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Future soldier technology (modified thread)

muttbutt

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To make up for the fact that I think I killed BobbyMikes future soldier tech thread :-[ , I'd like to open this modified version.
This is for future soldier kit from helmets to boots, from NVG to camo....no exoskeletons stuff that has it's own thread now.
 

muttbutt

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So let's kick off again.

From Italy the Mechlab V-shield armour system.

In Italy MechLab, a start-up company specialised in military R&D, started developing an innovative concept in 2011 based on a fully-rigid body armour rather than the typical soft-rigid package. A most innovative development, however, was the first-generation torso-rachid exoskeleton that that transfers the shoulder-borne weight to the leg muscles and thereby decreases stress levels and allow for a potential load increase. The MechLab exoskeleton is a system that merely allows optimising load-carrying.

While it does have some electrically powered regulation actuators, its energy consumption is extremely low when compared to the more complex solutions designed to carry a soldier’s load. The system, known as V-Shield (also see cover), is part of the Advanced Individual Protection System (AIPS) programme launched in 2011 by MechLab with Italian MoD financing. It aims at improving thermal regulation, optimising ergonomics and power consumption, reducing rachis stress and increasing protection. Thanks to its exoskeleton configuration the V-Shield plates have minimal contact with the soldier’s body thus easing perspiration and body cooling either naturally or through the use of powered ventilation. It also has a hydration system.

Still under development, the V-Shield has evolved considerably over time. The MkII version added shoulder plates and additional protection for arms and legs and a manual setting of the structure, while the Mk III saw a restyling of all armour plates together with the adoption of a release system for the spinal structure. In the Mk IV the V-Shield was equipped with a harness for heli-winch operations and easy extraction from armoured vehicles; side plates were separated from the front plate, while a motorised structure setting system was adopted. The Mk IV Plus adopts a spherical joint, a new anatomic back, and features more compact plates. MechLab is currently working on the Mark V, which will see a redesign of armour plates to meet army requirements and the adoption of a biometric sensor. Qualification of the ballistic package and harness will soon start in view of delivery of the V-Shield Mk VI with its optimised and industrialised version of the new body armour by year end to the MoD.

According to data provided by MechLab, a comparison of the V-Shield with the current Italian Army body armour show that the 34% lighter weight configuration V-Shield provides 29% more protected surface against 7.62×39 mm ball ammunition. As for the heavy configuration, the V-Shield ensures 79% more protection for only a 6% weight increase against the AK-47 ball ammo. MechLab underlines that the key element to take into consideration is reduced soldier effort, around 30%, thanks to reduced back stress, improved thermal regulation and increased mobility, which decreases the weight impression by as much as –35%.
http://www.armada.ch/protect-soldier/





I know it say "exoskeleton" in there but it's not the sci fi powered suit exo, it's more like an insect exoskeleton ;)
 

muttbutt

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You march on what you eat ;D .

No Water Needed in New Army MRE Heaters
The U.S. Army is working on an improved version of the Flameless Ration Heater that doesn’t need water to heat Meals, Ready-to-Eat.
“Unlike the current ration heater, the Air Activated heater does not require water, a valuable battlefield commodity. This new approach to heating and advanced technology aims to lower cost, weight, and logistics burden of chemical heating technologies,” according to Army officials at Natick Soldier Research, Development and Engineering Center.
The Air Activated Heater contains a peel away layer that, once removed, allows air to penetrate the holes of the outer foil layer. After passing through the felt diffusion layer, the air reacts with the activated carbon, electrolyte, and rate-controlling binder, producing a safe exothermic reaction, Natick officials say.
This new technology will heat the MRE entrée by 100 degrees Fahrenheit in less than ten minutes. Negligible hydrogen off-gassing eliminates operational and transport restrictions associated with the current heater and offers improved safety, according to Natick.
The DoD Combat Feeding Program plans to transition the technical data to Defense Logistics Agency – Troop Support for use with the MRE.
Read more: http://kitup.military.com/2014/11/water-needed-army-mre-heaters.html#ixzz3JI2FFG5R
Kit Up!
 

