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Archive for the ‘Army’ Category

Tennessee Guardsman Are Nation’s Top Tank Crew After Winning Sullivan Cup

Saturday, May 11th, 2024

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Four Soldiers from Ashland City’s Troop B, 1st Squadron, 278th Armored Cavalry Regiment, won first place during the prestigious 2024 Sullivan Cup competition at Fort Moore, Georgia, from April 29 to May 3, 2024.

Held every two years and hosted by the U.S. Army Maneuver Center, the Sullivan Cup puts the best M1 Abrams tank and Bradley crews from across the U.S. Army, U.S. Marine Corps and its foreign allies in a head-to-head competition to test a crew’s maneuver, sustainment and gunnery skills. Each team is put through a series of challenges designed to determine the world’s best crew. This year, the 1st Cavalry Division won for best Bradley crew and the Tennessee National Guard won best tank crew.

“This is an amazing honor, and these Soldiers should be proud of all they have accomplished,” said Maj. Gen. Warner Ross, Tennessee’s adjutant general. “They competed against the best crews in the world and showed everyone Tennessee’s warrior spirit and what it means to be from the Volunteer state.”

This year’s Sullivan Cup included 62 competitors, comprising 58 men and four women, making up three-person Bradley crews and four-person tank crews. International competitors were from Canada, Germany, the Netherlands and Poland. U.S. teams who competed were from the 1st Armored Division, 1st Cavalry Division, 1st Infantry Division, 3rd Infantry Division, 4th Infantry Division, 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment and Tennessee’s 278th Armored Cavalry Regiment.

“If I ever wanted to win anything in my life, this is it right here,” said Staff Sgt. David Riddick, tank commander for the 278th crew. “It means everything to bring this trophy back to Tennessee as we showcased our combat skills and mettle.”

Riddick, along with his crewmembers, Sgt. Joshua Owen, Spc. Noah Eddings, and Spc. Seth Carter, competed in a series of rigorous challenges that tested their gunnery precision, tactical acumen, and cohesion. Through a combination of live-fire exercises, simulated combat scenarios, and tactical drills, they were tested in a variety of scenarios that replicated real-world battlefield conditions.

“The pressure was real,” said Riddick. “We knew we were competing against the best, so we had to give it everything we had because everybody else was too.”

By the end of the multi-day competition, the 278th crew defeated 10 other teams, six from active-duty Army units and four from allied nations.

“Winning was evidence of our team’s hard work and resilience,” said Riddick. “The competition challenged us to dig deep down in ourselves while trusting our teammates to be their best. And they excelled at it.”

By LTC Darrin Haas

DEVCOM Soldier Center’s Hydration Flow Meter Helps Prevent Dehydration in Soldiers

Friday, May 10th, 2024

NATICK, Mass. — Researchers at the U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command Soldier Center, or DEVCOM SC, have invented a personal flow meter to measure water consumption. The invention, which has been licensed to an industry partner, will serve to help prevent dehydration in the nation’s warfighters. Preventing dehydration is important since it can impact Soldier health and performance. Monitoring and understanding hydration status of warfighters can help prevent heat exhaustion and heat stroke.

DEVCOM SC engineers Michael Wiederoder, Ph.D. (project lead), Eric Brack (project lead), Matt Hurley and Andrew Connors invented the device to specifically meet the needs of the nation’s Soldiers. Existing products didn’t provide the level of accuracy needed by warfighters, and some products require large batteries, which are impractical for Soldiers on the move.

“The flow meter is a handheld device with an inlet and outlet that connects to tubing that is currently used by Soldiers to drink from a hydration bladder they carry in their backpacks,” said Wiederoder. “Inside the device there is a water-wheel-like piece with fins that rotates as water passes through. There are magnets on the wheel that can either generate electricity or pass by a sensor that can correlate the volume of water consumed with the number of rotations by the wheel.”

Wiederoder explained that the flow meter tracks water consumption. The flow meter also helps Soldiers know when the filter needs to be changed, which is important because Soldiers often need to drink water that is available to them in their environment, making proper filtering essential.

“It can measure the amount of water that is consumed by an individual warfighter,” said Wiederoder. “It can also measure how much water is being added to the hydration bladder. The second part is relevant because the hydration bladder may contain a chemical filter that can only treat a certain volume of water. So, a flow meter can help warfighters understand when they need to change filters to ensure their water is safe to drink when they source it from the indigenous environment to reduce logistical burden.”

