ECBC Engineers Collaborate with PM Force Protection Systems to deliver new capabilities to the Warfi
September 30, 2013
ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. -- Eighteen lights pierced the night sky as the High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle roared past the nine motion detection modules for its final intrusion pass. Sighs of relief were visible in the below-freezing air. The Lighting Kit Motion Detector system had passed the probability of detection test for vehicular intrusions, concluding the month-long intensive set of Product Verification Tests.
The Test, Reliability Evaluation Branch personnel endured long hours, through harsh weather, to ensure that these systems met the requirements and would ultimately be a valuable asset to soldiers in the field. TREB surpassed their client's expectations in 2013, when they stepped out of their traditional Chemical Biological testing capabilities to provide PVT on the LKMD systems. "This was an opportunity to allow my personnel to apply their already present skills in a different and challenging arena," said Do Nguyen, TREB Chief. The LKMD system is a compact, sensor-based early warning system providing responses of illumination and sound alarms. The soldiers need the systems to protect and keep secure perimeters established during combat, as the audible and visual alarms allow the soldiers to adequately prepare for enemy intruders in their surrounding area.
TREB's close working relationship with the LKMD Product Manager-Force Protection Systems initially began when TREB conducted production qualification testing during the developmental stage of the life cycle. TREB's outstanding Test and Evaluation support led to the PM's decision to delegate TREB to conduct PVT. Under the direction and detail planning of MAJ Tydingco and leadership from the PM, the working relationship grew, as TREB provided fielding support for all LKMD production systems and PVT was prepared and conducted, starting November 2012 and lasting through March 2013.
The purpose of conducting PVT was to ensure that all the Key Performance Parameters were met in support of the Full Rate Production Systems, Milestone C Decision of the Acquisition Life Cycle. "Protecting our Warfighters and providing them with the most reliable equipment is the ultimate goal," said Steve Marshall, TREB's Reliability & System Performance Evaluation Team lead. All personnel involved assisted with the establishment of the second production contract for the testing of these detection systems. "This contract assisted the LKMD program in moving closer to meeting the acquisition requirement of fulfilling the soldiers' need of this vital component of force protection." said Daniel O'Neill, TREB engineer.
Personnel worked many days and nights, including outdoor reliability testing at ECBC's M-Field test site where harsh weather conditions, such as rain, high winds, snow, and cold temperatures were in full force. While conducting intrusions (walk tests) during reliability testing, personnel encountered 15 degree Fahrenheit wind chills. Testers also experienced an exhilarating adrenaline rush during vehicular intrusion tests, when dirt bike motions set off the LKMD system's early warning sensors. The PVT process gave all involved a full understanding of the LKMD systems' capabilities and how these systems would be an asset to the soldier in the field.
The Product Manager received the critical test data needed to prepare the LKMD systems for full rate production. Through hard work and dedication from all ECBC team members, testing concluded early, allowing the program to move forward with production ahead of the test schedule. "After successfully challenging the LKMD systems in a series of rigorous reliability tests, TREB feels confident that these systems can be handed off to our soldiers without compromising their operations," said Marshall.
TREB also benefited from the completion of PVT and was able to expand its capabilities in the process. Not only did TREB's personnel get opportunities to advance in verification testing, but TREB gained extensive experience and expertise in preparation and setup with the latest technology. Ultimately, this will open up new test opportunities in the future for TREB to partner among ECBC branches and other organizations.
The success of this project would not have been possible without the assistance of another ECBC test branch. TREB collaborated with the Environmental Field Test Branch and received outstanding and professional assistance from EFTB who conducted environmental testing, such as blowing rain and drop tests on the LKMD systems. This LKMD testing provided TREB and EFTB the opportunity to further develop both a long-term partnership and friendship that will enable the two teams to effectively collaborate in the future.
Both the PM and the contractor expressed their thanks to TREB and EFTB for providing such a pleasant and dedicated working environment. The PM displayed their appreciation for PVT during an open invitation luncheon at the PDM-FPS headquarters, Fort Belvoir in Virginia, where LTC Lackovic and MAJ Tydingco recognized all test personnel for their efforts. As Nguyen said, "My team and other personnel from EFTB demonstrated hard work ethic and it showed, as we all worked well together, and pulled through to complete this effort. I'm very proud of what we have accomplished and appreciate the opportunity to further develop our capabilities. We will continue to demonstrate our commitment to all programs and the Product Manager-Force Protection Systems."
ECBC is part of the U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command, which has the mission to develop technology and engineering solutions for America's Soldiers.
RDECOM is a major subordinate command of the U.S. Army Materiel Command. AMC is the Army's premier provider of materiel readiness -- technology, acquisition support, materiel development, logistics power projection, and sustainment -- to the total force, across the spectrum of joint military operations. If a Soldier shoots it, drives it, flies it, wears it, eats it or communicates with it, AMC provides it.