Armament engineers use ultrasound to develop safer, better ordnance

Viral Panchal and Rajen Patel, engineers at the U.S. Army Armament Research, Development and Engineering Center, display the pieces that make up the ultrasound technology for propellants. (U.S. Army photo by Todd Mozes)

By Lauren Poindexter and Ed Lopez, Picatinny Arsenal Public Affairs

PICATINNY ARSENAL, N.J. (Oct. 7, 2015) — Engineers are using ultrasound technology to more easily find defects during the manufacture of ordnance as a way to lower costs, produce more effective ordnance and provide an added measure of safety for Soldiers in the field.

At the U.S. Army Armament Research, Development and Engineering Center, or ARDEC, engineers want to remove the “black box” that surrounds the production of energetic materials. In the context of defense research, “energetics” is a short-hand term for materials such as explosives, propellants and pyrotechnics.

“We have this black box and it’s currently hard to see inside with the technology that is available,” said chemical engineer Viral Panchal.

“Ultrasound gives us the ability to open up the box, leading to more effective research, development and manufacturing,” Panchal added.

ARDEC engineers have been working with Wes Cobb at the University of Denver, who has decades of experience developing ultrasound technology for the food, oil and medical industries.

DARPA’s Warrior Web project may provide super-human enhancements

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s Warrior Web program seeks to create a soft, lightweight under-suit that would help reduce injuries and fatigue and improve Soldiers’ ability to efficiently perform their missions. (DOD photo)

By David McNally, RDECOM Public Affairs

ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. — Dismounted Soldiers carrying full battle gear are pushed to their physical limits. Soldiers often heft 100 pounds or more of essentials. How the Soldier of the future maintains a decisive edge may lie in innovations developed by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, better known as DARPA.

“That load is a critical issue,” said Lt. Col. Joe Hitt, a former Warrior Web program manager. “In Warrior Web, we want to explore approaches which make that kind of load feel, in terms of the effort to carry it, as if its weight has been cut in half. That’s the goal.”

DARPA launched the Warrior Web program in September 2011, seeking to create a soft, lightweight undersuit to help reduce injuries and fatigue while improving mission performance.

“The number one reason for discharge from the military in recent years is musculoskeletal injury,” Hitt said. “Warrior Web is specifically being designed to address the key injuries at the ankle, knee, hip, lower back and shoulders.”

Army researchers have been evaluating prototype devices for DARPA at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland.

Researchers from Harvard University’s Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering spent the past several years developing a biologically inspired smart suit that aims to boost efficiency through a new approach. A series of webbing straps contain a microprocessor and a network of strain sensors.

Spc. Rafael Boza, a Soldier from the 1st Infantry Division, tests the prototype smart suit on a three-mile course of paved roads and rough terrain at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md., Oct. 3, 2014. (U.S. Army photo by Tom Faulkner)

“The suit mimics the action of leg muscles and tendons so a Soldier’s muscles expend less energy,” said Dr. Ignacio Galiana, a robotics engineer working on the project.

Galiana said the team looked to nature for inspiration in developing cables and pulleys that interact with small motors to provide carefully timed assistance without restricting movement.

DARPA selected the U.S. Army Research Laboratory to evaluate several Warrior Web prototypes at the Soldier Performance and Equipment Advanced Research facility, or SPEAR.

America’s Army: Proving Grounds launches on Steam

The free game has more than 920,000 player accounts, created during the beta period, and over 7.7 million hours of play. (U.S. Army illustration)

AMRDEC Public Affairs

REDSTONE ARSENAL, Ala. (Oct. 7, 2015) — The U.S. Army has fully launched the free America’s Army: Proving Grounds game on Steam. The game, which was released in beta in August 2013, had more than 920,000 player accounts created during the beta period and over 7.7 million hours of play.

Players can register their Soldier name for the game at the America’s Army: Proving Ground website and download the game from Steam.

“We received great feedback from our fans during the beta and with the help of our community we greatly improved the AA:PG game and experience,” said Daniel Kolenich, executive producer for America’s Army. “We’ve also been blown away by some of the great creations by our fans who used our AA Mission Editor to recreate some of their favorite maps from the franchise and develop new styles of game play that AA players are already loving.”

America’s Army is developed by the Army Game Studio, which falls under the U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Research, Development and Engineering Center’s Software Engineering Directorate. The Studio operates in support of the Army Marketing and Research Group.

