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Archive for the ‘PEO-Soldier’ Category

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

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.

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.

Collaborative Acquisition Equips Soldiers and Marines to Fight and Win

Tuesday, September 13th, 2016

This is a joint release from Marine Corps Systems Command and the US Army’s Program Executive Officer Soldier. and is a good update to show you what is going on.

MARINE CORPS SYSTEMS COMMAND, QUANTICO, Virginia – In a series of ongoing efforts, Marine Corps Systems Command and the Army’s Program Executive Office – Soldier are collaborating to develop, test and deliver ever-better capabilities for Marines and Soldiers. These acquisition professionals are also closely aligned to ensure uniforms and personal protective equipment properly fit female and male service members in order to accommodate every individual Marine and Soldier.

The Cross-Service Warfighter Equipment Board and Improved Personal Protective Equipment System Integrated Product Team are just two of six established forums that give the services an opportunity to share technologies and develop service-specific and cooperative solutions to continuously improve equipment and uniforms for service members across all occupational specialties. In addition to these formal venues, the Corps and Army are also constantly collaborating behind the scenes.

“While the Marine Corps and Army collaborate formally within CS-WEB and IPPES IPT, we continuously participate in each other’s equipment testing exercises to collect and share research data.” said Army Lt. Col. Kathy M. Brown, product manager for Soldier Protective Equipment at PEO-Soldier. “Through these formal and informal methods we’re able to share new technology and ideas to keep our service members equipped with the best gear.”

Outcomes from Army/Marine Corps collaborative efforts span a spectrum of actions, including improvements for PPE, weight reduction, customization of uniforms and equipment to accommodate individual and unit missions, and organizational clothing and individual equipment development for extreme weather conditions.

One example of joint program success is the Enhanced Combat Helmet, fielded to both deploying Marines and Soldiers. Manufactured with the latest lightweight material technology, the helmet provides improved ballistic protection against specific small arms and fragmentation.

“Providing effective equipment that meets the needs of our service members is our highest goal,” said Charles Bell, a retired Marine and acting product manager for MCSC’s Infantry Combat Equipment. “There is a genuine, concerted effort to collaborate and to partner in development, acquisition and sustainment whenever we can.”

Cold weather clothing and equipment is another common cause. Developed by the Marine Corps and adopted by the Army, the Three Season Sleep System is designed for use in temperatures down to -13 degrees Fahrenheit in conjunction with designated cold weather clothing layers. Weighing less than two pounds, the sleeping gear is easy to pack, which allows service members to respond rapidly to changing field conditions.

“Adopting equipment between services is done frequently as we are constantly looking for ways to satisfy Soldiers’ and Marines’ needs,” said Army Lt. Col John Bryan, product manager for Soldier Clothing and Individual Equipment at PEO-Soldier. “The Three Season Sleep System is just one example.”

Lighten the Load
Together, the Army and the Marine Corps continue to focus on lightening the load for Soldiers and Marines, particularly when it comes to personal protective equipment. In 2010 the Marine Corps conducted a survey of Marines in conjunction with the Army’s Natick Soldier Research, Development and Engineering Center to assess sizing and weight of body armor and load bearing equipment. As a result, the services are partnering to develop the Plate Carrier Generation III (PC Gen III), a service-common vest that will provide better fit, comfort and mobility to Marines and Soldiers. The new prototype reduces the length of the protective vest by 1.25 inches; provides sports-graded shoulder straps to improve fit; and is 25 percent lighter than previous models.

“Both the Army and the Marine Corps are actively engaged in researching and developing a next-generation personal protective equipment solution that reduces overall weight; and optimizes the elements of size, bulk, fit and comfort to maximize mobility,” said Nick Pierce, the MCSC Team Leader for PPE, Load Bearing and Pack Systems. “The outcome will accommodate the comprehensive anthropometric differences between small and large-statured Marines and Soldiers – male and female – so that both services provide properly fitting PPE for the entire force.”

The PC Gen III is scheduled for multiple Limited User Evaluations during fiscal year 2017. Results will inform the requirements for the next-generation system.

