New Technology To Lighten Marines’ Loads

ETOWL-program-583x350Modern-day warfighters face heavy odds on the battlefield, as they often carry more than 100 pounds of gear, including body armor, weapons, and night-vision technology. These loads can slow them down, reduce agility and result in fatigue, joint sprains or long-term ailments like arthritis or chronic back problems.

To remedy this, the Office of Naval Research (ONR) has presented the Marine Corps with a 3-D computer simulation program that measures equipment weight, distribution and effects on body mechanics and individual warfighter performance.

The program —called Enhanced Technologies for Optimization of Warfighter Load, or ETOWL— and its companion software is being delivered to the Gruntworks Marine Expeditionary Rifle Squad, which focuses on individual mobility. Gruntworks serves as a “workshop” to test existing and emerging equipment that would help infantry Marines. Once given to the Marine Corps, ETOWL will be renamed GruntSim. Read More

Safariland Group Acquires Maker Of Police Body Cameras

Safariland_Group_Red_Blk_4C-lowA Seattle company that manufactures body cameras worn by police officers has been acquired by a global provider of law enforcement and safety products. The company, Vievu, was bought by Jacksonville, Fla.-based Safariland Group in a deal announced Monday. Terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.

“This transaction will accelerate Vievu’s growth and the adoption of its technology,” Scott O’Brien, president of the Safariland Group, said in a news release. “I am confident that it will also further solidify Safariland’s leadership position in the industry and extend our offering of safety and survivability products for the law enforcement community.” Read More

Gen. Allyn Urges PEO Soldier To Lighten Soldier Load

Gen Allyn PEOFORT BELVOIR, Va. — Program Executive Office Soldier showed Army Vice Chief of Staff Gen. Daniel B. Allyn how it is providing Soldiers with more lethal weapons, better protective gear and more capable equipment while also looking for ways to lighten Soldier load during his visit there, June 23. The general clearly expressed his desire to lighten the Soldier’s load.

Program Executive Officer Soldier Brig. Gen. Brian P. Cummings, and his project and product managers briefed new programs and developments taking place. PEO Soldier is responsible for developing small arms, night-vision and thermal devices, uniforms, body armor, helmets, and other equipment Soldiers carry. Read More

Army Reveals Armored Trucks Fitted With Laser Weapons

ArmyLaserTruckThe U.S. Army and Air Force are working together to develop laser weapons that can blast mines out of the ground. The vehicles would be able to safely explode mines and other explosives from a distance. Currently highly-trained bomb disposal specialists wore body armour, protective suits or used robots to render an area safe.

Called Recovery of Airbase Denied by Ordinance, or RADBO, it uses a laser to detonate bombs up to 300 meters away. It also has the Army’s integrated interrogator arm and manipulator claw, which can pull 50 pounds of debris up from… Read More

3M Drafting Plans To Exit Body Armor Business

3m“We are drafting plans to exit the body armor business as there is no other customer for such highly engineered body armor.”

A high-ranking 3M Co. official warned members of Congress this week that the company is nearing a shutdown of its body-armor business and laying off workers after the U.S. Army failed to deliver required funding.

Maplewood-based 3M has already cut 50 jobs at a Kentucky plant and 40 workers at a California facility after the Army diverted $80 million — appropriated by Congress to sustain the body armor industry and foster innovation — to other uses including lighter-weight armor for troops, according to a letter obtained by Finance & Commerce.

3M is also taking its last orders for boron carbide, used in body armor plates and military aircraft, the letter said. The company, through its California-based Ceradyne unit, is among the world’s biggest producers of the material and one of few providers of the raw materials needed to produce hard body armor. Read More

What Is NASA Doing With This Second-Hand MRAP?

NASA, every space cadet’s favorite four-letter acronym, just got some second-hand wheels. Announced last week, NASA is testing an MRAP, or “mine resistant ambush protected” vehicle, at its Cape Canaveral site. Developed and rushed to the field during the Iraq war, MRAPs are made to survive and fight insurgencies, and have seen action in Iraq and Afghanistan. So what’s NASA doing with one? Read More