Bringing the best features of the previous versions to a new America’s Army environment, AA: PG stresses small unit tactical maneuvers and training that resembles the current day Army. AA: PG showcases the Army by emphasizing Army values, teamwork, training and completing the objectives through game-play that reflects the Soldier’s Creed.

The future of Army aviation research

Dr. Bill Lewis is the director of the Aviation Development Directorate for the U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Research and Development Center at Redstone Arsenal, Alabama. (U.S. Army photo by Russ Wetzel)

“As we progress to a more expeditionary force, an essential component will be more capable air assets. I can’t envision an expeditionary force that doesn’t include aircraft capable of self deployment and extended range operations,” — Dr. Bill Lewis

Army Technology Magazine interviewed one of the U.S. Army’s leading aviation researchers, Dr. Bill Lewis, asking about the future of Army Aviation.

Q&A with a leading Army aviation engineer

Dr. Bill Lewis is the director of the Aviation Development Directorate for the U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Research and Development Center at Redstone Arsenal, Alabama.

He manages and directs the execution of the Army Aviation Science and Technology portfolio, including basic and applied research, and advanced technology development. A career Army aviator and experimental test pilot, his duties also include serving as the Office of the Secretary of Defense lead for rotorcraft technology, and as director of the National Rotorcraft Technology Center.

Army Technology: What is the focus of Aviation science and technology research?

Lewis: The primary mission of the aviation development group is to formulate the technology advances that we’re going to implement in the future, both for current fleet and future fleet. This includes upgrades of our current fleet, development of new air vehicles, both manned and unmanned, as we progress toward the future of vertical lift.

Army Technology: What are some significant programs in AMRDEC’s current portfolio?

Lewis: Our two most visible programs are the Joint Multi-role and Degraded Visual Environment Mitigation. JMR is the S&T precursor to the Future Vertical Lift program; a family of rotorcraft vehicles.

In the DVE-M program we are developing a new warfighting capability by exploiting adverse environments. Remember, however, that 50 percent of our portfolio supports the current fleet.

Army’s ‘extreme batteries’ research center taps local experts

The U.S. Army Research Laboratory is a leader in electrolyte chemistry used to make high energy dense batteries to develop new ways for U.S. land forces to store energy in an operational environment. (U.S. Army photo by Tom Faulkner)

The U.S. Army Research Laboratory is a leader in electrolyte chemistry used to make high energy dense batteries to develop new ways for U.S. land forces to store energy in an operational environment. (U.S. Army photo by Tom Faulkner)

By Joyce P. Brayboy, U.S. Army Research Laboratory

  • ARL scientists are on a search for advanced battery chemistries.
  • The Army’s Center for Research in Extreme Batteries will host a meeting this spring for experts interested in taking part.

ADELPHI, Md. — The U.S. Army’s Center for Research in Extreme Batteries strengthens bonds between partners who want to solve practical battery problems.

Officials held the inaugural Power and Energy innovation workshop in 2014 to get local experts in batteries and materials talking, for an integrated, cross disciplinary look at challenges that may have solutions beneficial to all.

The workshop kicked off the Center for Research in Extreme Batteries as a regional hub in advancing battery chemistries with the U.S. Army Research Laboratory, or ARL, as the lead, and University of Maryland as the co-lead of the newly forming center.

Dr. Kang Xu, explained to the crowd of more than 100 leading experts from the local universities, government labs and industry that the ground forces reliance on energy in places beyond traditional grid access has led ARL scientists on a search for advanced battery chemistries that are beyond the expertise of government laboratories alone.

An expert in his own right, and best known in the field for his two comprehensive reviews on electrolyte materials, published at Chemical Reviews in 2004 and 2014, respectively, Xu asked the on-looking members of government, university and industry organizations for their help.

“In order for the real advances in energy storage technology to happen, a lot needs to be understood at fundamental levels, and we will have to extend the current expertise. It’s not enough to just have me or our other group members inside ARL. We will have to include a lot of other disciplines and form a team that is strongly associated by complementing expertises,” Xu said.

The concept of the center started with Xu and Dr. Chunsheng Wang, associate professor in the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering within the Clark School of Engineering, University of Maryland, using their complementary experience in electrolytes and electrodes, respectively, to build up to advances in rechargeable batteries over the course of years. They co-authored a number of publications in scientific journals of high-impact numbers, and were funded by Department of Energy.

