and technology advisor assigned to 7th Army Training Command. FAST advisors are a component of the U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command.

“We were in the heat of summer here, and it was very warm during the exercise,” Riedener remembered. “The uniforms were lighter weight and breathed better. Soldiers were very happy with the material.”

Soldiers from 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division participated in the 21-day testing and completed surveys before and after the exercise, said Brian Scott, NSRDEC equipment specialist, Soldier and Squad Optimization and Integration Team. The R&D team selected Hohenfels, Germany, because the evaluation of a fire-resistant wool undergarment also took place there. 

During testing, each Soldier received three prototype uniforms. Each was made from the same wool-based blend. One was “garment treated” with permethrin, an insecticide, and another was “fabric treated” with permethrin. The third was untreated. 

The Soldiers, who came from a variety of military occupational specialties, wore each of the three uniforms for about seven days in a field environment for a total of 21 days. The testing and survey instructions asked Soldiers not to compare the prototypes with existing uniforms or camouflage patterns.

Their feedback regarding comfort, durability, laundering and shrinkage, insect resistance, and overall performance will help determine whether researchers will continue the development effort, Winterhalter said.

Initial results suggest the majority of the Soldiers liked the fabric because it was lightweight and breathable; however, analysis of the survey data has yet to be completed, said Shalli Sherman, NSRDEC program manager for the Office of Synchronization and Integration.

Winterhalter is optimistic about the prospect of a wool blend being incorporated into combat uniforms because of its environmental, manufacturing and economic benefits. She said the United States has about 80,000 wool growers, and the Army would like to include the material in the clothing system.

“Wool is 100 percent biodegradable. It’s easy to dye and absorbs moisture,” said Winterhalter, who also serves as the federal government’s chief technology officer for the Advanced Functional Fabrics of America Manufacturing Innovation Institute.

“The Army has spent quite a bit of time and money to reintroduce a manufacturing process in this country called Super Wash that allows us to shrink-resist treat the wool. … When blended with other fibers, the fabric does not shrink excessively when washed.”

The new Super Wash process makes wool viable for combat clothing in nearly any application, including jackets, pants, underwear, headwear, gloves and socks, Winterhalter said.

NSRDEC researchers are planning for a larger field study with more users over a longer time period of time, possibly 30 days. More data on comfort and durability will be needed for the Army to move forward, Winterhalter said.

3M Subsidiary Wins Contracts for Two US Army Soldier Protection Programs

Friday, November 4th, 2016

This is major news. The Integrated Head Protection System component of PEO Soldier’s next generation Personal Protective Equipment program called Soldier Protection System, has been in source selection quite awhile. Gentex and Revision also competed for this program. Congratulations to 3M Ceradyne!

Company will deliver next-generation lightweight helmets and body armor inserts for the Soldier Protection System

ST. PAUL, Minn. – Nov. 1, 2016 – The U.S. Army has selected Ceradyne, Inc., a 3M company, as the awardee for two low-rate initial production (LRIP) contracts for next-generation helmet systems and hard body armor inserts as part of the Integrated Head Protection System (IHPS) and Vital Torso Protection (VTP) – Enhanced Small Arms Protective Inserts (ESAPI) components of the Soldier Protection System (SPS).

The Army designed the IHPS to give soldiers a lighter-weight ballistic helmet system that also provides passive hearing protection and increased blunt-impact performance. This helmet system includes numerous accessories, including a mandible, visor, night vision goggle attachment device, rails and modular ballistic applique. The contract awarded to Ceradyne is valued at over $7 million for the delivery of more than 5,300 IHPS helmet systems. Production is expected to start in 2017.

The VTP will equip soldiers with lighter-weight body armor inserts. The $36 million contract is for the production of more than 30,000 ESAPI, with production also expected to start in 2017. This VTP award is an addition to a previous $34 million award, for a total of $70 million on the VTP LRIP contract.

“We are honored to be the awardee of these prestigious contracts,” said Cheryl Ingstad, business manager, Advanced Ceramics Platform – Defense, 3M. “The SPS program represents the highest level of lightweight technology to date. Our focus from the onset has been to meet the Army’s stringent specifications for the SPS, and that will continue as we move into initial production. As a leading science company, 3M has deep expertise in advanced lightweight materials, which, combined with our proven production history, differentiates our defense offerings.”

The SPS will replace the Army’s current personal protective equipment (PPE) system. It is designed to defeat current threats while providing an overall weight reduction for soldiers compared to existing PPE. Both the IHPS and VTP began as research and development programs with multiple contenders.

Ceradyne has delivered more than 120,000 enhanced combat helmets (ECH) to the U.S. Army and Marine Corps since 2014. The ECH offers the highest protection level of any helmet in the U.S. Armed Forces inventory, even protecting against certain small arms threats. Ceradyne has also delivered more than 2 million hard body armor inserts to the U.S. Armed Forces to date.

For more information about soldier protection solutions provided by 3M, visit www.3M.com/Defense.