Tropical Environs
The services are working hand-in-hand to develop uniforms and boots for tropical environments. The result of that partnership was put to the test during August as the Marine Corps tests the prototypes during a LUE at the Jungle Warfare Training Center in Japan. The uniforms are made of lighter fabric and treated with permethrin to help repel insects. The boots were tested for improved moisture management and reduced drying time, without loss of durability or protection for the wearer.

The Army is also conducting user evaluations on its version of tropical weight materials and boots made for tropical environments.

“After each phase of tropical uniform evaluations with our Soldiers we send over our reports to the Marine acquisition team,” said Bryan. “If in the end the Army and the Marine Corps decide on the same items, great, but if information helps Marines find a better solution for their needs that works too.”

Collaborative initiatives like this aim to ensure Soldiers and Marines have the best products and capabilities to accomplish the mission. By engaging in a continuous free-flow of ideas, approaches and materiel improvements the services ensure they are aligned to streamline the acquisition process, reduce costs and provide common sustainment benefits.

Ongoing pursuits and success stories of the Army and Marine Corps individual equipment partnership:
– Flame Resistant Uniforms & Materials
– Spectral Mitigation and susceptibility reduction of PPE and uniforms
– Arctic Overwhites
– Protective Undergarments
– Enhanced Combat Vehicle Crewman’s Helmet
– Ballistic Base Layer/Combat Shirt
– Protective Eyewear
– ESAPI Ballistic Plates
– Extreme Cold Wx Boots
– Lightweight Exposure Suit
– Extreme Cold Wx Parka
– Windpro Fleece Jacket

“Anything we develop that the services are able to share has a ripple effect in terms of efficiency and cost. If the Army and Marine Corps can be sustained by the Defense Logistics Agency for the same systems—with the same National Stock Numbers—the result is an economy of scale that both services can leverage to reduce costs and simplify the acquisition and sustainment of multi-service common clothing and equipment,” said Bell.

PM SCIE Conducts Airborne Testing At Ft Bragg With RA-1 Parachute

Thursday, September 8th, 2016

This week members of PEO Soldier’s Program Manager – Soldier Clothing and Individual Equipment went skydiving conducted testing of some new tachnologies while jumping the Military Freefall Advanced Ram Air Parachute System (MFF ARAPS) RA-1 at Raeford DZ, near Fort Bragg, NC.

PEO Soldier’s airdrop team out of Fort Belvoir, VA worked with support from NSRDEC Engineers and NET trainers from Prince George, VA, Yuma, AZ and Fort Bragg, NC.

The RA-1 (NSN 1670-01-606-1897) has been adopted by the US Army and is currently in service. It consists of the Intruder® 360 main parachute, the Intruder® 360 reserve parachute, and the Raider 2 harness/container manufactured by Airborne Systems.

Orangeburg Soldier to Receive His Life-Saving Helmet

Tuesday, September 6th, 2016

FORT BELVOIR, Virginia (Sept. 6, 2016) – A New York-area Army Reservist from the 668th Engineer Company at Orangeburg, New York, will receive a personally important piece of his military equipment back from Program Executive Office Soldier officials.

Staff Sgt. Frankie Hernandez will receive the Advanced Combat Helmet that saved his life at a 1 p.m. ceremony Sept. 10 at the Orangeburg Reserve Center.

Fort Belvoir-based PEO Soldier develops, acquires, fields and sustains affordable, integrated state-of-the-art equipment to improve Soldier dominance in Army operations today and in the future.

This event is part of PEO Soldier’s Personal Protective Equipment Returns program. PPE returns of life-saving equipment builds confidence among military personnel regarding the safety and dependability of their gear.

At the return ceremony, Col. Dean Hoffman, Program Manager of Soldier Protection and Individual Equipment at PEO Soldier, will speak on his agency’s Life Cycle management efforts in developing, producing and fielding the best possible PPE. Media will also have an opportunity to interview Sergeant Hernandez and Colonel Hoffman, and photograph or shoot videos during and after the event.

Several members of Sergeant Hernandez’s unit will attend the event. Members of the 668th chain of command will take part in the presentation ceremony that will present the sergeant with his life-saving ACH. Sergeant Hernandez received the Purple Heart in July of 2012 for the wounds he received due to this event.

