U.S. Army Looks to Integrate, Lighten Soldiers' Gear
October 13, 2010 7:17 PM
comment(s) - last by
(Source: Fox News)
Developing lighter batteries could make it easier for soldiers to carry equipment
United States Army
is having trouble with soldiers who are overwhelmed from having to carry
large amounts of equipment
, and new studies show that heavy batteries are apart of the problem.
Soldiers are required to carry basic kits as well as
provided by the U.S. Army in order to perform specific jobs, communicate with other soldiers on the battlefield and stay safe. But the weight of this load has become unbearable, and soldiers are expected to carry this kind of equipment around daily.
According to Brig. Gen. Peter Fuller, head of Program Executive Office Soldier, part of the overall problem is that Army offices do not coordinate soldiers' gear very well. Another part of the problem is that batteries are the heaviest pieces of their luggage, and with kits thrown in with specialized gear, this amounts to a full load, and Fuller believes it's time to integrate soldier gear.
"I tell people in my office, 'Stop hanging stuff on the kids like they're Christmas trees,'" said Fuller at the 10th Annual C4ISR Journal Conference in Washington D.C.
Studies indicate that batteries account for three percent of the total weight soldiers are carrying. While batteries are currently being made smaller and smaller while still providing large amounts of power, the demand for even more power in the Army makes it so the
need to be made larger. This is particularly stressful on medics and mortar operators in Afghanistan, who are carrying 133 pounds of equipment for three-day missions. In addition to being heavy, batteries are also "high density energy sources" that can become problematic when people are shooting at the soldier. Fuller says it's like having an IED on their bodies, but the Army is reassessing battery placement on the soldiers in regards to this issue.
More power is needed in the Army in order to
that can communicate information regarding a soldier's surroundings while on they're on the battlefield. Improvements on this kind of technology requires more power.
new integrated sets
of soldier gear are available. This updated gear is called Nett Warrior, and it uses 14 percent less power than older Land Warrior systems. It is developed to perform multiple functions, helping to lighten the load. There are also other available batteries, such as the Soldier Conformal Rechargeable battery, which has a thin profile and can last 72 hours before needing a charge.
In addition, the Army is changing their overall perception of how to distribute this power. Instead of focusing on the soldier as the "centerpiece" of each formation, they are shifting the focus on the tactical small unit as a whole. This change of focus changes power requirements as well as the weight soldiers have to carry.
Fuller noted that Army leaders are now asking 'How much power does a squad need?' rather than individual soldiers. This shift, along with integrated sets of gear, are a few solutions the Army is looking to use to solve the issue of worn out soldiers.
This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled
10/13/2010 11:07:27 PM
kinda hard for a man to fight when he is carrying his weight in crap on his back
RE: about time
10/15/2010 3:46:25 AM
The problem is stupidity. I was a medic in infantry and carried a lot, and I can say for sure that the vast majority of crap is senseless standard issue stuff you never use.
What is needed is to start a real, serious, investigation into why dumbasses are being allowed to make decisions for other people. Let the soldiers decide what they will carry, it is their butts on the line.
Also, we need to rethink making things super durable. WTF do I care if my canteen can stand up to a shovel attack if I'm mauled by the attack and have no neck left to drink water? I'm actually being very serious about that, not kidding. There comes a point where being slowed down so you are prepared for anything, defeats the basic purpose of being a moving target.
RE: about time
10/15/2010 5:57:34 PM
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