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Army engineers demonstrate anti-drone technology

 

(U.S. Army illustration)

(U.S. Army illustration)

By Ed Lopez, Picatinny Arsenal Public Affairs

PICATINNY ARSENAL, N.J. (Oct. 5, 2015) — Army engineers, who are seeking to adapt ongoing research to counter aerial systems that could threaten Soldiers, successfully shot down two aircraft as part of their final technology demonstration.

Although the research project began with the objective to counter rockets, artillery and mortars, the project scope was expanded to include threats from unmanned aerial threats, sometime called drones, whose use has expanded rapidly.

“It’s unbelievable how much it’s exploded,” said Manfredi Luciano about the use of drones.

“Every country has them now, whether they are armed or not or what level of performance. This is a huge threat has been coming up on everybody. It has kind of almost sneaked up on people, and it’s almost more important than the counter-RAM threat.”

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Army official: Innovate to win in a complex world; Invest in science, technology to confront future threats

Takeoff and landing are the two most dangerous periods for any aircraft, a danger that is particularly intense for a helicopter caught in a brownout. Army researchers are developing technology solutions to help pilots in Degraded Visual Environments. (U.S. Army photo)

Takeoff and landing are the two most dangerous periods for any aircraft, a danger that is particularly intense for a helicopter caught in a brownout. Army researchers are developing technology solutions to help pilots in Degraded Visual Environments. (U.S. Army photo)

By Heidi Shyu, Assistant Secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Logistics and Technology

Heidi Shyu, Army Acquisition Executive (U.S. Army photo)

Heidi Shyu, Army Acquisition Executive (U.S. Army photo)

In October 2014, the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command rolled out the latest Army Operating Concept, or AOC, entitled “Win in a Complex World.”

It details how the Army of the future will strengthen capabilities across multiple domains as part of a joint partnership to ensure dominance against “determined, elusive, and increasingly capable enemies.”

Simultaneously, it challenges our forces to “conduct expeditionary maneuver through rapid deployment and transition to operations.

The increasing proliferation of technologies to diverse and capable enemies means the Army must be prepared for a wider and more varied threat picture than ever before. This issue of Army AL&T explores ways the Army employs innovative solutions to ensure our continued dominance, including science and technology (S&T) investments valued at approximately $2.5 billion per year. This includes research performed in Army laboratories, individual research projects at universities, the work of university-affiliated research centers and innovations from small and large companies.

The Army funds critical S&T investments not available in commercial products to enable us to develop breakthrough products that will shape the Army of the future.

I will highlight two examples in Army aviation: the Improved Turbine Engine Program, or ITEP, and the Degraded Visual Environment Mitigation, known as DVE-M.

Army to enlist robots to pull Soldiers off battlefield

One day, unmanned vehicles, similar to but larger than this small unmanned ground vehicle, may roll onto battlefields to rescue downed Soldiers, said the commander of the Army Medical Department Center and School. (U.S. Army photo by Stephen Baack)

One day, unmanned vehicles, similar to but larger than this small unmanned ground vehicle, may roll onto battlefields to rescue downed Soldiers, said the commander of the Army Medical Department Center and School. (U.S. Army photo by Stephen Baack)

WASHINGTON (Army News Service, Sept. 22, 2015) — Most Americans have seen at least one war movie, where at some point a fresh-faced young private is hit with some shrapnel. From the ground, he calls out for the unit medic — another young guy, from another small town, whose quick reaction and skill just may save his life.

In the near future, however, it may no longer be another Soldier, who comes running to his side. Instead, it might be an Army-operated unmanned aerial or ground vehicle, said Maj. Gen. Steve Jones, commander of the U.S. Army Medical Department Center and Schooland chief of the Medical Corps.

“We have lost medics throughout the years because they have the courage to go forward and rescue their comrades under fire,” Jones said. “With the newer technology, with the robotic vehicles we are using even today to examine and to detonate IEDs [improvised explosive devices], those same vehicles can go forward and retrieve casualties.

Jones spoke at an Association of the U.S. Army-sponsored medical conference near the Pentagon, Sept. 22.

“We already use robots on the battlefield today to examine IEDs, to detonate them,” he said. “With some minor adaptation, we could take that same technology and use it to extract casualties that are under fire. How many medics have we lost, or other Soldiers, because they have gone in under fire to retrieve a casualty? We can use a robotics device for that.”