DEVCOM SC’s Bootstrap Initiative played a role in the development of the flow meter. The Bootstrap Initiative encourages innovation and provides employees the opportunity to come up with ingenious, cost-effective solutions to challenges facing the warfighter, while streamlining processes and minimizing bureaucracy. Through the Bootstrap program, DEVCOM SC’s civilian employees may submit proposals for a new technology, research project, business process, or administrative process that supports the Soldier Center’s science and technology mission.

Douglas Tamilio, director of DEVCOM SC, stated that the Bootstrap program is part of the organization’s dedication to finding cutting-edge solutions to best serve the warfighter.

“The innovative efforts of our world-class scientists and engineers enable us to work to overcome the challenges facing warfighters — all while optimizing their performance and increasing their lethality,” said Tamilio. “The development of a personal flow meter to measure water consumption, made possible by our Bootstrap program, is just one example of ongoing efforts to accelerate the process of getting the latest and best technologies into the hands of our warfighters.”

Wiederoder noted that the Bootstrap Initiative gave the team the boost their idea needed.

“The Bootstrap program allowed the team to turn an idea to solve a known problem into a physical device without waiting for the conventional proposal cycle,” said Wiederoder. “We had the right people, expertise, and equipment already at SC, we just needed Bootstrap funding to get started.”

The DEVCOM SC team used some of the Bootstrap funding to 3D print multiple iterations of two different flow meter designs and test their performance. The result is a compact, accurate device that can be manufactured with low-cost components, and since it is self-powered it can be used without the need for batteries.

The team then used test performance data generated to support filing of a patent application for the flow meter, with the patent being issued in 2022. DEVCOM SC signed a patent license agreement with HydroSmart, LLC, in early 2024. HydroSmart is an Ohio-based company that develops fluid consumption and hydration monitoring and management solutions for consumer, healthcare and military markets. DEVCOM SC’s patent license agreement with HydroSmart is an important next step in turning the prototype into something that is readily available to the warfighter.

“This partnership enables HydroSmart to leverage DEVCOM SC’s cutting-edge research and innovative patent to develop our emerging portfolio of products for monitoring and management of personal water consumption for the commercial sports and personal fitness markets,” said Matt Annen, HydroSmart’s chief executive officer. “Additionally, through ongoing collaboration with the Soldier Center’s expertise, HydroSmart is committed to developing an in-line solution for existing hydration bladders utilized by the Army. This collaboration supports our mission to deliver superior hydration monitoring systems which profoundly impact Soldier and citizen health and wellness. HydroSmart commercialization is also supported by the State of Ohio’s Technology Validation and Startup Fund, which has provided a grant to the company to prototype the commercial product.”

Wiederoder said that the patent license agreement will facilitate turning DEVCOM SC’s prototype into a “rugged, portable, food-safe device with integrated electronics.” He noted that the license will enable the technology to mature to the point “where it could be integrated into a user demonstration or field test to generate data needed for transition and potential acquisition by the Department of Defense.”

The technology also has potential to eventually benefit the general public, becoming a useful tool for athletes or anyone participating in physical activity. There is also the potential for other military and medical applications.

Wiederoder and the team are proud of the progression of their invention, and they are committed to serving the warfighter.

“It feels great to know that something you work on as a public servant could improve the lives of the warfighters,” said Wiederoder. “Especially preventing something as potentially tragic as dying from heat stroke due to dehydration. I think it’s really the dream of any researcher at the Soldier Center that the projects they put so much time and thought into end up helping the warfighters who sacrifice so much for our country.”

By Jane Benson, DEVCOM Soldier Center Public Affairs

Autonomous Multi-domain Launcher Meets Another Program Milestone

Saturday, May 4th, 2024

REDSTONE ARSENAL, Ala. — Mission success.

Another pivotal stride was made by the Autonomous Multi-domain Launcher as the combined team of the U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command Aviation & Missile Center and the Ground Vehicle Systems Center conducted a successful live fire of a Reduced Range Practice Rocket fired from the AML at Yuma Proving Ground, Arizona.

“The team has worked diligently over the past four years to achieve this milestone of a long-range missile launch from a fully robotic platform,” said Lucas Hunter, AML project manager for DEVCOM AvMC.

AML is an initiative to develop and demonstrate an autonomous, unmanned, highly mobile, C-130 transportable launcher. The prototype launcher will be capable of convoy operations, autonomous way point navigation, tele-operation and remote launcher turret and fire control operation. It will also launch longer munitions while remaining compatible with the current munitions.

One of the primary goals of AML is providing fires forces with additional launcher platforms to mass fire with minimal impact on force structure manning. AML will also give the Army a three-times increase in fire power and magazine depth.

