By Lt. Col. Aaron Dorf, 5th Armored Brigade, Division WestAugust 13, 2012
MCGREGOR RANGE, N.M. (Aug. 13, 2012) -- Military combat engineers and civilian technical experts gathered here recently to conduct a series of experiments aimed at providing Soldiers with new technology in the counter-improvised explosive device fight.
A diverse group of scientists, trainers and Soldiers from across the country -- including Soldiers of 3rd Battalion (Engineer), 364th Regiment, 5th Armored Brigade,"Task Force Rampant," Division West -- spent five days testing and evaluating the HUSKY Vehicle Mounted Mine Detection Cause and Effect System trainer, known as the HMDS-CES.
The HMDS-CES was designed to replicate a critical detection capability currently used in the route clearance mission in Afghanistan.
Prior to the HMDS-CES, Soldiers had to wait until they arrived in Afghanistan to train on this critical route clearance system. With the HMDS-CES, Soldiers will be able to conduct highly realistic training before deploying overseas.
Once fielded, this advanced counter-improvised explosive device, or C-IED, trainer will be used by the 5th Armored Brigade to train Army Reserve and Army National Guard route clearance units.
"This new system will enhance the training we provide to Soldiers as they train for deployment to Afghanistan," said Master Sgt. Warner Stadler, a senior route clearance trainer in the 3rd Battalion (Engineer), 364th Regiment. "When they arrive in country and fall in on the live system, they will become ready to conduct the critically important route clearance mission in a short period of time with minimal additional training."
With the trainer's high-tech "cause-and-effect" system that simulates improvised explosive device, or IED, warnings, Soldiers will be able to train in conditions that replicate the Afghanistan theater of operations without fear of damaging an expensive live system.
"The CES system has many of the same features as the live system," said Staff Sgt. Johnathan Jacoba, an observer controller/trainer with 3rd Battalion (Engineer), 364th Regiment, and an experienced Sapper with recent combat experience in Afghanistan. "This system improves the operator's field of vision and also aids in detecting threats near the vehicle."
The new trainer also simulates explosions when operators fail to respond to critical warnings or indicators.
"This greatly enhances training and will save Soldiers' lives," said Staff Sgt. Jeremiah Lindquist, a Task Force Rampant HUSKY operator and trainer. "The Cause and Effect trainer is a great improvement to the current surrogate trainer because it provides feedback similar to the live system."
At the conclusion of the week-long experiment, Alfred Myers, the organizer and member of the Joint IED Test Board, thanked the scientists, engineers and Soldiers who made the testing successful. "The support provided by Task Force Rampant and the Soldiers at Fort Bliss (Texas) was outstanding," he said.
Participants in the HMDS-CES evaluation also came from the Joint Improvised Explosive Device Defeat Organization, the Maneuver Support Center of Excellence, the Research and Development Command, Program Manager Explosive Ordnance Development and Counter-Mine, White Sands Missile Range, N.M., Program Executive Office -- Simulations Training and Instrumentation, Army Test and Evaluation Command, and the United States Army Evaluation Center.
"This experiment was a great opportunity to bring all of the key stakeholders together to test and evaluate an important system," Stadler said. "Developing training systems with Soldier input is critical to getting first-hand experience into the hands of the developers."