Jones said unmanned vehicles used to recover injured Soldiers could be armored to protect those Soldiers on their way home. But the vehicles could do more than just recover Soldiers, he said. With units operating forward, sometimes behind enemy lines, the medical community could use unmanned aerial vehicle systems, or UAVs, to provide support to them.

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American science team visits Nigeria

(From left to right)Lt. Cmdr. US Edom, lab officer, Ministry of Defence Health Implementation Programme; Wing Commander EK Ojemen, pharmacist/logistics, MODHIP; Robert Nelson, U.S. DOD Walter Reed Program-Nigeria; Brig. Gen. NA Hussain, director general, MODHIP; and Army Maj. Brian Hannah, science advisor, Field Assistance in Science and Technology for the U.S. Africa Command. (Courtesy photo)

(From left to right)Lt. Cmdr. US Edom, lab officer, Ministry of Defence Health Implementation Programme; Wing Commander EK Ojemen, pharmacist/logistics, MODHIP; Robert Nelson, U.S. DOD Walter Reed Program-Nigeria; Brig. Gen. NA Hussain, director general, MODHIP; and Army Maj. Brian Hannah, science advisor, Field Assistance in Science and Technology for the U.S. Africa Command. (Courtesy photo)

ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. (Sept. 25, 2015) — A U.S. Army science advisor traveled to Nigeria Sept. 16, 2015, along with a team of U.S. Department of Defense medical officials to evaluate laboratory operations.

Army Maj. Brian Hannah, science advisor from the Field Assistance in Science and Technology for the U.S. Africa Command, said his goal on the trip was to access the Nigerian military’s capacity “to respond to another infectious disease outbreak and develop a comprehensive plan to build capacity.”

Also on the team: Col. Steven Thomas, Deputy Commander Walter Reed Army Institute of Research; Col. Nelson Michael, Director US Military HIV Research Program; Navy Capt. Patrick Blair, executive officer for Naval Medical Research Unit 3; Robbie Nelson, Walter Reed Program-Nigeria Country Director; Lt. Col. Julie Ake, deputy director Military HIV Research Program; Col. Matt Hepburn, program manager Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency; and Lt. Joe Diclaro, technical advisor for the Liberian Institute for Biomedical Research.

(Courtesy photo)

“Our team engaged with our partners from the Nigerian Ministry of Defence Health Implementation Programme and toured the Defence Reference Laboratory (in Abuja), 445 Nigerian Air Force Hospital and Laboratory (in Lagos) and the 68 Nigerian Army Reference Hospital Yaba,” Hannah said.

Hannah said he is developing a recommendation to AFRICOM for a health diplomacy package, which is currently in the draft stage.

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Army designers use 3-D, virtual reality software to train warfighters

U.S. Army Edgewood Chemical Biological Center Military Deputy Col. Debra Daniels tries out the virtual reality head-mounted display. (U.S. Army photo)

U.S. Army Edgewood Chemical Biological Center Military Deputy Col. Debra Daniels tries out the virtual reality head-mounted display. (U.S. Army photo)

ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. (Sept. 23, 2015) — Army researchers at the U.S. Army Edgewood Chemical Biological Center are using 3-D software solutions to supplement more traditional training and simulate real-life scenarios. More experience-driven learning may help students increase the retention of knowledge, official said.

One example of a new training being developed is for the Joint Improvised-Threat Defeat Agency. The training is an interactive program for soldiers learning to use a complex piece of detection equipment called the Husky Mounted Detection System, or HMDS. The kit attaches to the Husky vehicle and has four ground penetrating radar panels. The panels detect metallic and nonmetallic explosive hazards, pressure plates and anti-tank mines.

Joseph L. Williams, a computer scientist and lead software developer for the center’ Conceptual Modeling and Animation Branch, said the customer recognized the need for additional capabilities to supplement the already existing classroom training and technical manuals.

The software serves as a refresher for how to use the equipment out in the field.

“The program provides users with the steps they need to go through to operate the HMDS. It allows users to get practice with each of the different functions, become familiar with the various threat types, and then engage with the interactive training,” Williams said.

The next iteration of the software currently in development will allow the vehicle to be controlled in a 3-D environment by the user.

