Modernizing and equipping the force (Part 2)
December 30, 2010
By U.S. Army
INFANTRY BRIGADE COMBAT TEAM MODERNIZATION
Capability packages are a key element of the Army's infantry brigade combat team modernization strategy, designed to significantly improve the Soldier's knowledge of the battlefield, and the ability to communicate key situational awareness data across the BCT echelon.
Incremental capability packages, developed and fielded on a two-year cycle, will supply the best technology available from the research and development base to meet the challenges of the current fight, while leveraging the continually evolving combat environment and knowledge learned during nine years of war.
Capability packages are composed of vehicles, network elements, equipment and supporting infrastructure to achieve unprecedented joint combat capability in conjunction with the Army Force Generation model. They will include doctrine, organization and training, in conjunction with materiel, to fill the highest priority shortfalls and mitigate risk for Soldiers. The incremental deliveries will build upon one another as the Army continually adapts and modernizes.
Increment 1 forms the backbone of the first capability package, consisting of the Small Unmanned Ground Vehicle, Class 1 Block 0 Unmanned Air Vehicle, Tactical and Urban Unattended Ground Sensors, and the Network Integration Kit, which receives and passes sensor data from the unmanned systems to the Soldier and provides a common operating picture of the battlefield. These technologies work together to move voice, data, images and video across the force in real-time.
Numerous operational needs statements from theater reflect IBCTs' requirements for additional robotic capability for air and ground, more responsive precision fires at lower levels, and better situational awareness and understanding of friendly and enemy locations in complex terrain. Increment 1 allows the Army to address many of these needs by fielding high-demand, technologically advanced capabilities to Soldiers on the battlefield.
IBCTs are the most often deployed and most vulnerable formations, thereby warranting the increased demand in lower-level unit intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance. Network connectivity provides the Soldier increased ISR capability, while mounted and dismounted, by enabling effective performance of battle command functions and maximizing Soldier and force lethality and survivability.
Already, leaders of the 3rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, the first BCT to receive the networked systems, are familiarizing themselves with the key capabilities of the packages. The current modernization strategy will deliver Increment 1 capability to nine IBCTs starting in 2011.
MINI ROBOT TAKES ON IEDs
Marines call it the Devil Pup. The original equipment manufacturer refers to it as the Small Unmanned Ground Vehicle 310; but the official name of this lightweight, transportable robot is the Mini-EOD (Explosive Ordnance Disposal).
The Mini-EOD is specifically designed to locate, identify and disarm explosive and combustible mechanisms to neutralize roadside bombs, car bombs and other improvised explosive devices.
Using rechargeable batteries, the Mini-EOD can travel for 45 minutes at a top speed of 6 mph. It is just more than 2 feet in length and stands less than a foot tall.
The Mini-EOD is composed of a manipulator arm, lights and a chassis with four cameras, allowing a forward- and rear-facing wide field of view. The user wears a monocle over one eye to see what the robot sees and operates the vehicle with a small hand-held device similar to that used in common gaming systems.
Warfighters transport and store the vehicle in a military rucksack, otherwise known as Modular Lightweight Load-carrying Equipment, and operate the device from a wearable Operational Conversion Unit. Together, the vehicle and OCU weigh less than 35 pounds.
The Mini-EOD can navigate over various types of terrain, including rocky, sandy and uneven surfaces, and its low-light capabilities enable it to perform during both day and nighttime settings.
The 360-degree pivotal arm is capable of extending 2 feet. It can lift up to 15 pounds close in and 7 pounds at full range.
Since the initial fielding of the Mini-EOD in 2009, more than 200 systems have supported operations in theater. They have kept Soldiers out of harm's way by searching buildings, caves and other high-risk areas.
-Lori Grein/PEO Ground Combat Systems Public Affairs
STRYKER DOUBLE-V HULL ADDRESSES AFGHANISTAN CHALLENGES
The Army is pursuing a new technology to provide the Stryker armored combat vehicle with greater underbelly blast protection against improvised explosive devices. The introduction and development of a revolutionary new Stryker hull design called Stryker Double-V Hull is the Army's response to increased threats in Afghanistan. General Dynamics presented the DVH concept to the Army in January 2010.
Combined with a heavy-duty suspension and improved tires, the DVH design helps channel the effects of underbelly blasts away from Soldiers riding in Strykers-increasing Soldier survivability in the event of an IED strike.
In order to understand what a double-V hull is, picture a cross section of the hull through the middle of the vehicle that resembles a big "W." The angles and height of this new hull are designed to provide increased strength and protection to Soldiers in the vehicle, should it absorb an underbelly IED blast.
To get this technology into the fight as rapidly as possible, the Army is executing a very aggressive testing and development plan meant to get a first batch of DVH Strykers into theater as early as this summer, if testing proves successful.
Future Stryker modernization plans include a larger engine and digitization updates that will mitigate the space, weight and power burden, and keep the Stryker formation the most digitally enhanced formation on the battlefield.
The Stryker is an eight-wheeled combat vehicle that is lighter, smaller and more readily deployable than other combat vehicles. The vehicles are designed in 10 configurations: Infantry Carrier Vehicle, Anti-tank Guided Missile, Mortar Carrier, Command Vehicle, Reconnaissance Vehicle, Engineer Squad Vehicle, Medical Evacuation Vehicle, Fire Support Vehicle, NBC Recon and Mobile Gun System. The Stryker is C-130 transportable, with 14.5 mm basic armor protection.
-PEO Ground Combat Systems