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3 Energy Prototypes to Replace Batteries in Combat



The Army laid out three pieces of equipment the service has been testing to try and cut down the number of batteries soldiers have to carry in combat. Army official predicted the average soldier could soon need to carry up to 14 pounds of batteries for a 72-hour mission unless significant breakthroughs are made.
Here is a rundown of three top development projects:

Knee Harvester (photo above) — As shown in the photo, the knee harvester, built by Bionic Power, collects kinetic energy as the soldier moves his or her legs. Some feedback that soldiers have already sent back to Kit Up! on this one is how annoying it would be on long patrols. One soldier said he’d rather just carry the batteries.




Lightning Pack’s Rucksack Harvester —
The pack built by Lightning Pack uses a miniature power generator and collects the kinetic energy drawn by the movement of the backpack on the soldier as he moves on patrol. The pack can generate up to 40 watts when running and up to 22 watts when the soldier is walking.




Solar Panel Harvester —
Built onto the top of the helmet and pack, these solar panels are a thin layer of gallium arsenide crystals. The pack can generate up to 10 watts and the helmet can generate 7 watts if under the sun.

Read more: http://kitup.military.com/2014/11/3-energy-prototypes-replace-batteries.html#ixzz3JI2zmy8N
Kit Up!
 

muttbutt

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US Army Develops Pocket-Sized Air Surveillance Device

NATICK, Mass. --- Researchers at the U.S. Army Natick Soldier Research, Development and Engineering Center are developing technologies for a pocket-sized aerial surveillance device for Soldiers and small units operating in challenging ground environments. The Cargo Pocket Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance program, or CP-ISR, seeks to develop a mobile Soldier sensor to increase the situational awareness of dismounted Soldiers by providing real-time video surveillance of threat areas within an immediate operational environment.

While larger systems have been used to provide over-the-hill ISR capabilities on the battlefield for almost a decade, none deliver it directly to the squad level where Soldiers need the ability to see around the corner or into the next room during combat missions. When Soldiers and small units need to assess the threat in a village, or in thick canopy terrain where traditional ISR assets cannot penetrate, the CP-ISR can be deployed to provide that capability.

NSRDEC engineers investigated existing commercial off-the-shelf technologies to identify a surrogate CP-ISR system. Prox Dynamics' PD-100 Black Hornet, a palm-sized miniature helicopter weighing only 16 grams, has the ability to fly up to 20 minutes while providing real-time video via a digital data link from one of the three embedded cameras and operates remotely with GPS navigation. Tiny, electric propellers and motors make the device virtually undetectable to subjects under surveillance.

 

muttbutt

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Deep springs technology "flexible body armour". They have received funding from DARPA.
They presented this as their entry for the SOCOM TALOS suit project.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NaPT3l7V_xY
 

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SOCOM Broad Agency Announcement For TALOS Suit

On Dec, 18, 2014, U.S. Special Operations Command issued a new broad agency announcement seeking advanced technologies to help special operations forces achieve their missions, with an initial focus on helping to develop an exoskeleton suit for enhanced protection
 

bobbymike

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40MM counter-defilade round

http://ht.ly/GPwTQ
 

cluttonfred

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bobbymike said:
40MM counter-defilade round

http://ht.ly/GPwTQ
That's a very interesting like, not just for the round itself but for the whole concept. Basically, this 40mm round includes some sort of sensor (it doesn't specify what technology is used) to detect cover and explodes when it passes by instead of using a complex laser rangefinder and timed programmable fuse. It allows the launcher to be just a dumb tube and puts the smarts in the round.

I can see the same type of approach used for all kinds of smart munitions to reduce the load on the soldier and the complexity of the weapons. How about a 40mm anti-air round, basically a little rocket that looks for an aerial target like a helicopter or light aircraft within it's field of view? Ditto a guided anti-vehicular round for hitting technicals?
 

