WASHINGTON, Oct. 21, 2011 -- Innovating. Elegant simplicity. Ease of use.
Army senior science leadership used these words to describe this year's 2010 Army Top Ten Greatest Inventions, or AGI, during an awards ceremony Oct. 11 in Washington, D.C.
Picatinny teams swept six of the 10 Army Greatest Inventions during the ceremony, making this the installation's most bountiful AGI ceremony to date.
Gerardo Melendez, director of the Armament Research, Development and Engineering Center, or ARDEC, and representatives from the winning teams accepted the awards on behalf of ARDEC and its counterparts at PEO Ammunition and PEO Soldier.
During the ceremony, Army Chief Scientist Scott Fish compared the work of the winners to Steve Jobs' vision of elegant simplicity and ease of use for Apple products.
"They are all driven by a deep desire to make things better. They are not satisfied with a concept of utopia," Fish said. "They go beyond that. They make something real. They make it happen now."
"As you hear about the inventions tonight and applaud those people who made them happen, bear in mind a few phrases that have been used to describe Steve Jobs' contribution and unique approach, and recognize that they apply to our Army's greatest inventions as well -- Elegant simplicity. Ease of use. Change the way we do what we do."
Heidi Shyu, acting assistant secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Logistics and Technology, recently returned from the Middle East and said improved equipment is making a difference to Soldiers.
"You are innovating and saving lives of Soldiers," Shyu said. "Anything you do to innovate and help our Soldiers is incredibly appreciated by the folks who are deployed. I am so impressed. Thank you for what you do for our Soldiers."
The Picatinny winners are:
• 40mm Infrared Illuminant Cartridge, M992: Soldiers now have capabilities to engage the enemy far more effectively during night operations. The Army's new infrared illuminating cartridges/projectiles produce infrared light that is invisible to the naked eye, but is clearly visible through night vision devices that U.S. Soldiers use in Iraq and Afghanistan.
• 5.56mm M855A1 Enhanced Performance Round: Since June, the Program Executive Office for Ammunition at Picatinny Arsenal has fielded about 30 million new 5.56mm M855A1 Enhanced Performance Rounds in Afghanistan. The bullet has been redesigned and now features a larger steel penetrator on its tip. A notable feature of the EPR is a bullet with a copper core.
• Green Eyes - Escalation of Force Kit Integration with the CROWS System: The system emits a wide band of green light that temporarily disrupts a person's vision so that driving a vehicle or aiming a weapon becomes difficult if not impossible. One application would be to warn civilians away from checkpoints and other areas where their safety is at risk. At closer distances, the lasers provide an immediate, non-lethal capability to deter aggressive actions.
• Jackal Explosive Hazard Pre-Detonation System: The Jackal is an improvised explosive device, or IED, defeat system designed to remove the threat of IEDs against Soldiers, tactical vehicle platforms and overall mission success. In 2010, ARDEC developed and fielded Jackal to Soldiers throughout Iraq to help counter roadside bombs. In particular, Jackal neutralizes the lethal IED threats putting Soldiers at risk during route clearance and convoy missions.
Jackal keeps Soldiers outside the IEDs area of lethality and increases the survivability of vehicle platforms. Unlike its predecessors, the Jackal is designed to be modular and adaptable to new and emerging IED devices.
• M240L 7.62mm Lightweight Medium Machine Gun: The new machine gun reduces the weight of the existing M240B without compromising reliability.
"The titanium M240L represents a leap in weapons technology inspired by Soldier feedback," said Col. Douglas Tamilio, former Project Manager Soldier Weapons for PEO Soldier.
"The lessons learned from this program will undoubtedly benefit future weapons systems that will maintain our continued advantage on the battlefield."
• Mortar Fire Control System - Dismounted: The MFCS-D reduces time to fire first round from eight minutes during the day and 12 minutes at night to less than two minutes for both day and night.
The kit consists of ruggedized computers, battery power supplies, displays, navigation and pointing hardware, and associated mounting hardware.
The system enhances the responsiveness of the M120A1 120mm Towed Mortar System, enabling digital coordination of multiple systems and significantly reducing the time required to place, fire and move the weapon.
(Dan Lafontaine, RDECOM, contributed to this article)