Army equipment officials are asking gear companies for new ideas to reduce the weight of soldier protective kit by as much as 40 percent.

The Oct. 6 Request For Information asks for proposals to lighten the Soldier Protection System Torso and Extremity Protection, or SPS TEP.

The SPS TEP design consists of four components — Modular Scalable Vest, Ballistic Combat Shirt, Blast Pelvic Protector, and Load Distribution System. The Army has awarded multiple indefinite delivery indefinite quantity contracts for all of the components of the system, which weighs in at 16.14 pounds for a size medium.

“This RFI is to gain information on industry’s capabilities to further lighten soldiers’ load by 10-40% or better when compared to the legacy SPS TEP,” according to the RFI. “Significant potential exists in further reducing the weight of the SPS TEP components due to continued improvements in both ballistic and non-ballistic components.”

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The 2015 Modern Day Marine Military Expo will be held Sept. 22-24 at Quantico Marine Base and Kit Up!, will be there.

This year’s show will feature panel discussion groups for the first time. The panels will focus on Marine Corps programs, future amphibious operations and special operations.

Kit Up will be walking the exhibit floor, searching for sweet new gear.

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Revision Military announced today it has been selected to supply UK troops with its Batlskin Cobra Plus helmet system.

The custom-designed head protection solution “offers an ultra-lightweight helmet that exceeds the UK’s stringent ballistic and impact requirements” and features the Modular Suspension System – a fully adjustable liner and retention system designed to maximize comfort and stability during long periods of wear, according to Sept. 14 press release.

“Revision is extremely pleased to have been selected to supply this proprietary head protection system for UK soldiers” said Jonathan Blanshay, CEO, Revision Military. “We are confident it offers the best in comfort, protection, durability and flexibility for the mission at hand whether on the battlefield or during peace-keeping assignments.”

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Dan Baechle is the lead investigator on MAXFAS, a mechatronic arm exoskeleton that is designed to improve firearm aim stabilization with motors that pull the arm with cables, like a puppeteer and control algorithms that stabilize the arm and damp out the tremors that naturally occur when most people shoot firearms.

A mechanical engineer at the Army Research Lab is building a mechatronic arm exoskeleton to both train soldiers to shoot and improve soldiers’ accuracy in combat.

The exoskeleton is designed to eliminate the non-voluntary tremor in a shooter’s arm while aiming and shooting. Much like a puppet, the exoskeleton has a series of motors and cables to dampen the tremor to allow shooters to gain greater accuracy.

Dan Baechle started working on the program called MAXFAS while earning his Master’s degree at the University of Delaware. He got the idea for the device after seeing how exoskeletons help stroke victims relearn how to use limbs.

Baechle has brought the project to ARL where he works on it in his free time and is trying to find funding to continue research and testing on the project. [click to continue…]


Ballistic WallpaperMore homeowners are tearing down wallpaper then putting it up in their homes. Yet a group of Army engineers think wallpaper could be more valuable than ever for soldiers seeking shelter.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Engineer Research and Development Center (ERDC) is developing a ballistic wallpaper that would protect soldiers by shoring up abandoned masonry or brick used as temporary shelter in the case of a blast.

The wallpaper is made of Kevlar fiber threads embedded into flexible polymer film, said Nick Boone, an ERDC research mechanical engineer, at the Pentagon’s Lab Day last week. [click to continue…]



U.S. Army scientists are working with a new database of the human body to ensure uniforms and equipment fit female and male soldiers better.

The Army Natick Soldier Research, Development and Engineering Center, or NSRDEC, completed the latest comprehensive anthropometric survey of soldiers, called ANSUR II, in 2012.

The ANSUR II 3-D Shape Database uses three-dimensional shapes and contour data to improve the fit of clothing and equipment for warfighters. It incorporates the latest Army anthropometric survey data and 3-D whole body scans, providing a searchable platform for the data and the 3-D shapes.

The previous survey was completed in 1988.

The 2012 survey set out to address changes in Army personnel body size and shape, and the resulting data showed that soldiers have increased in overall body girth since 1988. The new study also set out to document the sizing needs of the increasing number of women serving in the military.

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Body-Armor-600x400A research team at MIT funded by the U.S. Army has developed a flexible armor using fish scales as inspiration, according to a study published by the Royal Society of Chemistry.

Produced by a 3-D printer, the material is a scale design that offers both flexibility and protection. The finished product is still in development and much more complex, but put simply, the outer layers are rigid and the under layers are more flexible and adaptive to the body.

The U.S. Army Research Office is the agency funding work done by the MIT mechanical engineer Stephan Rudykh. The famous engineering university has the MIT Institute for Soldier Nanotechnologies on campus.

Army leaders have pushed for advances in materials to protect soldier as the service looks to lighten the load of soldiers. The Army has made strides to make body armor more form fitting, but this scale design would yield a major breakthrough in terms of comfort and weight. [click to continue…]

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