Commentary: Future Lethality

Director's Corner: Dale A. Ormond, U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command

Commentary by Dale A. Ormond
Director, U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command

The Army of the future will have fewer Soldiers but will be more lethal. Technology will make that possible, and our scientists and engineers are – and have been – redefining the art of the possible to make this enabling technology a reality.

The Soldier and squad are the foundation of the Army. Our strategy is to build from the Soldier out, equipping our squads for tactical overmatch in all situations. They will connect to an integrated network to give them greater awareness and increased speed for decision-making beyond their adversaries, and they will operate in vehicles that make them more mobile, more lethal, and at the same time, better protected.

The U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command is bringing solutions to these challenge at every point. From aviation to ground vehicles, our researchers and engineers at Redstone Arsenal, Ala., and Detroit Arsenal, Mich., are developing and testing the best technologies to make ground and air vehicles more protective of our Soldiers while providing increased efficiency, affordability and lethality.

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Questions and Answers with with Brig. Gen. L. Neil Thurgood

Brig. Gen. L. Neil Thurgood, PEO Missiles and Space

ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. (Sept. 2, 2014) — Brig. Gen. L. Neil Thurgood, Program Executive Officer for Missiles and Space at Redstone Arsenal, Ala., gave an exclusive interview to Army Technology Magazine on the future of lethality.

What is the rationale for increasing firepower and lethality?

The U.S. Army is undergoing a transformation. After a decade of war, Soldiers and equipment are returning to an environment of declining budgets, drawdowns and a shift in operational focus. The Army is facing difficult decisions regarding force structure and modernization divestment. Unfortunately, the threat continues to increase in complexity as we reset, modernize and transform. These challenges are addressed by the Chief of Staff of the Army’s Force 2025 initiative. Force 2025 will prioritize those technologies that support a leaner, more expeditionary force that exceeds current capabilities, allowing for increased firepower and lethality. In this fiscally constrained environment, modernization decisions will be balanced with technology investments to ensure readiness through the transformation.

How do you see technology empowering Soldiers with greater lethality in the future?

PEO Missiles and Space develops, produces, fields and supports U.S. Army, Joint and Coalition missile systems for air and missile defense, direct and indirect fires and aviation platforms. Several of the weapon systems that we manage include Patriot, Javelin, TOW and Hellfire. There is no doubt that the technologies of our missile platforms will be improved through the development efforts of tomorrow. There are several key areas of critical technology development that will empower Soldiers with greater lethality.

Warhead and fuze integration must be developed further. We need single warheads that are advanced enough to be scalable on demand as the mission situation dictates. In the future, the warhead and fuze development must be combined for a single resultant that will provide flexibility while reducing the burden to the Soldier and increasing the effectiveness of the missile system.

Advanced navigation systems that will fuse the single or dual navigation systems of today must be pursued. We must be able to reach off-board the missile system and draw information from other navigation sources that can aid in longer distance engagements and develop more technologies to improve accurate targeting, especially in the end-game.

The development of propulsion energetics should be accelerated. As we reach out further in distance and trend to faster in speeds, we need to reduce the size and foot print of our propulsion systems. This can be done through material synthesis and burn rate enhancement. While we develop these technologies, weapons must remain compliant with insensitive munitions regulations in the ever changing environment of missile applications.

Speed and amount of processing capacity must be increased. In this area, we should develop processing that will increase precision acquisition, especially at the “end game” of the missile engagement. We need to enhance our auto-tracking capabilities. Increased processing must be tied to the next generations of Seeker technology. If we are to combine our current platforms into a single integrated effort, where we can use any sensor to see the threat and the best missile to engage the threat – we need increased ability to process data in real-time. It requires multi-mission platforms with enough processing power and speed to provide a “defense-in-depth” using networked air, ground, naval and space platforms. This will enhance the speed of decision, reduce the kill timeline and subsequently increase the overall probability of success.

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RDECOM welcomes new executive to leadership team

Acting Deputy Director, U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command.

New Acting Deputy Director, U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command.

RDECOM welcomes Ms. Barbara Machak as acting deputy director and bids farewell to Mr. Joe Wienand. Joe returns to Edgewood Chemical Biological Center as technical director. Barbara joins our leadership team from the Armament Research, Development and Engineering Center in Picatinny, N.J. Today is her first day working at Aberdeen Proving Ground. Please give her a big welcome!


New ARDEC director reflects on growth as a leader

New ARDEC director reflects on growth as a leader

“You better get down here,” said the caller.

Dr. Gerardo Melendez returned the phone to the cradle. Some special operations Soldiers were downstairs in his building at Fort Monmouth, N.J.,where he served before his new assignment here as director of the U.S. Army Armament Research, Development and Engineering Center.

The “Green Berets” wanted to see the people involved with fitting specialized equipment on their vehicles operating in Iraq.

Melendez hadn’t heard much specific information about how the equipment was performing.
“I guess because of the nature of their operations,” said Melendez.

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RDECOM commander named ‘Military Leader of the Year’

APG commander named 'Military Leader of the Year'

SAN FRANCISCO — The Association of Defense Communities named Maj. Gen. Nick Justice its Military Leader of the Year in a ceremony here Aug. 10.

The commanding general of the Research, Development and Engineering Command and Aberdeen Proving Ground was singled out for the prestigious award for his work inside and outside the APG gates as the installation transforms itself into one of the premier science and technology hubs on the east coast and in the Department of Defense, according to nominating officials.

Justice was one of six people or organizations to earn awards at the 2010 ADC Annual Conference, held here Aug. 8 -11.

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Army secretary tours research, development facilities

Army secretary visits Night Vision Lab
FORT BELVOIR, Va. — Army Secretary John McHugh toured research and development facilities here March 15. The Army’s senior civilian leader received briefings and hands-on time with high-tech gear, including night vision devices, next generation batteries, extremely accurate mortar rounds, explosive device detection gear and the latest recipes for Soldier cuisine in the field.

During his brief visit to the U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command’s Night Vision and Electronic Sensor facility, the secretary put M-16 rifle rounds on target in near complete darkness using a night vision device. The 90-meter indoor range offers complete control over light conditions.
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