bobbymike

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Wearable energy generation for soldiers

http://ht.ly/GS3jL
 

muttbutt

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NDIA SO/LIC 2015: A Look at USSOCOM’s Tactical Assault Light Operator Suit (TALOS) Programme Always at the forefront of evolving equipment spirals, the Special Operations Forces (SOF) community is witnessing an interesting dichotomy in the development of future protection systems. The past decade of operations has seen SOF operators utilised for a wide range of tasks ranging from direct action raids in complex urban and rural environments in Afghanistan, Iraq and elsewhere, to more cerebral support and influence/surveillance and reconnaissance missions working out of embassies and other governmental/non-governmental organisations.
It is no surprise that the amount of equipment required for such a diverse range of activities is broad to say the least. However, arguably the most interesting and ongoing development involves a USSOCOM effort, initiated in 2013 by former Commander Adm. Bill McRaven, who became frustrated at hearing of casualties and fatalities taken in the ‘fatal funnel’ stage of a breach of a target building.
The Tactical Assault Light Operator Suit (TALOS) Programme Current tactics, techniques and procedures (TTPs) see operators ‘stacking up’ outside an entry point before gaining entry and dominating a hallway, room or corridor. However, such choke points have left assaulting troops almost helplessly exposed to small arms fire from opposing forces, sometimes deeply entrenched in the building or compound.

McRaven’s idea was to provide an all-encompassing protective suit to almost guarantee a SOF operator the ability to gain entry into a building without the risk of injury or even death.

Known as the Tactical Assault Light Operator Suit (TALOS) programme - SOCOM dislikes any comparison to the Iron Man suit made famous in recent Hollywood films - it aims to provide ballistic protection and C4ISTAR capabilities alongside environmental systems to enable a soldier to operate for long periods of time in a fully-encapsulated suit
Sources close to USSOCOM revealed to MT that working models of a ‘Gen-1’ TALOS solution had been delivered to the organisation ahead of trials at the US Marines Special Operations Command (MARSOC), at Camp Lejeune, NC, where 10 operators will trial the system over an assault course.
One such solution offered up by Revision is its Vertical Load Offset System (VLOS), which takes the form of a curved bracket which connects the top of a ballistic helmet to the shoulders of a robotic exoskeleton worn by the same operator, meaning ‘zero weight’ of the helmet is carried by the operator. “It also allows full articulation and range of motion but floats on top of the head and you don’t have that mental drain of a 7lb thing on your head anymore,” Dowling added.
Protection of the Neck and Facial Areas According to USSOCOM figures and gunshot wound maps obtained by MT, 36% of injuries inflicted upon SOF operators are likely to wound the neck and facial areas. So, another option which is gaining traction in the community is that of maxillofacial protection, whose additional weight could be offset by systems similar to Revision’s VLOS.
SOF Operator Body Armour Developments There has also been much movement in body armour as worn by SOF operators, again with substantial moves to reduce size and weight in order to increase mobility. Ballistic plates have gradually evolved into thinner and thinner variants with innovative techniques used to disrupt and fragment incoming rounds.
A lot more at the link.
http://www.miltechmag.com/2015/01/ndia-solic-2015-look-at-ussocoms.html[/q][/q][/q][/q][/q][/q][/q][/q][/q]
 

muttbutt

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NDIA SO/LIC 2015: USSOCOM Wish List
As the world SOF eyes are always on USSOCOM, below is a list of USSOCOM’s wish list of what it is interested in receiving from industry, academia, individuals, and government laboratories capable of providing the design, construction, and testing of SOF related technologies. The intent is to accelerate the delivery of innovative capabilities
More at the link, Power generation, small arms, body armour and guided small weapons ect.

http://www.miltechmag.com/2015/01/ndia-solic-2015-ussocom-wish-list.html


.
 

bobbymike

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http://www.darpa.mil/NewsEvents/Releases/2015/02/09a.aspx

http://www.defenseone.com/technology/2015/02/military-looking-give-troops-super-sensing-abilities/105039/?oref=d-river

Defense one article picture at top has US soldier apparently fighting a robot soldier???
 

John21

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bobbymike said:
http://www.darpa.mil/NewsEvents/Releases/2015/02/09a.aspx

http://www.defenseone.com/technology/2015/02/military-looking-give-troops-super-sensing-abilities/105039/?oref=d-river

Defense one article picture at top has US soldier apparently fighting a robot soldier???

Going by the color of the text next to the robot being the same light blue as the U.S. Soldier I'd say its a friendly.:)
 

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Canada’s proposed “smart gun” design combines a 5.56mm automatic rifle using case-telescope ammunition and either a 40mm grenade launcher or a 12-gauge shotgun, increasing firepower and improving tactical flexibility. (DRDC photo)
Canada Develops New Integrated Assault Rifle Concept
More firepower, improved accuracy and smart integrated accessories that connect to command and control networks are the headline features of the new integrated assault rifle concept that Defence Research and Development Canada (DRDC) and Colt Canada have developed for the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF).

