Blowing sand, high humidity, and extreme hot and cold temperatures. Those are some of the tough conditions SOM units have recently faced at the West Desert Test Center (WDTC), Dugway Proving Ground (DPG).
The SOM, Screening Obscuration Module, is a compact smoke-generating unit that offers multiple benefits over the Army's current capabilities. Earlier this year, DPG conducted cloud-size and field testing to verify the SOM units could produce quality smoke, enough to obscure ground forces.
In mid-November, chamber testing started, which consists of exposing SOM units to extreme conditions for a specified amount of time detailed in U.S. Military standards MIL-STD 810G, and then starting the units and running them for several minutes.
"The SOM units have gone through the blowing sand testing, extreme hot and cold temperatures, as well as high humidity," shared Project Test Officer, Mike Capp.
Further testing will start in January, according to Capp, and will include blowing dust, salt fog, and drop testing, which consists of numerous release methods (back, front, corners, upside down) from approximately 42 inches off the ground.
If all field and chamber testing goes as expected, the SOM could provide U.S. forces with the first new medium area, medium duration obscuration capability in more than 70 years.
"It's been a fulfilling opportunity to test the SOM here at Dugway Proving Ground," shared Capp.