By Maj. TroyJohn "T.J." Naputi, 403rd AFSBJune 16, 2016
RODRIGUEZ LIVE FIRE COMPLEX, Republic of Korea -- At the end of every Army platform is a warrior who needs a functional, practical and tested system. The Army Materiel Command encompasses a large enterprise dedicated to keeping the warfighter operational, and that enterprise looks for feedback from the Soldiers to ensure it meets their needs.
To that end, the 403rd Army Field Support Brigade invited representatives from the Research, Development and Engineering Command (RDECOM) Field Assistance in Science and Technology (FAST) to conduct surveys with the 4th (Attack Reconnaissance) Battalion, 2nd Combat Aviation Brigade during gunnery training at Rodriguez Live Fire Complex (RLFC). This opportunity helped the FAST team reach a large audience, capturing input from 4-2 aviators in South Korea that could affect future helicopter technologies developed by RDECOM's scientists and engineers.
"Our main goal is to get direct input from the pilots and use it to develop long lead-time technologies which will meet up with emerging requirements from the aviation community," said Lt. Col. Marc Meeker, technology adviser for U.S. Forces Korea and FAST team lead. "The challenges they tell us about today will define what the pilot of the future has at his disposal."
The FAST team held meetings directly after live-fire training so the pilots' feedback about user interfaces, navigation, engine performance and weapon systems like the 30 mm (lightweight) cannon and 2.75" rockets they had just used at RLFC was fresh.
RDECOM's FAST team routinely moves around the Korean Peninsula to interact directly with Soldiers, linking the Soldiers with over 10,000 scientists and engineers at locations such as Picatinny Arsenal, Aberdeen Proving Ground and, in this instance, the Aviation/Missile Research, Development, and Engineering Center in Huntsville, Alabama.
"We have six research centers that tie to every system that the Army has in the field, and our engineers work hand-in-hand with Program Executive Offices and Army Sustainment Command to meet the technological requirements of the Soldier," said Meeker.
"I have been fortunate enough to take part in many of these sessions over the course of my career, and it is very rewarding when I see some of the ideas and concepts fielded to the warfighter," said Maj. Philip Singleton, operations officer, 4-2 ARB. "These visits are critical to make sure that the soldiers on the ground get the right equipment with the right capability in time to make a tactical impact. These sessions will save lives."
Capt. John Polchinski, commander, A Co., 4-2 ARB, commended the 403rd AFSB Brigade Logistics Support Team and the RDECOM FAST team for their efforts in gathering this information.
"Surveys like this, with RDECOM, are pivotal in shaping the future of operations and training in the Republic of Korea," he said.