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New anechoic chamber makes room for larger vehicle tests

A technician preps an antenna for a test in a smaller anechoic chamber. The Radio Frequency Communications division will be able to drive the Army’s largest vehicle with an on-board test platform into the facility and then rotate it 360 degrees under test conditions. (U.S. Army CERDEC Photo)

A technician preps an antenna for a test in a smaller anechoic chamber. The Radio Frequency Communications division will be able to drive the Army’s largest vehicle with an on-board test platform into the facility and then rotate it 360 degrees under test conditions. (U.S. Army CERDEC Photo)

By Ken Goss, CERDEC Public Affairs

ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. (September 11, 2015) — The Army increased its ability to test radio frequencies used by Soldier technologies when it opened one of the largest anechoic chambers on the East Coast Aug. 21.

The Radio-frequency Electro-Magnetic Compatibility and Antenna Test, or REMCAT, laboratory provides additional testing space required for larger and mobile vehicle-mounted projects.

This space allows the U.S. Army Communications-Electronics Research, Development and Engineering Center, or CERDEC, to test vehicles in a wide variety of radio frequency spectrum tests, allowing maximum function while maintaining accurate performance measurement.

John Willison, CERDEC Space and Terrestrial Communications Directoratedirector, and Dr. Mahbub Hoque, S&TCD Radio Frequency Communications Division chief, welcomed distinguished guests from across the APG community during S&TCD’s new facility’s opening.

“There is a critical need for such a chamber and the important capabilities it will provide for CERDEC and the APG community,” Hoque said.

Steve Goodall, chief of the CERDEC S&TCD Antenna Technology & Analysis Branch, answers questions about the new Radio frequency Electro-Magnetic Compatibility and Antenna Test laboratory’s capabilities during the ribbon-cutting ceremony. (U.S. Army Photo by Ken Goss)

“This facility allows us to focus on a system’s functionality in specific frequency ranges, then take test results and predict that it either can maintain signal capability or will lose ‘x-amount’ in the field,” said Frank Bohn, S&TCD Electronic Protection and Interference Mitigation branch chief. “From there, we can provide suggestions to our customers about how to mitigate signal loss, or find a better solution to maintain capability.”

The chamber gives CERDEC directorates the space and flexibility to drive in the largest Army ground vehicle with test platforms aboard, then rotate it 360 degrees, all while remaining under testable conditions.

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Army physicist expands hypervelocity projectiles research in German assignment

Dr. W. Casey Uhlig, a research physicist at the U.S. Army Research Laboratory, measures the magnetic field from a coil used in temperature measurement experiments of an EFP using a magnetic diffusion analysis technique. He participated in the Army’s Engineer and Scientist Exchange Program from August 2014 to June 2015 at the Ernst Mach Institute in Germany. (U.S. Army photo by Conrad Johnson)

Dr. W. Casey Uhlig, a research physicist at the U.S. Army Research Laboratory, measures the magnetic field from a coil used in temperature measurement experiments of an EFP using a magnetic diffusion analysis technique. He participated in the Army’s Engineer and Scientist Exchange Program from August 2014 to June 2015 at the Ernst Mach Institute in Germany. (U.S. Army photo by Conrad Johnson)

By Dan Lafontaine, RDECOM Public Affairs

ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. (Sept. 11, 2015) — A U.S. Army scientist has broadened the understanding of projectiles in the hypervelocity range during his exchange-program research in Germany.

Research physicist Dr. W. Casey Uhlig spent August 2014 to June 2015 at the Ernst Mach Institute through the Army’s Engineer and Scientist Exchange Program. While considering the program, he was interested in using light-gas guns and discovered that EMI had the facilities and expertise to facilitate this research.

A light-gas gun uses helium or hydrogen to help generate hypervelocity speeds, which aid scientists in understanding the behavior of projectiles and hypervelocity impacts. The gun at EMI fires projectiles up to 8,000 meters per second in an indoor facility, Uhlig said.

“One of my projects was being able to detect and characterize very small hypervelocity projectiles. How fast is it going? How big is it? I came up with an electromagnetic method to be able to detect and characterize particles down to half a millimeter in size,” he said.

Uhlig said he will bring the newly developed measurement methods, techniques and procedures back to the United States, where he works at the U.S. Army Research Laboratory. This new knowledge can then be applied to armor research.

ARL is one of seven centers and laboratories that make up the U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command.

One benefit of his German assignment was the opportunity to perform publicly releasable research. His paper submitted to the Journal of Applied Physics is under review, and the International Ballistics Symposium accepted another paper that he will present at a conference.

“Our main goal as physicists working in a foreign entity is to focus on the fundamental physics and see what knowledge we can gain that will be applicable in many areas,” he said. “It was career broadening, and I solidified relationships and connections with the EMI.”