In 2012, Sergeant Hernandez was on his bulldozer in Afghanistan when he dismounted to look for a better path for his vehicle. He began to receive small arms fire. One round hit the bulldozer engine block. Another round struck the ACH he was wearing. Analysis of the equipment revealed that the ACH performed properly and prevented life-threatening injuries to the sergeant.

Program Manager Soldier Clothing and Individual Equipment Issues RFI To Industry For Army Modular Tactical Holster In Support Of XM17 Modular Handgun System

Wednesday, August 17th, 2016

This is a great piece of news. The Product Manager for Soldier Clothing and Individual Equipment (PdM SCIE) has identified a need for a new modular and tailorable holster system in support of the Product Manager for Individual Weapons (PdM IW) Modular Handgun System (MHS) XM17 program.

While the pistol is PdM IW’s bailiwick, it’s PdM SCIE’s responsibility to maintain, develop, and improve Soldier clothing and individual equipment to include holsters as the life cycle manager of these items. They’ve fielded holsters in the past.  For example, in 2013 they began fielding the Blackhawk SERPA and a G-Code holster for the M9 Handgun.  

However, along with the pistol it will support, this requirement is new and has us excited.  To begin with, it shows that the XM17 is alive and kicking and far enough along to give accessories like holsters a serious look.  What’s more, it’s good to see PdM SPIE working with PdM IW to field a holistic solution which crosses commodities between the two teams.  The XM17 solicitation did call for holsters, but as we’ll show below, the holster concepts weren’t nearly as ambitious as the requirement for the pistol.  

In the solicitation for the Modular Handgun System, the offerer’s were required to provide Holster Sleeves to fit the Blackhawk SERPA Improved Modular Tactical Holster.

The offerors were also required to provide compact holsters, which were essential Safariland ALS holsters.   

In both cases, the holsters are well established legacy systems, in wide use. Whether you like them or not, they are industry standard holsters. But if the Army is to get a new pistol, why not see what industry is capable of and field a new holster as well?

That’s the point of this call to industry requesting formation on what they are capable of regarding holsters. Specifically, they are asking a lot and hopedully, industry will step up to the plate. Here is a sampling of what they are seeking; the entire list can be found at www.fbo.gov.

Key Performance Parameters

KPP 1 – Interoperability
The AMTH will carry a M17 pistol (T) and will be interoperable with any other MHS variants (i.e. Compact, etc.) (T). The AMTH must accept the M17 with suppressor kit, without actual suppressor in place (T), or with suppressor in place (O).The AMTH will accommodate future handguns used by Soldiers by providing an interchangeable holster sleeve variant (T), with one holster system (O).

Rationale: Compact variant users may need to carry their handguns in an overt/tactical method in the course of their duties and it would be necessary for the full size holster to accommodate the compact variant. In the event a new handgun is needed, the existing holster will need to holster or adapt to holster the new weapon to ensure Soldiers have a holster system available for use. The MHS suppressor kit may include a longer threaded barrel and higher than normal sights. The holster must accept the weapon configured for suppressed use, while accepting a fully suppressed MHS is an objective. Other methods of carrying fully suppressed pistols exist that may be more operationally suitable to the user.

KPP 2 – Modularity of Mounting Positions
The AMTH must be modular and provide three (3) mounting options, 1) mounting on equipment using standard Pouch Attachment Ladder System (PALS) webbing; 2) on a belt; 3) and a drop leg configuration (T=O). In any of the configurations the MHS Tactical Holster must be adjustable to accommodate a vertical or cross drawing of the handgun (T=O).

Rationale: The MHS must have a holster associated that allows the user to wear the system securely on their person and allows them to do all combat/battlefield required tasks. Users have a need for a holster to allow them to securely carry and quickly employ the MHS. Users currently have the modular capability to transfer the holster from chest (MOLLE) to hip to thigh carry in seconds without removing the weapon from the holster sleeve. Users require this capability in the AMTH, for example, when transitioning from riding in a vehicle to dismount and individual movement to key leader engagement. Users of the MHS will need to use one or both hands to conduct battlefield tasks while still maintaining a tactical advantage. Therefore, Users of the MHS will need to have the ability to draw the weapon effectively with one hand quickly and efficiently.