The prototype, in development since 2009 through the Soldier Integrated Precision Effects Systems (SIPES) project, includes a firing mechanism to shoot lightweight cased telescoped ammunition, a secondary effects module for increased firepower and a NATO standard power and data rail to integrate accessories like electro-optical sights and position sensors.

In order to support the multi-role nature of the weapon, the prototype’s secondary effects module features the ability to install either a three round 40 mm grenade launcher, or a 12-gauge shotgun. When optimized, the integrated weapon prototype could weigh less than a C7 equipped with a M203 grenade launcher, reducing the burden on soldiers.

“In the medium term, this weapon concept represents a lethal, flexible general-purpose platform,” said Lieutenant-Colonel Serge Lapointe, from the Soldier Systems group in Director Land Requirements – Soldier Systems (DLR 5) of the Canadian Army. “It will be able to operate in all theatres of operations in the most complex terrain including urban areas, mountains, jungles, deserts and the Arctic.”

The development of the weapon prototype posed a considerable challenge. DRDC scientists analyzed advanced material technologies that could replace the metal used in heavy components. The lightweight case telescoped ammunition was tested extensively with the support of the Munitions Experimental Test Centre in Valcartier, Quebec to assess its long-term aging behaviour.

Scientists also studied how to increase the rifle’s accuracy using technology that can automatically detect targets and assist with engaging them. Questions related to the sensors needed to accurately geo-locate targets for target data sharing were also investigated.

How the soldier interacts with the weapon was also the subject of numerous human factor trials. Ergonomic and weapon prototype handling tests were performed by Human Systems Inc., under the supervision of DRDC scientists, with CAF soldiers from military bases in Petawawa and Edmonton. The testing was crucial to developing optimal design criteria to meet the CAF’s needs for the Small Arms Modernization project.

In addition, lessons learned by both DRDC personnel and the CAF during their deployment in Afghanistan revealed critical elements that informed the prototype weapon development process with respect to its design and functionality.

“The results of the first phase of the project have shown that DRDC expertise can be used to provide the Canadian Armed Forces with solid scientific data so they can make more informed decisions for their major acquisition projects,” said Dr. Guy Vézina, the Director General for S&T Army, DRDC.

The new weapon prototype is a promising development for the soldier of the future. The integration of electronic components will allow soldiers to generate or receive data from the command and control network. In the next phase of development, automated target detection and assisted target engagement will be the subject of an in-depth study in the Future Small Arms Research (FSAR) project.

Finally, the development of the integrated weapon prototype and the continuing analysis of promising technologies should facilitate the acquisition of the next generation of small arms by the CAF. The data collected and the analyses documented so far by DRDC scientists will be used in conjunction with the data and analyses that will be generated in the FSAR project to develop the technical criteria that will form part of the statement of operational requirement documentation for the CAF Small Arms Modernization project.
http://www.defense-aerospace.com/articles-view/release/3/160943/canada-develops-new-integrated-assault-rifle-concept.html
 

Grey Havoc

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http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/science/11413503/Soldiers-could-have-their-bones-copied-and-3D-printed-in-case-of-injury.html

A bit hyped, but interesting nonetheless.
 

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http://www.marinecorpstimes.com/story/military/tech/2015/02/16/deadlier-rifles-ammo-may-way/23369675/
 

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http://kitup.military.com/2015/02/army-testing-stackable-grenades.html
 

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Somewhat surprising, as this grenade is mentioned to have mainly blast effect. And AFAIK, this effect
is proportional to the inverse cube roote law. So, using three grenades would certainly not increase
the blast effect 3 times, but just use up the soldiers stock of grenades. The number of splinters, of course
would be tripled.
 

