A Plan to Make — and Break

A Plan  to Make — and Break

By Mr. Dale A. Ormond, Director, U.S. Army Research, Development And Engineering Command Most planning involves developing a series of concrete steps and conditional decision points that together define a good way ahead, and then—as no plan survives contact—adjusting that. As director of the U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command (RDECOM), when I contemplate the Army’s 30-year plan to modernize the force, I see our goal as not only to break that plan, but to break it often and before anyone else does. It is our job to make the Soldier’s kit obsolete. This we must do if we are to help the Army maintain its unparalleled dominance on […]

Warfighters can soon use rugged, encrypted smartphone detectors to identify chemical and biological agent

Warfighters can soon use rugged, encrypted smartphone detectors to identify chemical and biological agent

By ECBC Communications   A warfighter is performing a mission in a dangerous area where civilians are showing signs of a possible chemical or biological agent exposure. Without the luxury of a full laboratory at his fingertips, it would be difficult for him to investigate the situation right then and there, prolonging any type of additional effort, possibly putting his life and the civilians’ lives in jeopardy. Thanks to the strong partnership between scientists and engineers at U.S. Army Edgewood Chemical Biological Center (ECBC), iSense, LLC., U.S. Army Communications-Electronics Research, Development and Engineering Center (CERDEC) and the Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA), this dangerous scenario would not occur. ECBC, iSense, […]

‘Armed with Science’ pilot episode features defense breakthroughs

‘Armed with Science’ pilot episode features defense breakthroughs

By U.S. Army Research Laboratory public affairs   ADELPHI, Md. (March 10, 2014) — The Pentagon Channel’s pilot episode of Armed with Science is airing at 9 a.m., 1 p.m., and 5 p.m. (ET), today, and will delve into Army Research Laboratory and Naval Research Laboratory science that shapes the future of defense. The show takes viewers inside the minds of military scientists who improve national defense with infrared imaging, robotic satellite repair and novel weapons design during its debut. Defense producers from the Defense Media Activity conceptualized the program to shed light on the “seed corn of science and technology,” or basic and applied science. “‘Armed with Science’ tells […]

Picatinny scaling up in-house chemicals production to shun higher costs

Picatinny scaling up in-house chemicals production to shun higher costs

By Audra Calloway   ROCKAWAY TOWNSHIP, N.J. (March 10, 2014) — Picatinny scientists and engineers have established a pilot production facility to create the Army’s only in-house process for scaling up chemical compounds, a move that could save money by not having to rely on costlier compounds from outside suppliers. The Picatinny engineers are manufacturing tetranitrocarbazole, or TNC, the compound that serves as the “first-fire” composition for pyrotechnics, such as illumination rounds, signal grenades, mortars and artillery rounds. The “first fire” is what starts ignition within the system. “This is the only pilot facility like it in the Army, and ARDEC is trying to leverage its expertise for developing manufacturing […]

Army fuel reformation looks to increase efficiency, save lives

Army fuel reformation looks to increase efficiency, save lives

By Allison Barrow and Joyce Brayboy   ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. – Fuel is the second largest transported item in the field next to water. As a result, fuel truck convoys that deliver fuel are vulnerable to enemy attacks, which have resulted in loss of money, time and lives. To combat this problem, scientists and engineers from the U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command are working to lessen the reliance on fuel truck convoys by reducing the amount of military fuel, called jet propellant 8, or JP-8, the Army needs in theater and improving the efficiency of its use. One way they are doing this is through reforming JP-8 […]

Army develops lightweight ballistic protection for aircraft

Army develops lightweight ballistic protection for aircraft

By Heather R. Smith   REDSTONE ARSENAL, Ala. — Army tactics and training are constantly changing to meet the threat on the battlefield, and one such example is the attack helicopter. Originally the AH-1 Cobras were designed to arrive on station quickly, eliminate the threat, and move on to the next target. But in today’s battlefield, attack helicopters like the AH-64 Apaches are providing air support to ground convoys, and often hovering over convoys to eliminate any sign of threats. These combat operations result in increased exposure to enemy ground fire and increased need for ballistic protection systems, and the Army Aviation and Missile Research, Development and Engineering Center’s Prototype […]

New method uses water, motion to develop delicious military food

New method uses water, motion to develop delicious military food

By Alexandra Foran, NSRDEC Public Affairs   NATICK, Mass. (Sept. 17, 2013) — One of life’s greatest necessities, water, is a key ingredient for the new gentle motion retort used by the Combat Feeding Directorate at the U.S. Army Natick Soldier Research, Development and Engineering Center to develop Meals, Ready-to-Eat and Tray Pack products. This simple molecule is heated to 240 degrees Fahrenheit in order to cook and sterilize foods using one of three different thermal processing methods. After the successful “retort” process items do not require refrigeration because they have achieved commercial sterilization, the removal of certain pathogenic organisms. The retort vessel installed at the NSRDEC in January 2013 […]

Army’s manufacturing improvements yield lighter body armor

Army’s manufacturing improvements yield lighter body armor

By Dan Lafontaine   ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. — Soldiers facing rugged terrain and extreme temperatures are continually searching for ways to reduce the weight of their gear. In a search for solutions to this persistent issue, U.S. Army scientists and engineers have preliminarily demonstrated body armor that is 10 percent lighter through new manufacturing processes. The U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command, known as RDECOM, along with its industry partners, has leveraged the Army’s Manufacturing Technology Program to spur the Advanced Body Armor Project. Dr. Shawn Walsh leads the project at RDECOM’s Army Research Laboratory, or ARL, where his team has reduced the weight of a size medium […]

Collaboration leads to new rocket propulsion technology

Collaboration leads to new rocket propulsion technology

By Tracie Dean, U.S. Army Research Laboratory   ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. (Aug. 5, 2013) — A team of Army researchers developed a new gel-propellant engine called the vortex engine. Michael Nusca, Ph.D., Robert Michaels and Nathan Mathis were recently recognized by the Department of the Army with a 2012 Army Research and Development Outstanding Collaboration Award, or RDA, for their work titled, “Use of Computational Fluid Dynamics in the Development and Testing of Controllable Thrust Gel Bipropellant Rocket Engines for Tactical Missiles.” Nusca, a researcher in Army Research Laboratory, or ARL’s, Propulsion Science Branch at Aberdeen Proving Ground, explained the new technology. “Gelled, hypergolic propellants are swirled with the […]

Army adopts stronger, lighter composite materials

Army adopts stronger, lighter composite materials

By Heather R. Smith   REDSTONE ARSENAL, Ala. (July 19, 2013) — In the future, Army aircraft may be made of all composite materials, and the Prototype Integration Facility (PIF) Advanced Composites Laboratory is ready. Part of the Aviation and Missile Research Development and Engineering Center’s (AMRDEC), engineering directorate, the PIF’s advanced composites lab has successfully designed and made repairs on damaged composite aircraft components for several years now. From research and development to implementation and rapid prototyping, advancing composites technology is one of AMRDEC’s core competencies that enable the current and future force. The PIF advanced composites lab is one of several teams at the AMRDEC working with composites. […]