Back in the United States at ARL, Uhlig focuses on new measurement techniques and diagnostics to measure materials under extreme conditions.

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Army research center graduates first armament graduate students

Hats off to the first graduates of the Armament Graduate School at Picatinny Arsenal, New Jersey. The first class of the Armament Graduate School, part of the U.S. Army Armament Research Development and Engineering Center graduates Sept. 10 at Picatinny Arsenal, New Jersey. Joining the students (center left ) Mr. John F. Hedderich III, director of ARDEC and (center right) Maj. Gen. John F. Wharton, Commanding General, U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command. (U.S. Army photo by Erin Usawicz)

Hats off to the first graduates of the Armament Graduate School at Picatinny Arsenal, New Jersey. The first class of the Armament Graduate School, part of the U.S. Army Armament Research Development and Engineering Center graduates Sept. 10 at Picatinny Arsenal, New Jersey. Joining the students (center left ) Mr. John F. Hedderich III, director of ARDEC and (center right) Maj. Gen. John F. Wharton, Commanding General, U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command. (U.S. Army photo by Erin Usawicz)

By Audra Calloway, Picatinny Arsenal Public Affairs

PICATINNY ARSENAL, N.J. (Sept. 10, 2015) — A new chapter in developing and educating world-class armament engineers and scientists took place here Sept. 10th when eight students were recognized during the Armament Graduate School’s first commencement ceremony.

The school is unique: No other graduate school science and engineering curriculum is known to exist specifically to address armaments. Armament Graduate School course titles include esoteric topics such as “Gun-Hardened Electronics and Components,” “Warheads & Fuzing,” and “Lethality Analysis and War Gaming.”

The Armament Graduate School is part of the U.S. Army Armament Research, Development and Engineering Center, or ARDEC at Picatinny, whose mission is to empower, unburden, and protect the Warfighter by providing superior armaments solutions that dominate the battlefield. The center reports to the U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command, or RDECOM.

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Army maximizes efficient fire strikes

Looking at their chest-mounted screens, Soldiers practice accessing the Leader/Soldier Effects Tool Suite during a hands-on demonstration in July on Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, New Jersey. The three Soldiers are assigned to the Experimental Force, Alpha Company, 1st Battalion, 29th Infantry Regiment in Fort Benning, Georgia. (U.S. Army photo by Edric Thompson)

Looking at their chest-mounted screens, Soldiers practice accessing the Leader/Soldier Effects Tool Suite during a hands-on demonstration in July on Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, New Jersey. The three Soldiers are assigned to the Experimental Force, Alpha Company, 1st Battalion, 29th Infantry Regiment at Fort Benning, Georgia. (U.S. Army photo by Edric Thompson)

PICATINNY ARSENAL, N.J. (Sept. 8, 2015) — Crouched on the desert floor, a Soldier watches an enemy vehicle rolling in the distance and gauges its range to her platoon. However, when she’s calculated the distance, rather than radio her platoon leader, the Soldier grabs her phone and relays the information with a software system called the Leader/Soldier Effects Tool Suite.

The tool suite, also known as LETS, is designed to provide the dismounted Soldier the capability to plan, coordinate and execute fires quickly and efficiently.

LETS functions on hand-held devices, such as mobile phones, and vehicle platforms. Its users can share firing details including range assessment, battle damage assessment, weapon emplacement, and control measures.

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Natick researchers: Vacuum microwave drying is key to new, improved rations

Dr. Tom Yang, a food technologist at the Natick Soldier Research, Development and Engineering Center, wants to explore vacuum microwave drying, or VMD, technology to create lightweight, nutritious, and delicious shelf-stable cheese, fruits, vegetables and meats for Soldiers on the move. Yang is pictured here with a variety of foods created by VMD. (U.S. Army photo by David Kamm)

Dr. Tom Yang, a food technologist at the Natick Soldier Research, Development and Engineering Center, wants to explore vacuum microwave drying, or VMD, technology to create lightweight, nutritious, and delicious shelf-stable cheese, fruits, vegetables and meats for Soldiers on the move. Yang is pictured here with a variety of foods created by VMD. (U.S. Army photo by David Kamm)