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It's an offensive grenade, so one goal is to minimize fragmentation. Some descriptions suggest they're actually thermobaric, to maximize blast effect. The explosive load in a single unit is less than the current offensive grenade, but it sounds as though the actual blast effect is considerably more. It seems this is as much a hasty demolition charge as an actual grenade -- more for knocking down small buildings than for room clearing.
 

bobbymike

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Weapon system in a box

http://htl.li/L1NPz
 

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Biohackers develop night vision eye drops to see in the dark

Biohacking group Science for the Masses has been experimenting with night vision eye drops (Photo: Science for the Masses)
Image Gallery (2 images) It sounds like something from a science-fiction movie, but a biohacking group in California has managed to develop eye drops that temporarily give a human being excellent night vision. The chemicals used are still very much at the experimental stage – this isn't something you'd want to try at home just yet – but the first trial has been a successful one.
The main ingredient in the eye drop solution is Chlorin e6. It's found in certain deep sea fish, enabling them to find their way around underwater, and it's also been used to treat humans with poor night vision. Essentially, it creates a microscopic chemical reaction that amplifies low light sources as they pass through.
By combining Ce6 with insulin in a saline solution, the Science for the Masses group was able to create a mixture that gave excellent night vision for several hours. The solution was dropped into the the conjunctival sac between the eyeball and eyelid, where it could be absorbed into the retina. The initial black color disappeared after a few seconds according to the researchers.
The members of Science for the Masses ran through several tests using different distances and backgrounds, though the main volunteer Gabriel Licina was forced to wear sunglasses indoors to counter the effects of the interior lighting. Licina was able to recognize people up to 50 m (164 ft) away in a wooded area, even in total darkness.
"The Ce6 subject consistently recognized symbols that did not seem to be visible to the controls," the team explains in the full report. "The Ce6 subject identified the distant figures 100 percent of the time, with the controls showing a 33 percent identification rate."
That's quite a difference, though the organization says it's fully aware this is a one-off experiment and plenty more research will be required to ascertain the safety and suitability of this particular biohack. By the morning, the Ce6 subject's eyes had returned to normal, and no ill effects have been reported 20 days later.
The team says the next stage is to use a Ganzfeld stimulator and an electroretinograph, devices which can be combined to accurately measure the level of electrical stimulation and activity in the eye. This will give Science for the Masses more data to play with and more evidence that their Ce6 solution is working as it should (and working safely).
Science for the Masses is made up of professionals in the research, technical design, and healthcare industries, and like the members of several other biohacking groups they devote their spare time to testing the limits of the human body. The idea of using science to extend the capabilities of human beings doesn't sit well with everyone, but the rise of these types of projects and high-tech wearables means it's an issue we're going to have to deal with in the near future.
http://www.gizmag.com/biohackers-night-vision-eyedrops/36797/
 

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http://www.popsci.com/mit-researchers-3d-print-fish-inspired-body-armor?src=SOC&dom=fb
 

jsport

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Something one doesnt want in their eye and more argument for encompassing environmental suits. Environmental control will become as necessary as added endurance.

http://news.yahoo.com/full-circle-chlorine-now-chemical-weapon-choice-syria-093039236.html
 

bobbymike

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http://www.nationaldefensemagazine.org/archive/2015/May/Pages/PowerRemainsKeyChallengeforBuildingSOCOMsIronManSuit.aspx
 

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http://www.nature.com/news/chinese-scientists-genetically-modify-human-embryos-1.17378

Bring on Variant 13.
 

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http://www.popularmechanics.com/military/research/a15072/drone-strikes-tablet/
 

Grey Havoc

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Kadija_Man said:
Variant 13?
http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/40448.Thirteen
http://www.strangehorizons.com/reviews/2007/11/thirteenblack_m.shtml
http://www.amazon.com/Thirteen-Richard-K-Morgan/dp/0345480899/

In particular I was thinking of a certain Chinese character from the novel.
 

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Ah, OK, now I understand. Thanks for the links.
 

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http://nextbigfuture.com/2015/05/alex-jessup-detailed-future-soldier.html
 

bobbymike

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Brain to computer communication

http://www.army.mil/article/147819
 

bobbymike

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http://blog.ifcj.org/post/israeli-scientists-offer-soldiers-fish-inspired-protection?sm=Blog&s_src=FB&s_subsrc=NFF1500XXEXXX&utm_medium=social&utm_source=facebook.com&utm_campaign=israeli%20innovation&utm_content=israeli%20scientists%20offer%20soldiers%20fish%20inspired%20protection

Fish scales type for body armor.

http://www.foxnews.com/tech/2015/05/05/high-tech-military-goggles-combine-night-vision-thermal-imaging/

Night vision and thermal imaging goggles.
 