KPP 3 – Retention
The AMTH must provide retention upon holstering without the activation or manipulation of first level retention devices to secure the handgun when Soldiers are training and conducting combat operations (T). The AMTH will have to carry the pistol in a manner that conforms to the shape of the handgun and ensure the handgun is securely held within the holster (T). The AMTH must provide redundant systems to ensure the handgun is secure (O) and prevents someone other than the Soldier from drawing the handgun (O). The AMTH must provide one level of retention (T), two levels of retention (O). No retention buttons, switches, levers, etc. will use the Soldier’s trigger finger to release the handgun (T=O). None of the retention systems will cause damage to the pistol (T=O).

Rationale: Soldiers require the ability to draw handguns from holsters and re-holster with one hand reliably when transitioning from another weapon system, or when presented with a lethal force engagement with little or no warning when only armed with a handgun. This requires that Soldiers be capable of drawing the weapon quickly with one fluid motion, attain a proper firing grip from the holster, engage enemy targets, holster the weapon and potentially repeat the process during the same engagement or in successive engagements. Through all of this, Soldiers require the ability to continue to conduct other tasks with the non-dominant/non-firing hand and maintain situational awareness of their battle space. Therefore, Soldiers must be able to conduct draw and re-holster with one hand and without looking or glancing away from their near-target environment.

KPP 4 – Ergonomics
AMTH must be manufactured in variants for right and left hand dominant personnel (T) or have one variant which allows for ambidextrous access of the weapon without an increase to the size of the holster (O). The AMTH must allow the Soldier to draw and re-holster the weapon continually with one hand (T=O).

Rationale: Users need to be capable of carrying/accessing the holster on the dominant side. Objective ambidexterity in the holster permits logistical streamlining, but not at the expense of ergonomics or increased bulk/snagging hazard. Many users of the MHS need to use one or both hands while maintaining a tactical advantage. Being able to draw and re-holster with one hand and without taking eyes off the target area allows the user to maintain situational awareness and tactical advantage.

Key System Attributes

KSA 1 – Construction Materials
The AMTH must be constructed of materials that are non-magnetic, non-corrosive, block absorption of blood-borne pathogens or other biological fluids, fungus resistant and fire resistant (T=O). The AMTH shall not be degraded by CBRN decontamination materials; insect repellant; sea water; and commonly used petroleum, oil, and lubricants (POL) (T=O). The materials of the AMTH that contact the handgun will not mar the manufacturer-applied finish of the weapon (T). The color of the AMTH will be Tan 499 (T), Operational Camouflage Pattern (O). The external surfaces of the AMTH must be dull, non-reflective, and must not contribute to visual (T) or infrared signatures (O). The AMTH must not have visible logos or distinctive commercial markings when worn by the Soldier (T=O).

Rationale: The holster is not considered CBRN mission critical but is a durable item, as such, it needs to be capable of surviving CBRN training regimen and commonly used POL and insect repellants. The weapon finish prevents corrosion and maintains a level of operational security through camouflage. It is expected and acceptable that the holster may affect user-applied paints and camouflage that are less resilient than the factory-applied finish. The holster should not damage the finish and induce increased maintenance or corrosion of the weapon. Tan 499 is an approved Tank and Automotive Command (TACOM) color via Memorandum for Program Manger Soldier Weapons, Small Arms Weapons Neutral (Non-Black) Color, dated 31 January 2014.

KSA 2 – Configuration/Reconfiguration
Initial configuration and adjustment of the mounting system for the AMTH will be conducted at the operator level and will be accomplished without the use of special tools (T=O). Once set to the Soldier’s preferences, the AMTH must allow for placement between any of the three modular mounting systems without the need for tools in no more than 20 seconds (T=O).

Rationale: Initial configuration and/or reconfiguration is a task that would be conducted in a maintenance-type environment and not under fire. Soldiers do not have access to special tools and introducing special tools is not desired. The Soldier does have a common tool (multi-tool) that has narrow and wide blade flat screw driver tips and a #2 Phillips screw driver tip. Transition from one modular placement platform to another needs to be conducted in a combat environment (e.g., exiting or entering vehicles, drop zones or landing zones, etc.) and the Soldier should be able to do so without the use of tools in an expeditious manner.

