Noncommissioned officers help Natick’s Aerial Delivery Directorate researchers test the RA-1 parachute’s harness for comfort and fit in cold conditions created in the Doriot Climactic Chambers. Brrrrrr!
A Congressional staff delegation consisting of Professional Staff Members from the House and Senate Armed Services`1qw Committees visited key DoD research & development facilities in the Boston area this week. Among other stops, the staff spent time at the Natick Soldier Systems Center where they were briefed on the base’s cutting-edge R&D work. Natick Soldier Systems Center is a crucial part of the development process for warfighter gear and equipment, with groundbreaking work on individual items ranging from combat helmets and soldier electronics to combat feeding and shelter systems.
The base itself consists of four key units including, the Natick Soldier Research, Development and Engineering Center, the U.S. Army Institute of Environmental Medicine, Program Manager Field Sustainment, and the Integrated Logistics Support Center….. it truly is “all about the solider.” And as one of the main industry liaisons, the base serves as an integral player in the DoD’s R&D efforts on improving gear and equipment for the end-user. Natick Soldier Systems Center maintains capabilities and technologies that are one of a kind, such as the Doriot Climatic Chambers, which was recently upgraded in partnership with the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. The base’s location also provides a unique ability to bring some of the nation’s greatest minds due to its proximity to some of the nation’s greatest research institutions such as Harvard University, MIT, Worcester Polytechnic Institute and the University of Massachusetts system.
This video from 1968 showcases some of the Viet Nam War-era development conducted at Natick such as the LRRP ration and LINCLOE programs.
I’ve heard Natick’s Rich Landry called quite a few things over the years but never “Pack Man.”
A former Pathfinder in the 82nd, Landry actually completed Jumpmaster school as a civilian on jump status at Natick. He’s dedicated his life to supporting the troops and chances are good that if you’ve served over the past 30 years, you’ve used a piece of GI load carriage equipment that Landry has either designed outright or helped develop.
Meet the MOLLE 4000. Developed by Natick Soldier Systems Center to satisfy a requirement for an airborne rucksack for the 82nd Airborne Division, it enters safety certification next month. Lead developer Rich Landry is a Veteran of the 82nd and has been instrumental in work on several airborne items over the years.
To create the MOLLE 4000, Landry combined the short MOLLE frame adopted by the Marine Corps but originally developed for Army paratroopers and created a new 4000 cu in bag for it. He also envisioned a new, removable single point release. This was the critical piece. Until now, you either rigged your pack with the Harness, Single Point Release, which is a separate item, prone to loss after a jump or you carried a pack with sewn-in air items. The latter option results in increased cost per pack and you are stuck lugging around the extra weigh whether you are jumping or not. Additionally, such specialty packs aren’t appropriate for issue to other forces due to that additional cost and weight. Instead, Landry has come up with a hybrid solution which quickly attaches and detaches from the pack. This saves both rigging time and weight, once he gets on the ground, for the paratrooper.
Bob Reinert of the Natick Public Affairs Office wrote a great story on the project. It’s definitely worth a read. www.army.mil/article/141297.
Check out the lasted issue of “NSSC This Week“. It covers SMA Raymond Chandler’s recent visit to Natick Soldier Systems Center.
Many have questioned the US Army’s right to use a recently announced camouflage pattern, so a few weeks ago we decided to put it to bed and asked the Army about it. They offered us a rather curt, but confident, answer. But then DLA began a quest to fund a new printer that didn’t pay commercial printing royalties to Crye Precision for Scorpion. So last week, we ran a story regarding the US Army’s statement that they had “Appropriate rights to use the Operational Camouflage Pattern” and, in the process, exposed a major controversy that had arisen over printing royalties for OCP.
The US Army uses the name Operational Camouflage Pattern to refer to the Scorpion W2 camouflage pattern which is a 2010 modification of the so-called Scorpion pattern originally introduced by Crye Precision in 2001 and patented in 2004. What is at question, is whether or not the Army can use the pattern, royalty-free.
We know that Crye filed for, and was granted, a patent for this camouflage by the US Patent and Trademark Office, Camouflage Pattern Applied to Substrate US D487,848 S, March 30, 2004. We also know that not long after the patent was granted, the Army asked the PTO to insert the following addendum into the patent:
After claim, insert the following:
–Statement as to rights to inventions made under federally sponsored research and development.
The U.S. Government has a paid-up license in this invention and the right in limited circumstances to require the patent owner to license others on reasonable terms as provided for by the terms of contract No. DAAD16-01-C-0061 awarded by the US Army Robert Morris Acquisition Natick Contracting Division of the United States Department of Defense.–
From this, we surmised that the US Army’s assertion of appropriate rights is based on the funding of the Scorpion project via contract (DAAD16-01-C-0061) in September of 2001. This 13 year-old contract has remained the missing piece to this puzzle. Does this contract, in fact, prefer rights to the camouflage to the US Army?