PdM-SCIE Issues RFI For US Army Jungle Combat Boot

Wednesday, October 5th, 2016

PEO Soldier’s Product Manager Soldier Clothing and Individual Equipment (PdM-SCIE) has an ongoing program for an Army Jungle Combat Boot. However, a near-term operational requirement has been identified which needs to filled. Consequently, they’ve issued a Request for Information (RFI) to determine Industry’s capability to manufacture, and deliver, Berry Compliant Jungle Combat Boots (JCB) for this Directed Requirement (DR).

According the the RFI, “the goal of this DR effort is to meet an urgent fielding need for two (2) Brigade Combat Teams (BCTs), beginning with one BCT in March 2017 and the second BCT completed by September 2017. This RFI is intended to identify the capability of Industry to provide JCB in a shortened time frame for use by the combat Soldier operating in hot, wet tropical jungle conditions.”

We highly encourage imdustry to participate in this process because PdM-SCIE is using the data you provide to develop an acquisition strategy. Due to the short fuse on this requirement, they may have to fast track the procurement. The RFI states, “a formal solicitation may not be issued prior to entering into contracts. The information gathered will be used as market research and will be used to determine the Army’s contracting strategy, including the potential use of competitive, limited competition, and/or non-competitive actions, to meet this immediate need to field two BCTs based upon Industry’s capability to meet technical, quality, price, and delivery schedule requirements. Therefore, the information provided should be accurate and thorough enough to clearly demonstrate a company’s capability to execute to the schedules provided. The Government will independently review the information received as part of this RFI to determine a company’s capability to meet this DR JCB effort.”

In total, the US Army plans to field a total of 36,000 pairs. They aim to partially field one BCT by March 2017 with a strategy to issue the maximum amount or pairs of JCB in sizes of 8 ½ -11 (whole and half sizes) in Regular (D) and Wide (EE) width which are the most common sizes In Phase II, they’ll complete fielding of the First BCT as well as the Second BCT no later than September, 2017. The full size run is 3 through 15 (whole and half sizes) and 16 (whole size only) in widths Narrow (B), Regular (D), Wide (EE), and X-Wide (EEEE).

Industry has until 03 NOV 2016 at 12:00 PM EST to respond to this RFI, so sharpen those pencils.

For those of you who might be wearing this Jungle Combat Boot, the Army did give us an idea of what it will look like. It will be Coyote 498 in color with the Vibram Panama II sole along with leather lowers and nylon uppers. They’ve also specified a puncture resistant insole and drain perforations.

This is the Vibram Panama II Sole.

Once again, this effort is is separate from the Jungle Combat Boot Program of Record, which is the Army’s long-term solution and is still currently proceeding through the normal Defense Acquisition Framework. However, there may be additional RFIs issued in pursuit of that program.

Visit www.fbo.gov for full details.

Joint Base Lewis-McChord Soldier To Receive Body Armor That Saved His Life

Friday, September 16th, 2016

FORT BELVOIR, Virginia (Sept. 15, 2016) – A Soldier at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington, survived not one but two potentially lethal bullets fired by Afghan insurgents five years ago because of the Enhanced Small Arms Protective Insert plate in his body armor.

Program Executive Office Soldier officials will reunite Army Sgt. Daniel Malm, 110th Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear Battalion, with the life-serving plate in a ceremony Sept. 19, 2016, at JBLM. Army Lt. Col. Kathy Brown, Product Manager Soldier Protective Equipment (PM SPE), will return the ESAPI plate.

PM SPE is the Army organization responsible for developing and fielding protective equipment, including body armor and helmets, to Soldiers. This Fort Belvoir-based organization is part of PEO Soldier’s Project Manager Soldier Protection and Individual Equipment.

After the plate saved Sergeant Malm’s life, it came back to PEO Soldier for scientific analysis. Technicians analyze combat-damaged personal protective equipment to determine how the gear performed under actual combat conditions and learn how to make protective equipment even better.

Time and Location:
·1:30 p.m. (Pacific), Sept. 19, 2016.
·110 CBRN Headquarters, Building 11984, D and 8th Streets, JBLM

Recipient:
Army Sgt. Daniel Malm – served with the 4-25th Field Artillery, 10th Mountain Division, on Sept. 14, 2011, when his ESAPI plate stopped insurgents’ bullets. The first impact knocked him to his knees. He rose to his feet and immediately took another round that knocked him flat on his back and broke several ribs. He stayed down while his fellow Soldiers killed the insurgents. He is a veteran of three deployments.

Presenters:
Army Lt. Col. Kathy Brown – responsible for development of helmets, body armor, ballistic eyewear, bomb disposal suits, and other protective equipment Soldiers wear. Her organization is currently developing a new generation of lighter weight body armor that Soldiers can modify to suit the threats and mission requirements.

Army Master Sgt. Corey Ingram – PM SPIE Senior Enlisted Adviser.