KSA 3 – Airborne/Air Assault
The AMTH will include a retention system that can be configured in preparation of operations such as military free fall, static line parachute, air assault/fast roping, SPIES/FRIES, combat diver, patrol boat operations, hovercraft operations, rappelling, mountaineering, jungle penetrations, All Terrain Vehicle Operations, swimming, etc. which is installed before the operation and removed when extra retention is no longer required (T); is part of the holsters retention system (O). When conducting these dynamic movements, the Soldier will require multiple steps to draw the handgun (e.g., installing and removing bungee straps, manipulating locking levers, etc.) (T), be able to draw and holster the handgun continually with one hand (e.g., having additional steps with collocated levers, etc.) (O).

Rationale: Soldiers occasionally are required to conduct highly dynamic mission-critical tasks that may exceed the limitations of standard holster retention devices. If the standard retention device is not sufficiently robust to maintain security of the weapon, another form of retention is needed to ensure the weapon is secure. These operations are pre-planned thoroughly and configuration would not be necessary on short order or under fire. The need to present the weapon for use during these situations is real; therefore, Soldiers would still need to be able to do so in a timely manner and potentially with only the firing hand, and then re-holster and secure the weapon to continue the dynamic event.

KSA 4 – Law Enforcement Configuration
The AMTH must provide a Law Enforcement configuration (T). The AMTH Law Enforcement configuration will have additional mounting platforms and/or parts that can be added to the AMTH to meet the Law Enforcement Configuration or be a variant that attaches to the AMTH platforms (T), be the same as the AMTH with no additional parts (O). The Law Enforcement configuration will consist of a holster sleeve and a mounting system that is compatible with existing Military Police Law Enforcement Ensemble Kit (LEEK) belt dimensions (T). All components of the Law Enforcement Configuration will be black in color (T=O). The Law Enforcement Configuration will have a mounting platform that is user adjustable for height, adjustable to below/above the belt wear, and capable of being angled to slant holster away from the user’s hips (T) by providing an additional belt mounting system to the AMTH that provides the required adjustability (O).

Rationale: Military Police conducting Law Enforcement Operations have special capability needs. It is logistically prudent to ensure the Law Enforcement configuration is compatible with the AMTH. LEEK belt and accessory dimensions and characteristics will need to be compatible with AMTH LE configurations.

KSA 5 – Target Acquisition
The AMTH must have a variant capable of holstering the XM17 with target acquisition enablers (lights, lasers, pointers) mounted on the forward rail of the handgun, which does not extend forward of the muzzle or below the lowest portion of the trigger guard, and is not more than 1.5 inches wide (T). The AMTH must be capable of holstering the XM17 with target acquisition enablers (lights, lasers, pointers) mounted on the forward rail of the handgun, which does not extend forward of the muzzle or below the lowest portion of the trigger guard, and is not more than 1.5 inches wide (O). The AMTH must be capable of holstering the XM17 with target engagement enabler (mini red dot sight, RMR, etc.) mounted on the top of the handgun slide (O).

Rationale: Soldiers that require target acquisition enablers need to be capable of employing those enablers straight from the holster. When using night optical devices, it is imperative that the weapon be equipped with target acquisition enablers to be able to engage threats with any degree of accuracy. Installing the enabler after drawing the handgun and then removing the enabler prior to re-holstering is not acceptable in any situation. Installing the enabler on a loaded handgun while under fire is unsafe. Enabler fit is based on the required capabilities of the XM17 enabler SEP effort. Intent of the threshold is to have an AMTH variant for enabled pistols. Intent of the objective is to have a single AMTH that accepts both enabled and non-enabled pistols. It is possible that the XM17 will be capable of accepting mini red dot sights (MRDS). There are also other efforts that are reviewing the viability of MRDS for pistols. It is reasonable and prudent to expect some users will have a need to holster the XM17 with MRDS capabilities mounted on the weapon.