During its time at YPG, the AML launched three RRPRs in a successive ripple fire mission. In all, six RRPRs were successfully fired from the AML in a demonstration of the launcher’s ability to maneuver under supervised autonomy from a hide location to a firing point, turn to an assigned heading and execute fire control commands from a remote gunner position.

Over the past week leading up to the initial live fire, the AML successfully demonstrated each of its mobility modes: tele-op, waypoint navigation and convoy operations.

Soldiers from the Tennessee Army National Guard 1-181st Field Artillery Regiment were also on hand to train on and operate the AML.

The team was pleased with the outcome, Hunter said, noting that the AML program proves the level of expertise contained within the DEVCOM formation and its ability to combine efforts across centers to address the needs of the Army’s Warfighters.

“The AML team leveraged three major Army S&T investments, the Palletized Field Artillery Launcher, Autonomous Transport Vehicle System and Secure Tactical Advanced Mobile Power to rapidly and economically develop the AML prototype,” Hunter said.

AML’s success at YPG paves the road to its next test at Valiant Shield 24, a bi-annual, joint service field-training exercise to be held in summer 2024.

By Katie Davis Skelley, DEVCOM Aviation & Missile Center Public Affairs

Ghosts In The Machine 2

Friday, May 3rd, 2024

Electronic Warfare Planning and Management Tool (EWPMT) Contract Cancellation

Thursday, May 2nd, 2024

ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, MD – The U.S. Army recently announced the cancellation of the Electronic Warfare Planning and Management Tool (EWPMT) task order competition under the RS3 Enterprise contract. The decision was prompted by evolving requirements and a strategic realignment within the program.

As part of this realignment moving forward, the U.S. Army continues to prioritize its service specific EWPMT fielding of current capability and will also focus on EWPMT software architecture modernization. Program Executive Office – Intelligence, Electronic Warfare, and Sensors (PEO IEW&S) is working on a pilot as part of the architecture modernization in collaboration with the United States Marine Corps (USMC), shifting EWPMT’s electromagnetic warfare and spectrum management capabilities to the Tactical Assault Kit (TAK) framework. This effort is being led by the Electronic Warfare Integration (EWI) product management office.

TAK-X is a framework on which applications for presenting situational awareness data and geospatial visualizations can be built. Transition to the TAK framework is consistent with ongoing efforts to deliver capability at speed by leveraging common technologies across the Services with a similar user experience. The TAK user community collaborates across the EW user space and presents opportunities for technology advancement and integration across the U.S. Army, Marine Corps, Air Force, Special Operations Command, and the Joint Communities of Interest.

This strategic move aims to ensure that EWPMT is a relevant capability at the forefront of emerging operational requirements. The results of the U.S. Army-USMC collaboration on the TAK-X foundation will provide for microservice-based, modular software architecture satisfying Joint and individual Service requirements. It will enable agile development, integration, and ability to rapidly adjust to evolving operational requirements.

The initial releases of the modernized architecture, EWPMT-X, will be piloted and demonstrated over the next year to gain EW operator feedback. If the pilot effort proves successful, EWPMT-X will replace the current version of EWPMT in Fiscal Year 2026, ushering in a new era of Joint electronic warfare and spectrum management capabilities.

The U.S. Army program office is assessing future contract efforts based on operational and support requirements. Updates on future contract opportunities will be released via and PEO IEW&S – hosted Acquisition Lead Time (ALT) Industry events.

Landmine Detection and Neutralization: Breaching Ain’t Easy

Wednesday, May 1st, 2024

Landmines have been used in warzones for decades. They are placed strategically in the pathway, both surface-laid and underground to explode and deter passage to an area. In those decades various methods have been used to detect and defuse them yet each year thousands of people are killed by mines.

The U.S. Army is exploring methods to detect and neutralize these hazards at standoff creating a passable vehicle wide lane while reducing risk to the breaching force.

Amit Makhijani with the office of Project Manager Close Combat Systems explained “We are doing dynamic live fire testing on one potential concept as part of the Technology Maturation and Risk Reduction efforts.”

That concept is the GOBLN short for Ground Obstacle Breaching Lane Neutralizer. It allows remote detection and neutralization— meaning the warfighter would not be at risk.

The concept is comprised of three main components. A mortar-based launcher system integrated on a vehicle platform, a small unmanned aerial system hosted detection system, and a neutralizing munition.

For this dynamic neutralization test at Yuma Test Center (YTC) the team focused on the neutralization aspect.

“What we are looking at is not what the gun is doing, it is what is it doing on the other end. What are the effects on the mines we are shooting at,” explained YTC Test Officer Brett Bowman.