By Jane Benson, NSRDEC Public Affairs

Researchers at the Natick Soldier Research, Development and Engineering Center hope to acquire a vacuum microwave drying, or VMD, machine to create shelf-stable, nutritious, good-tasting foods that are also lightweight. The drying technology heats foods uniformly through a quick, gentle process. (Courtesy photo by EnWave Corporation)

Researchers at the Natick Soldier Research, Development and Engineering Center hope to acquire a vacuum microwave drying, or VMD, machine to create shelf-stable, nutritious, good-tasting foods that are also lightweight. The drying technology heats foods uniformly through a quick, gentle process. (Courtesy photo by EnWave Corporation)

NATICK, Mass. (Aug. 5, 2015) — Army scientists are looking to vacuum microwave drying, or VMD, technology to create new, quality items for rations that may also reduce the warfighter’s carrying load.

U.S. Army Natick Soldier Research, Development and Engineering Center researchers hope to acquire the pilot scale equipment to develop items that meet the stringent requirements of military rations that must be shelf stable for years in extreme climates with no access to refrigeration.

The rapid drying technology would enable the creation of lightweight, nutritious, inexpensive shelf-stable foods, including cheese, fruits, vegetables and meats. Such items could be incorporated into the following rations: Meal, Cold Weather; Food Packet, Long-Range Patrol; and Meal, Ready-to-Eat.

“Some of the conventional drying methods are not efficient,” said Dr. Tom Yang, a food technologist in NSRDEC’s Combat Feeding Directorate, or CFD.

“For example, sun drying takes a long time and is dependent upon Mother Nature. And it is not very sanitary. Another method is mechanical drying, which involves using a hot oven with hot air to remove moisture. But drying foods at a high temperature can affect quality, taste and texture. It is edible, but it can be hard like a rock. Drying foods can also take away nutrients. The food can shrink and the color can become dark. Not very appetizing.”

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RDECOM wins three safety awards

The U.S. Army Edgewood Chemical Biological Center won the Chief of Staff of the Army Composite Risk Management Award and Army Industrial Operations Safety Award. (U.S. Army photo by Conrad Johnson)

The U.S. Army Edgewood Chemical Biological Center won the Chief of Staff of the Army Composite Risk Management Award and Army Industrial Operations Safety Award. (U.S. Army photo by Conrad Johnson)

By Dan Lafontaine, RDECOM Public Affairs

The U.S. Army Tank Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center won the Army Exceptional Organization Safety Award. (U.S. Army photo by Tom Faulkner)

The U.S. Army Tank Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center won the Army Exceptional Organization Safety Award. (U.S. Army photo by Tom Faulkner)

ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. (Aug. 28, 2015) — The U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command has won three safety awards for fiscal 2014, officials announced. This is the first time that RDECOM has won three Army-level awards in a fiscal year, said Cliff Wendel, RDECOM safety and surety director.

The U.S. Army Edgewood Chemical Biological Center at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland, won two awards. The U.S. Army Tank Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center at Detroit Arsenal, Michigan, earned one award.

Both organizations are part of RDECOM. Maj. Gen. John F. Wharton, commanding general, commended the workforce.

“Army scientists and engineers operate at the leading edge of their fields to develop decisive overmatch capabilities for the Army and the joint warfighter,” Wharton said. “That means our scientists and engineers face some of the Army’s greatest safety hazards outside of combat. That really puts the achievement of the ECBC and TARDEC safety teams in perspective.

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Army chemists explore advanced toxicological research

An ECBC researcher feeds organ tissues being grown in the laboratory. (U.S. Army photo)

An ECBC researcher feeds organ tissues being grown in the laboratory. (U.S. Army photo)

ECBC Public Affairs

Deep inside a U.S. Army Edgewood Chemical Biological Center laboratory in plastic containers there lies a beating heart, a metabolizing liver, a breathing lung, and a filtering kidney — almost. They are actually organoids, miniatures of each organ grown from stem cells for research.

Human on a Chip

Popularly known as the “human-on-a-chip project,” it is a collaboration between ECBC and five research universities to develop a better method than animal testing to research the effects of drugs and chemical warfare agents, or CWAs, on humans.

The cells self-assemble in a functional matrix and mimic the functions of the full-size organ, and the individual cells even work together.

“We first started growing 3-D cells several years ago and quickly discovered that they behave differently than the 2-D versions we used to work with. They self-assemble in a functional matrix and mimic the functions of the full-size organ, and the individual cells even work together,” said Dr. Robert Kristovich, ECBC’s chief molecular toxicologist and member of the project team.

