Since 2000, Pine Bluff Arsenal has been the location where the U.S. Army's Chemical Biological Protected Shelters or CBPS have been maintained, stored and deployed into combat areas. It just makes sense that that Arsenal continues to perform that same mission with the new Chemical Biological Protective Shelter Model 8E1 or M8E1.

The CBPS is designed to operate in a forward battle area so that medical personnel can perform their missions in a toxic free area. The units are rapidly deployable, mobile, self-contained and decontaminable. Two hundred four units of the old CPBS were built, whereas, approximately 1200 to 1300 will be built of the M8E1 models.

"These are the larger and updated version of the current CPBS. We started receiving them June 13. These are First Article Test units that we have currently on site," said Marcus Burris, CBPS project coordinator for the Directorate of Chemical and Biological Defense Operations, Mobile and Powered Systems Division. "We met with a group from TACOM (U.S. Army Tank-automotive and Armaments Command) about six months ago, and were selected the depot of choice for this program."

Burris explained when the team from TACOM visited; PBA had to show its capabilities and facilities for taking on this project.

The newer units are all electric, whereas the older units used hydraulics. The units are stationed on a five ton truck, have a larger shelter -- 20 by 20, two generators and are armor plated. "The older units could not be armor plated because it would overload them," said Burris.
"At this point we have just received the units in and checked them visually for any damage they may have received during transport," said Burris. "These units were shipped from Aberdeen, Md."

The Arsenal has been selected to perform Care of Supplies in Storage or COSIS on each of the M8E1 units. "A team will be coming in during mid-August to do a validation and verification on some of the repair work we will be providing for the unit technical manuals," said Burris. The Arsenal also did COSIS on the older units.

After the visit in August, Burris said that a second visit will be set up to train Soldiers on these units. "Right now we are in the early stages of this project," he said. "There have been no units sent to us in need of reset. This is a brand new unit."