By Roger TeelAugust 5, 2014
ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md., -- In early July, Army researchers gave Soldiers at the Combined Arms Support Command an inside look at Future Force 2025 logistics technologies.
The CASCOM Officer Professional Development session at Fort Lee, Va., was chaired by Jyuji Hewitt, deputy director, U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command, and featured four RDECOM subject-matter experts.
"We work extensively with the Training and Doctrine Command on requirements for our Soldiers to do their jobs, and we have a deep understanding of the state of the art of current technology. That makes us the ideal group to explain future trends to the combined arms folks," Hewitt explained.
"The opportunity to share information about the technology efforts of RDECOM is an outstanding collaboration with the Sustainment Center of Excellence," he added. "The dialogue with the CASCOM staff enhances the relationship between our two organizations and ultimately will serve our Army's Soldiers with modernized sustainment capabilities."
CASCOM's commanding general, Maj. Gen. Larry D. Wyche, agreed.
"This Science and Technology professional development session is another example of how the Army Sustainment Think Tank and RDECOM/AMC are changing the game," Wyche said.
"Partnering with RDECOM/AMC and its subordinate commands to leverage and operationalize Army Sustainment S&T is critical to shaping our future Army. We in TRADOC clearly recognize the importance of not only this particular S&T collaborative event but the enduring bond we have with RDECOM/AMC and PEO-CS/CSS [amongst others].
"Today's S&T session not only brought together senior Soldiers and Department of the Army Civilian employees from CASCOM and RDECOM to establish a common S&T knowledge baseline, but solidified our common cause of getting specific 'game-changing' technologies in the hands of Soldiers by 2025."
TARDEC TALKS AUTONOMOUS VEHICLES
Jim Kelly from the Tank-Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center in Warren, Mich., addressed autonomous ground resupply, water management technology (including "water from air" technology), and addressed TARDEC's additive manufacturing efforts, including reclaiming and repairing worn and damaged vehicle components.
"The officers and NCOs in the audience may be the leaders of tomorrow's Army who will actually see and use technologies such as autonomous vehicles to enhance future Warfighter capabilities," Kelly said.
"Discussions led by RDECOM engineers and the follow-on Q&A sessions gave the audience a deeper understanding of where Army S&T is headed. I think they also gained an appreciation of the depth and the scope of scientific work that RDECOM provides to the Army."
NSRDEC ADDRESSES GUIDED AIRDROP
Julia McAdams from Natick Soldier Research Development and Engineering Center in Natick, Mass., delivered insight on NSRDEC's tactical air delivery for squads or small units on the move. She highlighted the Ultra Light Weight Autonomously Guided Airdrop System that uses repurposed military freefall parachutes with increased accuracy and lower cost, and the High Altitude Low Opening System, a ballistic, guided, one-time use system using low cost low altitude recovery parachutes. Both systems are on the verge of being fielded.
"The panel provided a way for CASCOM leaders to understand the process of acquisition and how S&T fits in. I was asked about our base camp Soldier integration lab, and the data we are gathering," McAdams said.
Follow-on questions were not linked to the presentation but the type of work done at NSRDEC.
"Since they all wear uniforms, I was asked what type of improvements NSRDEC is doing on the uniform, and about the female body armor.
"The Soldiers provided some impromptu feedback on the systems and ideas for what they wished they had. I brought this back to NSRDEC," she added.
"I really enjoyed seeing how our work is used in the field. It is always nice to sit across the table from the customer and get real-time feedback on the work we have done and work we are doing. Since they live in what NSRDEC develops on a daily basis in the field, the ideas they have provide profound insight."
AMRDEC FOCUSES ON FUTURE VERTICAL LIFT
Bill Huff, a contractor with John H. Northrup and Associates who is aligned with RDECOM's Aviation-Missile Research, Development and Engineering Center for developing the Autonomous Technologies for Unmanned Air Systems (ATUAS) Joint Capability Technology Demonstration program, addressed future flight operations, unmanned aerial resupply as well as an overview of ATUAS. He also talked about AMRDEC's involvement in Future Vertical Lift and Synergistic Unmanned-Manned Intelligent Teaming.
Huff said he was buoyed by his audience.
"The feedback was tremendously positive. Understanding how separate autonomous technologies contribute to an overall operational capability seemed to resonate with them," he said.
"Since they were all senior leaders, they seemed to react positively to the potential offered by autonomous aerial resupply.
"The attentive atmosphere was palpable...they immediately seemed to grasp the nuances of the additive operational possibilities and responded with informed comments and questions."
Questions revolved around if and when the autonomous aerial resupply capability would become a reality. Was the UAS community receptive to the demonstrated capabilities and was the Aviation community interested?
"Clearly they thought it was a good idea and seemed excited by possibility of it being acquired by the Army," Huff said.
"This session also gave the ATUAS Joint Capability Technology Demonstration another opportunity to expose future Army Sustainment leadership to a developing capability enabled by autonomous technology."
CERDEC BRIEFS POWER MANAGEMENT
Steven Slane from the Communications-Electronics Research, Development and Engineering Center at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md., addressed CERDEC's work on Intelligent Power Management for Soldier and Basing, deep diving into Energy Informed Operations and the development, implementation, and support needs of an intelligent power system.
EIO is a capability that includes standard interfaces, intelligent applications and novel conversion and distribution techniques, to optimize power and energy resources.
"This was a great opportunity to inform the CASCOM community about our EIO initiative," Slane said. "The data EIO is adding to tactical electric grids, combined with the Sustainment Center of Excellence's guidance and support, will enable future innovations in sustainment and logistics in expeditionary environments."
RDECOM is a major support command of the Army Materiel Command and is the hub of a global science and technology enterprise. From basic research on emerging capabilities to transitioning new technologies for fielding to Soldiers on the ground, RDECOM's fingerprints are all over anything a Soldier shoots, drives, flies, wears or eats.