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Posts Tagged ‘Natick Soldier Systems Center’

Attempted Infiltration at Natick

Wednesday, February 15th, 2012

Yesterday, five men attempted to gain entry to Natick Soldiers System Center using fake ID cards. All five men were in their early 20s and were probably attempting to gain access in order to commit criminal activity. However, due to the sensitive nature of research at Natick officials aren’t taking any chances.

According to a WCVB TV report, “If you don’t have like a security sticker or military ID, your car is searched, and one of the things they didn’t have was the proper ID. They noticed a couple of them were fake,” said Natick Labs spokesman John Harlow.

The perpetrators were arrested after being found with fake IDs, 40 counterfeit credit cards and stolen electronics that included nine laptops, two iPods, a Playstation game and alarm clocks.

The best part is the defense attorney’s assertion that the men weren’t up to anything nefarious. Oh no, they were in the area for a party. Even better was the excuse of one of the accused. He claimed to be a member of the Guard and was trying to gain entry to purchase uniform items. Classic.

US Army Seeking Individual Water Purification Systems

Saturday, February 11th, 2012

Natick is conducting a market survey for US Army PEO Soldier’s Product Manager-Soldier Clothing and Individual Equipment domestic products, suppliers and manufacturers of individual water treatment/purification systems. Additionally, industry should expect a solicitation to purchase such technologies in the next 60-120 days.

Their interest runs the whole gamut of purification systems from standard bacterial and viral removal to dealing with turbidity and industrial waste. Additionally, they’d like info on systems that are designed for salt and brackish water.

Specifically, they are seeking info on systems with these attributes:

“The U.S. Army is interested in identifying firms with products, technologies, and capabilities to provide a man-packable, water treatment/purification system for Individual Soldier use in purifying water (for drinking) from indigenous fresh water sources in basic, hot and cold environments. The system shall be compatible with current and future organizational clothing and equipment such as the MOLLE Hydration System, standard military canteen, and/or both.

Purification systems sought must be lightweight (not to exceed 1lb. dry), easy to use/clean/maintain, low bulk/compact, capable of producing microbiologically purified water in its operational life with/without purification element replacement and meeting the volume capacities of Soldier hydration needs (135 liters). It shall have an unused service life of 180 days and should include an indicator of service life status; it shall be storage stable for 5 years and be environmentally-safe during use and subsequent disposal. It shall have the capability to resist freezing or withstand freezing without damage. Freeze/Thaw cycle testing should be conducted according to MIL-STD-810 (Method 524), “Department of Defense Test Method Standard for Environmental Engineering Considerations and Laboratory Tests”. The device shall remove or resist growth and build-up of mold, mildew and bio-films. It shall be durable to a 6 foot drop and 300 pound load(static and dynamic).

The device must be capable of disinfecting and/or removing microbiological contaminants to levels mandated by the HQDA Technical Bulletin, Medical 577 (TB MED 577). Pathogen reduction capabilities must be documented through laboratory testing to the NSF International P248 Protocol for “Emergency Military Operations Microbiological Water Purifiers” (bacterial removal to 6-log, viral removal to 4-log, and protozoan cyst removal to 3-log) or better with all test plans, data, and test reports validated by the U.S. Army Public Health Command (USAPHC). The water purification time must be 20 minutes or less (objective less than 15 minutes) with a flow rate of not less than 200 mL/min. Batteries, if used, must be a commercially-available type and of weight and bulk compatible with the overall device requirements for weight and bulk.

Consideration will also be given to removal of toxic industrial chemicals/materials to US Army short-term potability standards (TB Med 577) from fresh water sources, removal of chemical/biological warfare agents (desired), and reducing turbidity (less than 1 NTU). Processed water shall be palatable with taste/flavor as in commercial bottled spring or municipal waters. Additional consideration will be given to devices capable of desalination and purification from seawater and brackish water sources.”

If you’ve got a system, you’ve got until 9 March to let the Government know. Actual requirements for solicitations are often derived from the information received through these RFIs so it’s important to participate in the process.

BAE Systems Celebrates the 15 Millionth MOLLE Component

Tuesday, November 1st, 2011

Yesterday, tt a ceremony in their factory in McKee, Kentucky, BAE Systems celebrated the production of their 15 Millionth MOLLE component. In fact, about 10 million of those components originated at that very facility. It’s hard to believe but MOLLE itself is almost 15 years old. Developed in 1997 in conjunction with the US Army’s Natick Soldier Systems Center, MOdular Lightweight Load carrying Equipment or MOLLE is a system of individual load carrying components used primarily by the US Army. The heart of the system is the Pouch Attachment Ladder System (PALS) standard that allows the equipment to be tailored to the mission by configuring various vests, packs and armor carriers or “platforms”, as they are known, with specialized pockets and pouches to carry equipment. The beauty of MOLLE is that it is spirally developed. As new technologies and weapons are fielded, MOLLE can adapt by adding or dropping pouches and platforms. Not only has this happened several times over the life of the program but it has been fielded in no-less-than four camouflage patterns: Woodland, 3-Color Desert, UCP, and OCP. Associated systems such as the USMC’s ILBE, USAF DF-LCS, and SOCOM’s SOF-LCS as well as individual components have been produced in even more styles and colorways, but have all relied on PALS.

The original MOLLE Core Rifleman set incorporated a rucksack, load bearing vest, and pouches and included the so-called “probe and socket,” a quick-release between the pack frame and waist belt that might have been a little ahead of its time. The currently issued system includes a one-size-fits-all load bearing vest, Pack with and a fixed waist belt and a Tactical Assault Panel (TAP).