YTC provided a wide area laid out with six lanes of high explosive mines with inert fuzes comprised of both US M-15 and foreign TM-62M. The team placed the mines strategically atop a tarp to track how the mortar shrapnel hit each mine and the surrounding area.

“When we go out an assess, we mark each target, so when we fire on them again, we know which ones it hit on the first time and we will know the difference between the first time and the second,” explained GOBLN Test Lead Raj Nattanmai with the U.S. Army’s DEVCOM Armaments Center (AC).

Bowman adds, “We are getting the observer data to know where they impacted, then after each sequence we go out and do inspections to see the damage on targets and access how we did.”

This allows the DEVCOM AC personnel to better model the down range effects with real world shot data and adjust the launcher as needed.

In this proof-of-concept phase, the team is looking for specific criteria.

Nattanmai described, “We want the shrapnel to come in and pierce the mines so that it damages either the fuse or sets it off. The other possibility is that it creates a reaction and causes it to burn.”

Nattanmai showed the team a TM 62 mine that was completely burned and explained, “That one didn’t blow up, it burned. It set on fire and charred up basically. That’s the ideal neutralization. That’s what we want all the targets to do.”

Bowman came up with the placement of the mines to provide efficient testing in between mandatory safety wait times.

“They were originally going to have one mine lane, we shoot, go out inspect, and come back. We can’t do that because of the wait times. So, what I did was set this one up so we can have multiple mine lanes, fire multiple engagements at a time, then that way we can go out and inspect them after the certain amount of wait times.”

This method shorted the firing window to three weeks versus a month and a half. When all was said and done the team fired more than 250 mortars at targets.

The GOBLN is one of the many solutions the Army is testing to see which the most effective solutions are to meet modern threats.

Army Futures Command Capabilities Developer Shawn Anders remarks, “In the concept of the future, we are not talking about what we can do today. What we are trying to do, the next 10 years, 20 years down the road and have that forecast. So today is just our baseline of multiple systems, for consideration for the future. And like Maj. Thomas Fite said, ‘Breaching Ain’t Easy.’”

By Ana Henderson

Arctic Mobility Sustainment System Tested at Army’s Cold Regions Test Center

Monday, April 29th, 2024

FORT GREELY, Alaska — Deployed Soldiers are constantly loaded down with gear, but nowhere more so than when operating in a cold weather environment.

In addition to their conventional weapons, Soldiers need to utilize heavy equipment like space heaters, cooking stoves, fuel and heavy-duty thermal tents to survive operations in the Arctic.

Candidates to serve as the Army’s Arctic Mobility Sustainment System underwent rigorous testing at U.S. Army Cold Regions Test Center, or CRTC, this winter with the help of Soldiers from the Army’s 11th Airborne stationed at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Washington.

“When they go out in zone seven operations, this is the new stuff they will be pulling out there with them to set up shelters,” said Danielle Schmidt, assistant test officer. “We went through a lot of changes since the test started up here all based on learning what works and what doesn’t in the cold.”

The system selected as a result of this testing will eventually replace the legacy Ahkio sled and 10-person tent the Army currently uses. Testers expected and coveted extreme cold for the multi-week test, with the interior Alaska winter delivered more than they expected.

“The whole time the test was going it didn’t get above minus 20 Fahrenheit,” said Isaac Howell, senior test officer. “It was good test conditions for what we were doing, but it was difficult on the Soldiers. Sustained movement in the Arctic day in and day out at those temperatures is not easy.”

On a typical day Soldiers would pack the Arctic Mobility Sustainment System sled under test with the tent, a heater and their basic standard issue items for Arctic infantry operations. The Soldiers would then pull the sleds in either nine-Soldier squads or four to five Soldier teams with CRTC’s test personnel led the way. Moving the heavy sleds across CRTC’s hilly tundra and thickly forested areas is challenging in any conditions, but particularly so in the extreme cold and deep snow of winter.

“Our snow is so dry and powdery,” said Howell. “You don’t stand on it at all, whether you are in skis or snowshoes — you don’t go across the top of it, you go through it. You are plowing snow the entire day regardless of whether you are wearing snowshoes or not.”

After a two-and-a-half-hour movement, testers kept track of how long it took the Soldiers to emplace and erect each tent and get the space heaters operating. Following a cold weather Meal Ready to Eat for lunch, the Soldiers disassembled the tent and heater and returned to their day’s starting point following a different route. Following a survey and hot meal, the Soldiers reassembled the tents and heaters and prepared to sleep in the long, cold Arctic nights, which sometimes approached minus 50 degrees Fahrenheit.

“The Soldiers were instrumented for safety purposes to make sure they didn’t get too cold or hypothermic,” said Schmidt. “If they did get too cold, they could pull themselves. We had noxious gas sensors in the tents where the heaters were operating as another safety precaution.”

