Basic Load

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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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FORT BENNING, Ga. – It’s been about eight years since the U.S. Army first deployed its smart-soldier technology to war. Now soldiers are finally viewing this digital, situational-awareness gear as a trusted piece of soldier kit.

The Army’s Experimentation Force, made up of soldiers from the 1st Battalion, 29th Infantry Regiment here, recently tested the wearable, command and control gear known as Nett Warrior Future Initiative during the Army Expeditionary Warrior Experiment.

The Nett Warrior system is a Samsung Galaxy Note II smartphone worn in a chest-mounted pouch and connected to networked radio such as a Harris Falcon III AN/PRC-152A wideband networking handheld radio or the older General Dyanamics AN/PRC-154A Rifleman Radio.

Without getting too far into the weeds, Nett Warrior Future Initiative is equipped with a special software package that helps the system handle multiple intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance sensor feeds such as video streams from unmanned aerial systems.

So a platoon leader can share these video streams from a company-level Raven UAS and a platoon-level InstantEye UAS with his squad leaders.

Spec. Erin Broihier, a radio operator with A Company, said he has been impressed by how much Nett warrior has improved over the past four AEWEs.

“Every time they have brought it back, it has gotten better and better and better,” he said.

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U.S. Army testers recently evaluated a new type of hand grenade that allows soldiers to connect up to three sections of explosive for a more powerful blast.

The Scalable Offensive Hand Grenade offers conventional soldiers a new capability. Unlike the standard fragmentation grenade, this design offers mainly a blast effect that can be doubled or tripled to suit the job. It has also been fielded to U.S. Special Operations Command since 2010.

Army officials tested it during a recent live-fire portion of the service’s annual Army Expeditionary Warrior Experiment at the Maneuver Center of Excellence at Fort Benning, Ga.

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LAS VEGAS — CamelBak Products LLC., unveiled a new pack design at SHOT Show 2015 that places the hydration bladder against the lower back.

The Rubicon is one of two backpacks with a special lumbar pocket that holds a three-liter reservoir.

“This is one of two packs we are launching this year with the lumbar reservoir,” Amanda Rodriguez, assistant product manager for CamelBak’s Government, Military and Industrial products, said at SHOT Show.

CamelBak engineers have used the lumbar-reservoir design on some of its recreation-style packs, she said. “This is where your body is meant to carry all the weight,” Rodriguez said.

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I sat down with the new commander of Program Executive Soldier, Brig. Gen. Brian Cummings recently. It was a refreshing change since the last two heads of the organization responsible for soldier equipment were shy about talking to the press.

Cummings assumed command of PEO Soldier in October. One of his top priorities will be to launch a new focus on the weight of soldier equipment.

“I would like to take that one on,” Cummings said Tuesday.

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size0 (1)U.S. Army weapons engineers have begun fielding a new lightweight 81mm mortar that’s 14 percent lighter than current 81s.

The new M252A1 81mm mortar is 12 pounds lighter than its predecessor, the M252.

“The new lightweight system reduces the load for dismounted battalion mortar platoons, while retaining the same durability, rates of fire, and range of the legacy system,” Lt. Col. Will McDonough, Product Manager Guided Precision Munitions and Mortar Systems, known as GPM2S, said in a recent Army press release.

The Army began delivering the first 81mm M252A1 systems to units at Fort Bragg, N.C. earlier this month. The goal is to replace all current M525 systems in 2016, Army officials maintain.

The Army began fielding the lightweight M224A1 60mm mortar in 2010.

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U.S. Army testers are scheduled to evaluate an experimental, air-bursting 40mm grenade next summer.

If successful, the Small Arms Grenade Munitions, or SAGM, will transition to Project Manager-Maneuver Ammunition Systems by the end of fiscal year 2015 to become an official Army program of record.

The 40mm counter-defilade round will be twice as lethal as the current 40mm grenade against targets in defilade, according to Army officials from the service’s Armament Research, Development and Engineering Center.

Grenadiers are not as effective as they could be at delivering accurate fire against enemy behind cover, Army officials maintain.

But to become an Army program of record, “we must demonstrate a certain level of functional reliability over selected target sets,” SAGM Project Officer Steven Gilbert said in a recent Army press release.

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