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That last bit about fused night vision and thermal imaging is odd. The AN/PSQ-20 has been fielded for 4 years now.




https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zGXbgWqpiUw
 

bobbymike

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http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg22630202.200-us-army-calls-for-ideas-on-invisible-uniforms-for-soldiers.html?utm_source=NSNS&utm_medium=SOC&utm_campaign=hoot&cmpid=SOC%257CNSNS%257C2015-GLOBAL-hoot#.VUr6d2d0ysc

Invisible uniforms??
 

bobbymike

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New light machine gun: M249 put on weight control

http://www.army.mil/article/148002/New_light_machine_gun__M249_put_on_weight_control/

May 6, 2015

PICATINNY ARSENAL, N.J. (Army News Service, May 6, 2015) -- When engineers here looked at the heavy, 17.5-pound M249 carried by Soldiers, they decided to put it on a diet and rearrange some of the components, Kori Phillips said.

She said when her team was finished, the M249, formerly known as the Squad Automatic Weapon, went from 17.5 to 9.2 pounds. That is only about 2 pounds heavier than the M16A2 rifle.

The M249 light machine gun also took on a longer name. It is now called the Cased Telescoped Light Machine Gun, or CT LMG.

Phillips, who spoke during media day here, May 4, is a project engineer with the Joint Service Small Arms Program.

No new exotic metals were used to lighten it, she said, just machining components down in size. As for rearrangements, the biggest was detaching the firing chamber from the barrel.

The new, external firing chamber has the added benefit of keeping the gun cooler and reducing the likelihood of rounds cooking off in the chamber, Phillips said.

As for the rounds, program engineers designed new ones that are cased in a plastic-like substance, replacing the brass cartridges. This, she said, has resulted in a 39-percent reduction of ammo weight.

The CT LMG was test-fired by Soldiers on Fort Benning, Georgia, in September 2011, she said. Those and subsequent tests showed the CT LMG to achieve 25 percent more first-round target hits than the heavier model M249 now in use.

The Soldiers liked it so much, some of the squad leaders said they wanted every Soldier in their squad to have one, she said.

They cannot though, she said, because it is still considered in development until long-term testing determines how well it stands up over time, and, of course it would have to become a program of record. Another round of testing begins this fall. No other timetable was given.

GRENADE MUNITIONS

CT LMG was not the only new developmental weapon on display for media day. Dozens of other systems were too, including a 40mm grenade, which Soldiers can launch from their rifle-mounted grenade launchers.

This is nothing like your grandfather or even father's M433 grenade, fielded in the early 1970s, however.

It is an "autonomous, air-bursting, low velocity" grenade with a "smart fuse," said Steven Gilbert, project manager, Small Arms Grenade Munitions.

Autonomous means Soldiers do not have to do anything different than they do now when they fire grenades except to ensure it is the new autonomous one, he said.

The smart fuse, he said, senses when the grenade is going over a wall and when it does, it air bursts, presumably taking out adversaries hiding behind the wall.

Asked whether it could do the same to an enemy hiding behind a tree, Gilbert said yes, it senses that as well and would burst just as it passes the tree trunk.

Gilbert said that the proximity sensor in the fuse is smart enough to detect clutter nearby the triggering obstacle. The triggering obstacle could be things like a wall or a tree from 50 to 200 meters.

Asked what sort of sensor the grenade contains that differentiates clutter from triggering obstacles, Gilbert said that is highly classified.

The new grenade, which does not have a name yet, can also point detonate up to 400 meters like an ordinary M433. If the sensor doesn't detect a valid obstacle, it simply explodes on impact.

Testing in February showed an airburst reliability of 76 percent. Gilbert did not have a timeline beyond that, as it is not a program of record and is incubating in development.

STAYING ON TRACK

It is hard to stay on track at Picatinny since trees grow between its 1903 Carnegie Steel rails over which ammo trains once rolled during the two world wars. Trucks do the job now.

But scientists and engineers still need to stay on track in the development process, and that can be a problem when the main thing they understand is physics and materials, said Andrea Stevens, Armament Research, Development and Engineering Center's manager for innovation, who keeps their projects from derailing.