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Army researchers build partnerships through international assignments

Dr. Gordon Videen, a U.S. Army Research Laboratory physicist, participated in the Engineer and Scientist Exchange Program at the Spanish National Institute of Aerospace Technology. (U.S. Army photo by Doug LaFon)

Dr. Gordon Videen, a U.S. Army Research Laboratory physicist, participated in the Engineer and Scientist Exchange Program at the Spanish National Institute of Aerospace Technology. (U.S. Army photo by Doug LaFon)

By Dan Lafontaine, RDECOM Public Affairs

ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. (Aug. 18, 2015) — U.S. Army scientists and engineers combine forces each year with America’s allies to advance the state of military technology.

The Army bolsters its relationship with foreign partners and promotes international research cooperation through the Engineer and Scientist Exchange Program, officials said.

ESEP is a professional-development program that provides career-broadening work assignments for U.S. government employees in foreign defense establishments and vice versa.

Mid-career level Army engineers and scientists in Career Program 16 can apply through ESEP to work with an American ally for a year, with the possibility of an extension. Applicants may arrange for an assignment to one of 17 countries. Nine ESEP participants from the U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command returned to the United States in June 2015 after a year abroad.

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Army technology advisors connect with Soldiers

1st Lt. Timothy Golden U.S. Army paratroopers with 3rd Battalion, 509th Infantry, 4th Brigade Combat Team (Airborne), 25th Infantry Division, assault an objective as part of Talisman Sabre 15 at Shoalwater Training Area, Australia, July 8, 2015.


U.S. Army paratroopers with 3rd Battalion, 509th Infantry, 4th Brigade Combat Team (Airborne), 25th Infantry Division, assault an objective as part of Talisman Sabre 15 at Shoalwater Training Area, Australia, July 8, 2015. (U.S. Army photo by 1st Lt. Timothy Golden)

By Dan Lafontaine, RDECOM Public Affairs 

ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. (Aug. 6, 2015) — As nearly 30,000 U.S. and Australian Service members convened for Talisman Sabre 15, Army officials said the two-week exercise was a prime opportunity to address technological concerns.

U.S. Army science and technology advisors traveled across Australia July 7-20 to discuss issues with operational units during the joint, biennial exercise. 

“Soldiers are happy to talk with you about their equipment,” said Lt. Col. Tom Bentzel, director of the U.S. Army International Technology Center Australia. “We got good feedback about boots, packs, vehicles, logistics supply chain, and command and control issues with communications connectivity and interoperability. 

“Hopefully we’ll be able to turn those into ideas that become research projects or contribute to ongoing projects and bring more relevance to them.”

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Army making base camps more energy efficient to reduce resupply demand

Data collection takes place for CERDEC's Innovative Cooling Equipment program, which aims to reduce the electrical energy required to produce cooling and heating for forward bases as well as Brigade and below environmental requirements, during a demonstration at the Base Camp Integration Lab at Fort Devens, Massachusetts July 7-31, 2015. (U.S. Army photo by Allison Barrow)

Data collection takes place for CERDEC’s Innovative Cooling Equipment program, which aims to reduce the electrical energy required to produce cooling and heating for forward bases as well as Brigade and below environmental requirements, during a demonstration at the Base Camp Integration Lab at Fort Devens, Massachusetts July 7-31, 2015. (U.S. Army photo by Allison Barrow)

By Jeffrey Sisto (NSRDEC) and Allison Barrow (CERDEC)

ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. — When you need to charge a cell phone or turn on the lights, the power is typically there. You most likely don’t have to wonder how you’ll get it or how long you’ll have it. 

But for Soldiers at small base camps in forward operational environments, being able to harness and maintain power is essential for operating effectively. The better they’re able to manage available power and energy, the less they have to rely on resupply convoys to bring more fuel and batteries, driving up costs, taking Soldiers away from other missions, and risking lives in the process.

The Secretary of the Army, the Army Chief of Staff, and the Sergeant Major of the Army made effective energy solutions a top priority, and the Army has a number of initiatives to make base camps more energy efficient by enabling Soldiers to not only maintain power for longer, but to intelligently control power distribution. The aim is to decrease the power draw and more smartly manage the use of available power, limiting the number of resupply convoys needed.

The Army demonstrated a number of these integrated capabilities at the Base Camp Integration Lab at Fort Devens, Massachusetts July 7-31, with the overall goal of reducing fuel, water and waste at small base camps. 

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