KSA 6 – Cost
The Tactical Holster system with holster sleeve and three mounting positions will cost less than $100 (T), $70 (O). The Law Enforcement configuration will cost less than $50 (T), $20 (O) for the law enforcement adapter.

Interested parties have 45 days to submit in response to this Request for Information. Full details can be found at www.fbo.gov

Throwback Thursday – Early 90s Experimental Urban Camo

Thursday, July 28th, 2016

This Natick photo, circa 1994 features an experimental urban camouflage pattern. There were versions of the reversible BDU made with this pattern combined with Woodland.

Picatinny Receives Award for Cost Savings

Thursday, July 28th, 2016

The office of the Under Secretary of Defense has awarded Program Executive Office Ammunition at Picatinny two 2015 Department of Defense Value Engineering Achievement Awards during a June 28 ceremony at the Pentagon.

Value Engineering, or VE, is a DOD effort to systematically and creatively analyze the function of items or systems to ensure required functions are achieved at the lowest possible overall cost and their VE procedures have saved the DOD more than $140 million combined.

In the Special award category, the Picatinny team institied these changes:

Elimination of Testing Requirement for the M18A1 Claymore Mine

Function analysis of the Transportation Vibration testing requirement for the M18A1 Claymore Antipersonnel Mine explored the continued need for extensive testing requirements for Claymore mines. By analyzing historical data, engineers were able to determine that some testing requirements for the Claymore were unnecessary and could be eliminated. This reduced the cost and time associated with the previous testing standard. The overall Value Engineering Savings: $49,000.

Clipped Bulk Pack for 5.56 mm pack out

This Value Engineering effort designed and developed the 5.56 mm ammunition Clipped Bulk Pack, an ammunition pack that holds 5.56 mm bullets, to gain significant savings over the current AB57 bandoleer-style pack. A bandoleer is a belt fitted with small pockets or loops for carrying cartridges. The Clipped Bulk Pack eliminates the need for bandoleers and provides for 60 additional rounds per M2A1 metal ammunition container. It is more robust, with longer shelf life than the existing fiberboard commercial pack. The overall Value Engineering Savings: $1.731 million.

Removing the Base Cover Assembly of 120 mm HE Projectile

120 mm High Explosive (HE) Mortar Projectiles previously required a base cover be welded to the aft, or back, of the projectile to avoid a catastrophic failure if there is a defect called a “pipe” in the body. This VE effort eliminated the base cover through an enhanced ultrasonic inspection process that will be able to detect the same “pipe” defect. The overall Value Engineering Savings: $277,000.

For the project/program award they institued the re-use of the 155mm M483A1 shell bodies.

The Project Manager Combat Ammunition Systems won the “project” award for its work developing a process to re-use 155 mm M483A1 Dual-Purpose Improved Conventional Munition (DPICM) shell bodies in producing M1123 and M1124 Extended Range IR and VL Illuminating projectiles. This provides the U.S. Soldiers with extended range illumination and an additional 5km of range at a considerable reduced price.

The re-use of the 155mm M483A1 Dual Purpose Improved Conventional Munition (DPICM) shell bodies achieved a net three year savings of $32.197 million.

From left: Kristen Baldwin, Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Systems Engineering; Saleem Ghazi, Branch Chief – Smoke/Illumination Mortars/Artillery in Project Manager Combat Ammunition Systems; David Kondas, Senior Project Officer – Smoke/Illumination Mortars/Artillery in PM Combat Ammunition Systems; William Marriott, Deputy to the Commanding General, Aviation and Missile Command. Kondas and Ghazi received the Department of Defense “Project” Value Engineering award during a ceremony June 28. (Photo Credit: U.S. Army)

From left: Kristen Baldwin, Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Systems Engineering, Chris Grassano, Chief of Staff for Program Executive Office Ammunition, Barbara Gabbard, Lean Six Sigma Deployment Director for PEO Ammunition, and William Marriott, Deputy to the Commanding General, Aviation and Missile Command. Grassano and Gabbard accepted the Department of Defense “Special” Value Engineering Award on behalf of PEO Ammunition during a ceremony June 28. (Photo Credit: U.S. Army)

For more details, visit www.army.mil.