USA — Army partners with industry to test futuristic technologies

ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. — Employ­ees from the U.S. Army Edge­wood Chem­i­cal Bio­log­i­cal Center’s Smoke and Tar­get Defeat Branch, in sup­port of the Joint Project Man­ag­er Nuclear Bio­log­i­cal Chem­i­cal Con­t­a­m­i­na­tion Avoid­ance Obscu­ra­tion Team, recent­ly host­ed more than 50 inter­est­ed par­ties dur­ing a “proof of con­cept” demon­stra­tion of futur­is­tic, non-lethal bat­tle­field capa­bil­i­ties at the APG’s M-Field.

 The Research, Development and Engineering Command's chemical and biological center recently hosted performance test demonstrations including a manned and unmanned Ripsaw ground vehicle with mounted smart launchers and cutting-edge portable obscurant generators at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md.
The Research, Devel­op­ment and Engi­neer­ing Command’s chem­i­cal and bio­log­i­cal cen­ter recent­ly host­ed per­for­mance test demon­stra­tions includ­ing a manned and unmanned Rip­saw ground vehi­cle with mount­ed smart launch­ers and cut­ting-edge portable obscu­rant gen­er­a­tors at Aberdeen Prov­ing Ground, Md.
Pho­to cred­it Sean Kief (USAG Aberdeen Prov­ing Ground)
Click to enlarge

The “per­for­mance test” demon­stra­tions were pulled togeth­er in 90 days ― in col­lab­o­ra­tion with the U.S. Army Arma­ment Research, Devel­op­ment and Engi­neer­ing Cen­ter, Howe and Howe Tech­nolo­gies, Inc. and Saab South Africa ― and includ­ed a manned and unmanned Rip­saw ground vehi­cle with mount­ed smart launch­ers and cut­ting-edge portable obscu­rant gen­er­a­tors.

“Per­haps more impor­tant than the fact that the demon­stra­tion was a suc­cess is that it has stim­u­lat­ed dia­log across indus­try, mul­ti­ple Army research devel­op­ment and engi­neer­ing cen­ters and mil­i­tary orga­ni­za­tions to help cre­ate clar­i­fi­ca­tion of future require­ments that will help to save the lives of warfight­ers,” said Bri­an McFad­den, a sys­tems engi­neer respon­si­ble for coor­di­nat­ing the demon­stra­tion.

The col­lab­o­ra­tive team of defense and indus­try pro­fes­sion­als came togeth­er to eval­u­ate poten­tial solu­tions to sat­is­fy sus­tain­abil­i­ty require­ments at the request of the U.S. Army Maneu­ver Cen­ter of Excellence’s lead­er­ship to address a capa­bil­i­ty gap in non-lethal weapons.

While many of the teams were already work­ing on sep­a­rate pieces of the demon­stra­tion, the JPM NBC CA team was respon­si­ble for merg­ing efforts, per­form­ing tests on obscu­rant and launch­er com­po­nents of the demon­stra­tion, as well as host­ing and exe­cut­ing the demo.

ARDEC has been work­ing with Saab, South Africa, to devel­op the Mul­ti-Mis­sion Mod­u­lar Weapon Sys­tem, which has the capa­bil­i­ty to fire 40mm, 66mm and 80mm rounds from one com­mon launch­er,” McFad­den added. “This demon­strates the launcher’s flex­i­bil­i­ty to use numer­ous exist­ing rounds of ammu­ni­tion. It also high­lights the capa­bil­i­ty to use this launch­er for both smoke screen­ing and non-lethal mis­sions.”

In addi­tion to the Mul­ti-Mis­sion Mod­u­lar Weapon Sys­tem Launch­er, the demon­stra­tion also includ­ed the Rip­saw, a very maneu­ver­able, unmanned/manned armed tank that per­forms at over 60 MPH, a Screen Obscu­ra­tion Mod­ule pro­to­type, fab­ri­cat­ed by the Mis­souri Uni­ver­si­ty of Sci­ence and Tech­nol­o­gy, called the UMR gen­er­a­tor and the Mul­ti Spec­tral Mate­r­i­al.

“The bot­tom line is that mis­sion is to serve the warfight­er and smoke obscu­rants and non-lethal weapons pro­vide bat­tle­field force mul­ti­pli­ers that give ser­vice mem­bers in harm’s way the abil­i­ty to inca­pac­i­tate tar­get­ed per­son­nel or materiel, while min­i­miz­ing fatal­i­ties,” said Rob Cares­tia, a mechan­i­cal engi­neer and super­vi­sor in the ECBC Smoke and Tar­get Defeat Branch.

Aim­ing to build on the suc­cess of the “proof of con­cept” demon­stra­tion, the ECBC team plans to con­tin­ue to work with ARDEC and oth­ers to fur­ther devel­op­ment and even­tu­al­ly deliv­er the tech­nolo­gies to the­ater.

U.S. Depart­ment of Defense
Office of the Assis­tant Sec­re­tary of Defense (Pub­lic Affairs)

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