Despite the hardships, the participating Soldiers gave high marks to CRTC’s test crew.

“It was pretty cool being able to experience that and see what all the new equipment is like,” said Pvt. 1st Class Tyler Worrell.

By Mark Schauer

10th Mountain Division Sustainment Brigade Hosts Innovative Technology Symposium

Saturday, April 27th, 2024

FORT DRUM, N.Y. — The 10th Mountain Division Sustainment Brigade hosted the Innovative Technology Symposium on April 15, 2024 to discuss how the Army is augmenting warfighting capabilities with emerging technologies.

“The intent of this symposium is essentially for us to bring in some of the new technology to Fort Drum and highlight how we can work with different agency partners to get this into the hands of our Soldiers,” said Chief Warrant Officer 2 Edilma Cruz, 10th Mountain Division Sustainment Bridge strategic mobility officer.

Representatives from U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command’s Army Research Lab and the Civil-Military Innovation Institute briefed attendees on technological developments through the Pathfinder and Accelerating FORCE programs.

“The Pathfinder program’s primary mission is to collect whole problem sets from Soldiers at the tactical level,” said Cody Clevenger, Pathfinder program manager. “And we either pair them with academia — from one of our partner schools we work with — if that level of research is needed to execute a solution, or the other way is with our DIRT labs.”

Clevenger briefed three Design, Innovation, Research and Technology, or DIRT, projects funded by the Army Research Lab, including an updated design for the M-80TR anti-personnel landmine used for training.

He said a 2nd Brigade Combat Team Soldier contributed feedback on the assistant gunner bag and the limited options for attaching it to the rucksack. From this, a prototype was developed to improve operational functionality and optimize weight distribution.

“We want to have Soldiers involved throughout the development of a solution,” Clevenger said. “Soldiers love to talk about the problems they have in the field, and we’re trying to give them an avenue where they can do that directly with us.”

The 10th Mountain Division will have their own problem-solving capabilities when the Mountain Innovation Systems Integration Lab becomes operational at Fort Drum by late summer.

Maj. Michael Fitzgerald, 10th Mountain Division (LI) G-3 knowledge management officer, said the innovation lab is a facility where any Soldier can bring creative ideas to solve problems they encounter through training or on deployments, and they will receive engineering support and guidance.

“Soldiers will have access to equipment such as laser cutters and 3D printers, all at no cost to them because the lab is funded and manned by the Civil-Military Innovation Institute,” he said. “Our partnership with CMI2 will allow us to receive engineering support and collaboration with outside agencies for technologies.”

Fitzgerald said an initial focus will be on projects to further the division’s alpine planning efforts.

“But the sky’s the limit on what problems we can solve, and we encourage everyone here to spread the word on what a great opportunity and resource this will be for Soldiers,” he said.

Recently, 10th Mountain Division Soldiers trained on the TRV-150 Tactical Resupply Vehicle and field-tested the drone during the Mountain Peak exercise on post.

The TRV-150 can travel up to 60 miles per hour and can transport up to 150 pounds of cargo, moving in areas that may be inaccessible or too dangerous for vehicles or personnel to conduct resupply missions.

First Lt. Robert Willet, support operations transportation officer with 10th Brigade Support Battalion, 1st Brigade Combat Team, provided feedback as one of the TRV-150 operators. He said seven resupply missions were conducted over four days and they experimented with different payloads to test the drone’s capabilities.

“When used correctly, it’s the fastest method of resupply inside of its radius,” Willet said. “It also had the lowest threat to Soldiers than any other resupply method.”

Willet also noted they experienced high-wind conditions that prevented them from flying one day.

“The TRV-150 is close to getting into Soldiers’ hands, but there is additional experimentation that DEVCOM is making to meet the Army’s intent,” Cruz said.

A Civil-Military Innovation Institute team will further examine the TRV-150 in action when 1st Brigade Combat Team conducts a Joint Readiness Training Center rotation at Fort Johnson, Louisiana, in May.

“They will be there the whole time collecting data,” said Dennis Day, Army Research Lab’s Accelerating FORCE deputy program manager. ‘And it’s not just system data, but [tactics, techniques and procedures] and [concepts of operations] that go beyond the ones and zeroes.”

Day said experimenting with emerging technologies in realistic training environments helps to identify problems and improves the final product.

“What we can do is provide a capability,” he said. “But if the Soldier is experimenting with it, providing us feedback, then we can enhance it and get the best product to the Soldier as fast as possible.”

By Mike Strasser, Fort Drum Garrison Public Affairs