PICATINNY ARSENAL, N.J. - The U.S. Army Armament Research Development and Engineering Center (ARDEC) will be permanently marked as a superior unit in a formal military ceremony that recognizes its contributions to saving countless lives and providing dominant capability, here, Sept. 22 at 9 a.m.

Army officials named the Research, Development and Engineering Command (RDECOM) for the Superior Unit Award for its accomplishments throughout 2007. The award is presented by the U.S. Army for service to the nation "beyond what is expected."

ARDEC is a subordinate unit of RDECOM, and all of RDECOM's employees will share in the recognition. The ceremony here is one in a series of presentations to be made by Maj. Gen. Nickolas Justice, commanding general of RDECOM, to subordinate RDECOM research, development and engineering centers.

Justice commenced the series of presentations after accepting the Superior Unit Award organizational flag streamer from Army Materiel Commanding General, Gen. Ann E. Dunwoody at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md., Sept. 16.

The Superior Unit Award is awarded permanently to a unit, signified by attaching a streamer to the organizational flag. Soldiers assigned to the unit are authorized to wear a ribbon, while civilians may wear a Superior Unit Award lapel pin.

The award narrative includes the statement: "Through a coordinated effort across all subordinate research centers and laboratories, the command was not only recognized as developing 9 of the top 10 Army's Greatest Inventions of 2007, but more importantly developed and accelerated innovative technology and sound engineering solutions which provided our U.S. forces with decisive and dominant capability where they need it, when they need it."

"This level of recognition is usually reserved for units in contact with the enemy," said Director of the Armament Research, Development and Engineering Center, Gerardo Melendez. "This shows to me that the Army has been very effective in responding to the Soldiers' needs by applying the great intellectual capital in our science and technology community toward capabilities in the field."

Among the top ten inventions named in 2007, ARDEC engineers developed four.

Objective Gunner Protection Kit -- a vehicle-mounted turret which provides all-over ballistic protection from explosive device fragmentation and small arms fire. The kit has a battery-powered motorized traversing unit, which allows Soldiers to rotate the kit and gun turret using a joystick. It is capable of integration onto multiple vehicle platforms.

Picatinny Blast Shield for Light Armored Vehicle -- Specifically designed for use on lightly armored vehicles used by the Marine Corps, the PBS is a modular device that protects vehicles from small arms fire and fragmentation from explosive devices. The armor is transparent and mounts onto vehicles to provide front, side and rear protection.

XM982 Excalibur Precision Guided Extended Range Artillery Projectile -- Excalibur provides precision guidance, extended range and greater accuracy through an automatic update of the navigation system. It gives the Warfighter unmatched precision and lethality, which is critical in urban warfare, where the risk of collateral damage is high.

M110 7.62mm Semi-Automatic Sniper System (SASS) -- The SASS high capacity, ammo configurable, quick change magazines enable increased rate of fire, and precision lethality against personnel and light materiel targets.

Other subordinate RDECOM elements include: The U.S. Army Aviation Missile Research, Development and Engineering Center, U.S. Army Materiel Systems Analysis Activity, U.S. Army Research Lab, U.S. Army Communications Electronics Research, Development and Engineering Center, U.S. Army Edgewood Chemical and Biological Center, U.S. Army Natick Research, Development and Engineering Center, U.S. Army Simulation and Training Technology Center, and the U.S. Army Tank Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center.

Picatinny Arsenal is a Department of Defense center of excellence for the research, development, engineering and fielding of advanced armaments and weapon systems for all branches of the U.S. military. Known as the "Home of American Firepower," the New Jersey team of 5,000-strong provides a range of innovative technologies to support and protect today's warfighters. Learn more at www.pica.army.mil