size0U.S. Army scientists have created a new smartphone app help commanders plan for how much water their soldiers will need on a mission.

The Soldier Water Estimation Tool, or SWET, is designed to simplify water planning, task that can be a logistical nightmare for leaders. Too much water can strain already heavy combat loads, forcing some soldiers to pack too little in favor of a lighter pack. When soldiers don’t have enough water, dehydration could set in, decreasing performance and increasing the risk of serious heat illnesses.

“Water is a huge logistical problem for training and field missions,” Nisha Charkoudian, a research physiologist from the U.S. Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine, known as USARIEM, Thermal and Mountain Medicine Division, said in a recent Army press release.

“Obviously, planners do not want too much, but having too little can lead to serious problems. Dehydration exacerbates symptoms caused by heat and altitude exposure, and makes a lot of things worse, including the ability to perform physical tasks in hot and high-altitude environments.”

Charkoudian worked with researchers from USARIEM and a team from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Lincoln Laboratory to develop an app that will help unit leaders accurately predict water needs with the goal of minimizing the burden of water transport and sustaining hydration.

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SAN CLEMENTE ISLAND, Calif. - Sgt. Joshua J. Stepp a firing pit noncommissioned officer with 3rd Low Altitude Air Defense Battalion coaches a Marine as he fires an FIM-92A Stinger missile at an unmanned aerial target during training at San Clemente Island, July 28. The unmanned aerial targets contained a catalytic converter that provided a heat signature necessary for the missile to lock on to. (Official U.S. Marine Corp photo by Cpl. Christopher O'Quin)(Released)

The U.S. Army has begun a plan to upgrade and extend the service life of its Stinger Block 1 missiles, service officials at the McAlester Army Ammunition Plant said recently.

The portable infrared heat-seeking surface-to-air missiles, first produced in the 1980s, will have their expected service life extended by an additional ten years after workers replace aging components, an Army statement said.

The Stinger service life improvement extension program will upgrade 850 Army missiles and 1,155 for the Marine Corps. The $11 million project is being done by Redstone Arsenal, Huntsville, Ala.

In addition to extending the service life, the Stinger upgrade program will install a warhead section equipped with a proximity fuse, Army officials said in a statement.

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I just put up a story on Military.com about a new Army program dubbed the Rapid Adaptive Zoom for Assault Rifles, or RAZAR scope. It was developed by a former Special Forces officer so shooters can zoom in and out on short and long-range targets far faster than they can with traditional rifle-scope technology.

The RAZAR uses what’s known as adaptive-zoom technology.

Unlike traditional optical zoom, “adaptive zoom changes the focal lengths of two or more lenses by varying the curvature of the lenses’ surfaces to provide optical zoom without changing their overall positions relative to one another. This allows the user to view either a wide-angle image or zoom in on an area of interest with a compact, low-power system.”

“The impetus behind the idea of push-button zoom is you can acquire what you’re interested in at low magnification and – without getting lost – zoom in for more clarity,” said RAZAR developer Brett Bagwell, now an optical engineer with Sandia National Laboratories.

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Victory-First-inaugural-course-450x600LWRC International has partnered with Matt Jacques and Victory First to provide training support for its law enforcement, military and government training programs.

Jacques – a former U.S. Marine with an extensive law enforcement and instructor background – launched his specialized firearms training and consulting firm, Victory First, two years ago. I was lucky enough to attend the very first Defensive Handgun Level 1 course.

LWRCI officials said they were happy to have Jacques on the team.

“We are looking for Matt Jacques to strengthen LWRCI training programs and help support integration of LWRCI weapon systems with our customers,” David Ridley, senior vice president for Sales & Marketing, said in a recent press release.

“Matt brings a wealth of product knowledge, personal relationships and tactical training expertise to our team.”

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U.S. Army weapons officials announced it plans to launch a competition to replace the M9 9mm pistol in January after a recent meeting with interested pistol makers.

Program Executive Office Soldier hosted a third industry day for the Modular Handgun System Oct. 28-29 – an event that drew representatives from 20 companies, according to Debi Dawson, spokeswoman for PEO Soldier.

Attendees discussed the Army’s draft solicitation for the new weapon system, which will replace the current M9 standard Army sidearm, Dawson said in an Oct. 31 Army news release. The Army issued the draft solicitation, which identifies design and performance requirements for the new handgun system, Sept. 29. The draft solicitation calls for a commercially available weapon tailored to the unique needs of the military services.

The solicitation specified no particular caliber, but the Army is seeking a handgun system that outperforms its current sidearm. The Army is also seeking a modular weapon, meaning it allows adjustments to fit all hand sizes.

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COAST's Polysteel 600 LED Flashlight COAST’s Polysteel 600 LED Flashlight

COAST unveiled a set of three POLYSTEEL LED flashlights over the summer that the company plans to display next week at the Automotive Aftermarket Products Expo in Las Vegas.

The waterproof flashlights are designed with a stainless steel core as well as an easy-to-grip polymer body. COAST, based out of Portland, Oregon, introduced the POLYSTEEL 200, POLYSTEEL 400, and the POLYSTEEL 600.

The company didn’t deliver the specs for the 200 model but they did for the 400 and 600. [click to continue…]

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Army Spc. Rafael Boza tests the prototype smart suit on a three-mile course  at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland.

The Army tested a prototype of soft suit designed by Harvard University engineers to aid soldiers’ muscles on long marches and patrols allowing them to move quicker and for longer distances without getting injured, according to an Army release.

Engineers with Harvard University’s Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering have worked with the Army and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to design a smart suit that uses a “series of webbing straps containing a microprocessor and a network of strain sensors.”

“The suit mimics the action of leg muscles and tendons so a soldier’s muscles expend less energy,” Ignacio Galiana, a robotics engineer working on the project, said in the Army’s release. [click to continue…]

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