FORT LIBERTY, N.C. – Airborne Soldiers here executed low-velocity airdrop tests of a new remote controlled equipment transport system.
The Airborne and Special Operations Test Directorate conducted various testing on the Small Multipurpose Equipment Transport, to include a Simulated Airdrop Impact Test to ensure the system could withstand impact forces of hitting the ground after the low-velocity airdrops.
“The S-MET provides small, dismounted units the capability to generate power for organic electronic systems,” said Mr. Jacob Boll, an operations research systems analysist with Airborne and Special Operations Test Directorate.
Upon successful completion of the Simulated Airdrop Impact Test, the S-MET underwent rigging procedures to prepare for low-velocity airdrop.
“S-MET reduces physical burdens while operating as a dispersed and decentralized force in austere environments for long periods. Testing targeted the evaluation of the operational effectiveness and suitability of the S-MET for low-velocity airdrop operations,” Boll said.
S-MET supports mobility requirements of Infantry Brigade Combat Teams and supports the Army’s vision to implement Robotic and Autonomous Systems capabilities with urgency to lessen risk to Soldiers during combat.
Multiple successful low-velocity airdrop iterations were completed and after each, an operational exercise consisting of various maneuver drills was conducted.
According to Data Collector Mr. Glen Nino at Airborne and Special Operations Test Directorate, test data and feedback collected inform Army leaders of the S-MET low-velocity airdrop operations so production decisions can be made.
Before airdrop operations took place, Soldiers were trained on the S-MET, which included overview of the vehicle's instrumentation and controls, as well as instruction on the tactical operation of the S-MET; a vehicle demonstration of its basic instrumentation, controls, and performance of various crew drills.
“The Soldiers were able to witness the S-MET’s capability to negotiate operationally relevant terrain profiles,” said Mr. James Cochran, a military test plans analyst with Airborne and Special Operations Test Directorate.
“Any time Soldiers and their leaders get involved in operational testing,” said Shonda Strother, chief editor of Airborne and Special Operations Test Directorate, ”they have the opportunity to use, work with, and offer up their own suggestions on pieces of equipment that can impact development of systems that future Soldiers will use in combat.”
"Operational testing is the U.S. Army Operational Test Command’s opportunity to contribute to readiness; anything less compromises the Army's ability to provide for the forces that fight and win the Nation's wars," said Lt. Col. Derek Johnson, Airborne and Special Operations Test Directorate test division chief.
About the U.S. Army Operational Test Command:
As the Army's only independent operational tester, the U.S. Army Operational Test Command is based at Fort Cavazos, Texas, and its mission ensures systems developed are effective in a Soldier's hands and suitable for the environments in which they train and fight. Test unit Soldiers provide feedback by offering input to improve upon existing and future systems Soldiers will ultimately use to train and fight.
The Fort Liberty, North Carolina-based Airborne the Special Operations Test Directorate plans, executes, and reports on operational tests and field experiments of aerial delivery and air transportation equipment and procedures for airborne and special operations forces to provide key operational data for the continued development of doctrine and fielding of equipment to the Warfighter.