On hand at the event was Don Dutton, Vice President of BAE Systems’ Protection Systems. He related, “The MOLLE system provides users with a completely customizable set of equipment which allows for readiness, mobility and efficiency of the warfighter, reaching a milestone such as the production of 15 million components, is an exceptional achievement for BAE Systems and its employees to achieve. Our employees come to work each day knowing that the work they do, is helping our warfighters overseas.”

Also attending the celebration were Representative Marie Rader (R-Kentucky), U.S. Congressman, Harold Rogers (R-Kentucky), Major General Ed Tonini, The Adjutant General for the Kentucky National Guard and Sergeant Major Charles Williams of PM Soldier Protection & Individual Equipment.

“Job well done to the fine BAE Systems employees hard at work in Jackson County. This is a remarkable achievement,” said Congressman Hal Rogers. “Not only are these McKee sewing technicians making our region proud through exceptional craftsmanship, but they’re helping our warfighters stay well equipped and battle-ready with light-weight, adjustable gear. This work not only creates good paying jobs in southern and eastern Kentucky, but builds the security of our nation.”

Outfitting Soldiers Head to Toe

Thursday, October 13th, 2011

Here’s a good article on what the folks at Natick do for the American Soldier.

Photo: Bob Reinart – US Army

Vuzix Delivers Sunlight Readable See-Through HMD Systems to the Army

Monday, October 10th, 2011

When the big, heavy, cable-laden Nett Warrior went away it took the Helmet Mounted Display along with it. But, with technologies like this new Sunlight Readable See-Through HMD from Vuzix they may remain an option in the future. Vuzix just delivered two different sets of the technology to the Army’s Natick Soldier RD&E Center (NSRDEC). Unlike previously used HMDs these are see-through. The monocular design clips on to ballistic glasses or helmets and are compatible with any device featuring a VGA or composite video out capability. They use a Liquid Crystal light shutter as a means to control the level of translucency.

According to a press release from Vuzix:

Each of Vuzix’ waveguide and quantum beamsplitter optical systems delivered to NSRDEC demonstrate various performance characteristics. The first design affords a smaller form factor, and the second, a super high brightness system achieving a display screen outputting 2400 nits for use in direct sunlight.

Soldier Systems SBIRs

Tuesday, August 2nd, 2011

The Army’s latest round of Small Business Innovative Research topics includes several from Natick Soldier Systems Center and PEO Soldier.

Natick Soldier RD&E Center

A11-126 Energy Reducing, Ruggedized, Solar Lighting System

A11-127 First Generation of Controlled-Release Bacteriocins/Anti-Microbials

A11-128 Lightweight Material for Full-Scale Parachutes

A11-129 Methodologies and Algorithms for Ground Soldier Load and Route Selection Decision Applications

A11-130 High-Efficiency Energy-Harvesting Battery Charger/Storage Unit

PEO Soldier

A11-134 Nanostructured High Performance, High Angle of Incidence Anti-Reflection Coatings

A11-135 Thermally Responsive Fibers for Environmentally Adaptive Textiles

Officially, the SBIR program:

The goal of the dual-use SBIR program is to tap into the innovativeness and creativity of the small business community to help meet government R&D objectives. At the same time, these small companies develop technologies, products, and services which they can then commercialize through sales in the private sector or back to the government.

SBIRs are a great, low-cost way for the Army to rapidly investigate technology development in industry. Broken up into phases, success is awarded with funding for further development. Several years ago, SOCOM’s Modular Glove System was developed by Outdoor Research through a SBIR.

This year’s solicitation is in pre-release with the solicitation opening on 29 August, 2011 and closing 28 September, 2011. Visit for additional information as well as full submission instructions.

Army Updating Anthropometric Data

Tuesday, September 28th, 2010

Officially known as the U.S. Army Anthropometric Models to Optimize the Human Systems Interface (ANSUR II), the Army is taking steps to update its Anthropometric Data. First off, we need to explain the term “Anthropometric Data”. Anthropometry is the study of physical dimensions in people, including the measurement of human body characteristics such as heights, breadths, girths, and reaches. In all, Natick’s ANSUR II program will measure 13,000 Soldiers to determine this information and update its models of human sizing.

The data currently used by the Army to size clothing and individual equipment as well as in workstation such as cockpit design is from 1988 and it’s about time it was updated. Nowadays, the Total Army force includes not only Active Duty but also Guard and Reserve troops, not to mention that the American is larger than 20-odd years ago. Consequently, current sizing tariffs are incorrect causing the Army to experience shortages of select sizes of CIE. Size tariffs are predictive tables that guide the Army when they purchase, stock and issue clothing and other sized equipment. For example, for every 1000 Soldiers, a size tariff might tell a Program Manager to purchase 5 X-Small Short trousers, 5 X-Small Reg, 3 X-Small Long, etc. until each size had been specified. The information is based on the anthropometric data of the force and is critical to procuring the correct amount of gear in the proper sizes.

One of the biggest changes to how the information will be collected and used is that it is now 3D in nature. In addition to the 95 traditional body measurements taken, 3D whole body, head/face and foot scans will be collected. When data on an entire body is collected, it can be correlated in new ways to further show how the entire body is shaped and how clothing and equipment interact with a Soldier’s body. This improved shape data will result in improved designs for body armor and other close fitting protective equipment such as headgear, footwear, and handwear.

For more information visit