Science

The swatch of Army uniform fabric on the right has been treated with a special coating, making it super liquid repellent. Three drops of grape juice sit on top. The un-coated swatch on the left could not keep the grape juice from soaking in. (U.S. Army photo) The swatch of Army uniform fabric on the right has been treated with a special coating, making it super liquid repellent. Three drops of grape juice sit on top. The un-coated swatch on the left could not keep the grape juice from soaking in. (U.S. Army photo)

U.S. Army scientists have developed an advanced coating for fabrics that could make soldier uniforms much more effective at repelling water, oil and many other liquid chemicals.

This durable “omniphobic” coating is much more repellent than Quarpel – a water-repellent coating that has been used for the past 40 years, Army officials maintain.

“It’s omniphobic. That means it hates everything,” Quoc Truong, a physical scientist at the Natick Soldier Research, Development and Engineering Center, said in an Army press release.

Truong and other Army scientist developed the coating to ensure “minimal impact to Army fabrics’ original physical properties and performances, such as comfort, while providing added repellency to water, oil and toxic chemicals,” the release states.

The coating greatly reduces how often soldiers need to clean their clothes and enhances chem-bio protection, according to Army officials.

Uniforms treated with the coating then underwent field testing to assess field durability, performance and user acceptance.

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U.S. Army scientists are trying to show how better-fitting body armor can improve a soldier’s performance.

Members of the Anthropology and Human Factors Teams at the Natick Soldier Research, Development and Engineering Center are conducting a range-of-motion and encumbered anthropometry study to better understand the link between fit and performance with the Improved Outer Tactical Vest Gen III.

“We have this belief that if the fit of the body armor is really good, then the performance is going to be maximized,” Dr. Hyeg joo Choi, the principal investigator for the study, said in an Oct. 9 Army press release. “So the question is how can we quantify a good fit so that soldiers’ performance is maximized?”

To help answer that question, Choi and her fellow researchers collected measurements from 23 soldiers at Natick, including 21 males and two females.

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For those who don’t know, Superfeet has these insoles that are made from carbon fiber, so they are ultra-thin but still offer a great deal of support.

The Carbon insoles are made from the company’s special plastic foam material that has been infused with carbon fiber.
“We are able to achieve a lighter-weight, thinner product that is going to withstand a lot more pounding,” Brian Mastrofino, sales operations manager, said at Modern Day Marine 2014. “Lighter, faster, stronger.”

The heel cup and mid-foot stabilizer resemble other Superfeet models, but the cushioning at the front of the foot doesn’t look like much. It’s down-right flimsy at first glance.

“It’s designed for lower-volume footwear,” Mastrofino said. “Our products give support by supporting the rear foot. It keeps your foot in its natural shape we achieve our cushioning by keeping all of the soft tissue that Mother Nature gave you in the right spots.”

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U.S. Army weapons engineers are developing a new 40mm grenade that is designed to explode over enemy fighters hiding behind cover.

The Small Arms Grenade Munitions, or SAGM, will be twice as lethal as the current 40mm grenade against targets in defilade, according to Steven Gilbert, project officer with the Armament Research, Development and Engineering Center.

Gilbert, and a team of about 10 engineers within the Joint Service Small Arms Program, is trying to replace the standard 40mm grenade with an airburst model to be used against enemy in defilade positions.

“Warfighters currently lack the ability to achieve desired accuracy and incapacitating effects against personnel targets in defilade at ranges from 51 to 500 meters,” Gilbert said in a recent Army press release.

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The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency recently conducted the first successful live-fire tests demonstrating in-flight guidance of .50-caliber bullets, program officials maintain.

The Extreme Accuracy Tasked Ordnance program, known as EXACTO, is being developed to “revolutionize rifle accuracy and range by developing the first ever guided small-caliber bullet,” DARPA officials maintain. “The EXACTO 50-caliber round and optical sighting technology expects to greatly extend the day and nighttime range over current state-of-the-art sniper systems.”

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The first so-called “smart gun” is causing gun-rights advocacy groups to worry about a future filled with strict new gun regulations, according to news outlets.

KitUp! first wrote about he Smart System iP1, a .22-caliber pistol made by the German gun-maker Armatix GmbH, in February. The James-Bond style pistol only works when it’s used in close proximity with a special wristwatch.

When the RFID-equipped watch is activated by a PIN number and placed near the gun — like when a shooter grips the handle — it sends a signal to unlock the pistol, activating a green light on the back of the grip.

The iP1 could revolutionize gun safety, but the National Rifle Association is concerned that the new technology will lead to a government mandate that all firearms be similarly equipped, according to May 6 New York Daily News story.

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04American Technologies Network Corp., has a new line of night vision weapon sights.

The ARES series “feature fast, infra-red sensitive optics combined with quality image tubes to produce high resolution, clear images for outstanding target acquisition and aiming capabilities,” ATN officials maintain.

The ATN ARES runs on 1 AA battery and mounts to a standard Weaver rail. The one-knob operation allows for precision windage and elevation adjustments, as well as automatic brightness control, according to an ATN press release.

The optics feature ATN’s Proshield lens coating for protection and clarity, as well as a “red on green” reticle system with a 1/6 MOA adjustment. The waterproof sight also has a low battery indicator and a detachable infrared illuminator.

The ATN ARES night vision weapon series is available in a variety of configurations and different magnifications. They aren’t cheap though. They range from $2,099 for the Gen 2 models to $5,800 for the Gen 4 models.

 

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