There is a lot more than lab work needed to keep a development on track, she said. For example, there is an entire process for getting patents approved - and Picatinny produces more patents each year than any other Army installation. Also, there is the matter of latching on to a funding stream because without that, a project lacks enough steam to move down the track.

And, she said, there are a lot of other things a project might need help on such as modeling. It is one thing to see how a part looks in a CAD drawing and it is another to actually hold the part in your hand.

Today, ordinary people can buy 3-D printers to do that in plastic, she said. Picatinny has those.

Picatinny also has a 3-D printer that can print out various types of flexible plastics and even printed circuit cards used in computers and electronics. That really speeds the development cycle, she said.

The arsenal also houses a 3-D printer that prints in various types of metals so that the prototyped part produced also accurately represents the feel, strength and heft of the one being developed.

Ralph Tillinghast, lab director for the Collaboration Innovation Lab, has that state-of-the art printer that produces 3-D metal objects in many shapes and sizes and even can do very intricate, thread-like details.

The lab's printer does it with lasers, he said. It shoots out a layer of metal and then builds another layer on top of that. Each new layer is welded onto the existing layer by the laser. It can do most metal including steel, stainless steel and even cobalt and titanium.

It does not do so well with aluminum, however, which is considered a soft metal, he said.

Tillinghast said his lab also uses machines parts. He showed a large, heavy bronze part that goes inside an M2A2 aiming circle, which may have been manufactured during World War II and is still in use today for aiming mortars and artillery, sort of like a compass.

He then showed an aluminum part in the exact shape as the bronze one that could be used in its place. Of course, the aluminum was much lighter.

Asked about its strength, he said the aluminum one was actually stronger than the bronze one because it contained strengthening alloys similar to those used in high-performance aircraft parts.

Whatever the engineers need, Stevens and Tillinghast help them and their projects stay on the modernization track.
 

fredymac

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bobbymike said:
New light machine gun: M249 put on weight control

http://www.army.mil/article/148002/New_light_machine_gun__M249_put_on_weight_control/

May 6, 2015

PICATINNY ARSENAL, N.J. (Army News Service, May 6, 2015) -- When engineers here looked at the heavy, 17.5-pound M249 carried by Soldiers, they decided to put it on a diet and rearrange some of the components, Kori Phillips said.

She said when her team was finished, the M249, formerly known as the Squad Automatic Weapon, went from 17.5 to 9.2 pounds. That is only about 2 pounds heavier than the M16A2 rifle.

The M249 light machine gun also took on a longer name. It is now called the Cased Telescoped Light Machine Gun, or CT LMG.

Phillips, who spoke during media day here, May 4, is a project engineer with the Joint Service Small Arms Program.

No new exotic metals were used to lighten it, she said, just machining components down in size. As for rearrangements, the biggest was detaching the firing chamber from the barrel.

The new, external firing chamber has the added benefit of keeping the gun cooler and reducing the likelihood of rounds cooking off in the chamber, Phillips said.

As for the rounds, program engineers designed new ones that are cased in a plastic-like substance, replacing the brass cartridges. This, she said, has resulted in a 39-percent reduction of ammo weight.

The CT LMG was test-fired by Soldiers on Fort Benning, Georgia, in September 2011, she said. Those and subsequent tests showed the CT LMG to achieve 25 percent more first-round target hits than the heavier model M249 now in use.

The Soldiers liked it so much, some of the squad leaders said they wanted every Soldier in their squad to have one, she said.

They cannot though, she said, because it is still considered in development until long-term testing determines how well it stands up over time, and, of course it would have to become a program of record. Another round of testing begins this fall. No other timetable was given.





This article makes it sound like the M249 was modified when in fact they are talking about an entirely new gun derived from the LSAT program. I'm not sure where LSAT is going. I would guess that the logistics of setting up case telescoped ammunition (or the caseless alternative) may be causing second thoughts.




https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WlM8IHij6Hs






https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0dMffBi-cf8
 

SpudmanWP

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There is a compact LSAT too with a folding stock


http://www.military.com/video/guns/machine-guns/compact-ultralight-machine-gun/1863048727001/
 
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