The U.S. Army is finishing a series of independent tests on suit protoypes that soldiers could wear under their uniforms and help them carry combat loads that can often exceed 100 pounds.
The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency — the lab the Pentagon depends on to develop next generation equipment — has spent two years working toward developing a suit that supplements a soldier’s muscles to help the soldier carry his gear and equipment over all types of terrain.
Army officials had soldiers test out the prototypes while carrying a 61-pound load on a treadmill (video below). Scientists and engineers wanted to see if the prototypes could “reduce forces on the body, decrease fatigue, stabilize joints, and help soldiers maintain a natural gait under a heavy load,” according to a DARPA statement. [click to continue…]
KitUp! is extremely grateful to all our readers who answered the May 16 call for gear reviewers. To date, we have received 348 applicants! That’s overwhelming; much more than we had hoped for.
Unfortunately, it’s also many more than we can use, so the applicant portion of our reader gear review effort is now officially closed. There is a chance we will reopen the application portion in the future.
The next step is to go through all the applicants and pick those best suited to be guest reviewers. Our goal was to end up with a pool of about 20 solid reviewers. Now we will likely keep a large number of applicants on file, so don’t be discouraged if you don’t hear from us right away. We may contact you six months from now when other reviewers are unavailable or don’t work out.
The next steps involve selecting the first pieces of gear and getting them into the hands of reviewers. It may take a little time to settle into a smooth rotation, so please be patient with us. We will keep you updated as we move forward.
Again, thank you all for your interest.
Congress has directed the Pentagon to look into fielding female-specific kit ranging from rucksacks to body armor to field urination devices.
Lawmakers are concerned that the services haven’t done enough to ensure that individual combat equipment is designed to fit the female body properly despite the increased role women have played in dismounted ground combat over the past decade.
The increased interest in this issue comes on the heels of former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta’s decision in January to lift the ban prohibiting women from serving in combat arms units such as infantry and Special Forces.
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Development for the next generation of body armor got a boost yesterday when a Congressional committee ordered the Defense Department to issue a report within the next 180 days on its strategy to reduce the weight of body armor by at least 20 percent.
The House Armed Service Tactical Air and Land Forces Subcommittee wants the military to invest in research in developing new materials for body armor rather than rely on ones already in existence.
In 2011, a federally funded report found “the only way to achieve significant reductions, 20 percent and higher, without sacrificing safety and survivability would be through robust, sustained R&D funding over a number of years that focuses on developing new materials, as well as pursuing a modular, tailorable approach to body armor systems.”
Body armor has long been a focus for the military and plenty of lawmakers as the Defense Department tries to develop better ways to protect troops. The military has seen improvements throughout the past decade, but there is still interest in significantly reducing the weight.
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Adaptive Tactical recently announced it’s offering its Sidewinder Venom Shotgun Magazine Conversion Kits for Mossberg shotguns. These conversion kits enable the 500 and 590 pump-action shotguns to be loaded with the Adaptive Tactical’s 10-round rotary magazines and five-round magazines.
Adaptive Tactical introduced its redesigned Sidewinder Venom concept in January 2012. I’ve never seen it before, but I’d give it a whirl. It does look like it would be right at home in an “Expendables” movie.
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Agilite, a tactical gear company based in Rehovot (about a half an hour from Tel Aviv), is looking for “extreme climbers and adventurers” for their forthcoming Agilite Outdoor branch. They are looking for “professional adventurers and extreme climbers who are interested in taking part in the evaluation and R&D of our new static and dynamic rope lines for the upcoming Agilite Outdoor.”
Applicants should be able to provide a legitimate background justifying why AO would pick them – evaluators will be in the company of a tough group. As an example, one of the initial designer-evaluators (pictured to the right ascending a cave in the Negev Desert) was in the Israeli Defense Force’s 101st Paratrooper Brigade before being shot in the Al-Atatra neighborhood of the Gaza Strip during Operation Cast Lead five years ago. He was rescued by 669 (the IDF equivalent of PJs) and eventually returned to his unit and then went to work for Agilite when he left the military. T&E on the new rope line also being conducted by elements of Yamam (Israel’s top counter-terrorism unit) and the USAF PJ school in Albuquerque.
“People ask what our employment process involves and I usually joke that it starts with being shot and rescued,” said Agilite’s Elie Isaacson. “But we won’t make military service, being shot up or blown up a requirement for Agilite Outdoor evaluators!”
If you’re interested, apply to firstname.lastname@example.org.
In other Agilite news: [click to continue…]
The debate over mobility versus protection and complaints from the field is by no means new. However, the recent focus on “returning [the Corps] to its high-mobility, high-tempo expeditionary roots” make it seem to be the source of newly focused attention.
Marine Corps System Command, Marine Corps Capabilities Directorate and others are participating in the Marine Corps Load Effect Assessment Program and “Lighten the Load” initiative.
“A middleweight fighter can fight one weight class down or one weight class up,” said George Solhan, Director of Marine Corps Science and Technology, echoing the sentiment of Marine Commandant Gen. James Amos, who originally compared the Marine Corps to a middleweight boxer. [click to continue…]