Under the theme of “Trusted Professionals: Today and Tomorrow,” the Association of the United States Army (AUSA) 2014 Annual Meeting and Exposition, held in Washington, D.C., in October hosted more than 600 industry and military exhibits, 10 international pavilions and myriad professional panels. Although difficult to select from among the hundreds of unique equipment items displayed, here are 10 of those items worthy of sharing.
3M Peltor Tactical Earplug
3M used the AUSA event to spotlight its new Peltor Tactical Earplug. Although the company has had a long history of providing tactical hearing protection, the new earplug represents its first standalone in-the-ear solution to tactical hearing challenges like high levels of steady state and impulse noises. The earplug does not integrate into a radio system, which is by design, since developers say that the system is designed for soldiers who don’t carry a radio but still need hearing protection. At the same time that they provide hearing protection, the earplugs also have sound-amplification capabilities for situational hearing and can help troops better hear mission-critical verbal communications in quiet environments. The powered earplugs come in a recharging case.
For more information, visit 3mdefense.com or call 888-262-1776.
BAE Intelligence Situational Awareness
In highlighting its future vehicle technology capabilities, BAE Systems presented a technology demonstration vehicle platform that incorporated a hybrid electric drive system and a turreted tactical laser that could have potential application against targets like unmanned aerial vehicles. The company also profiled a number of other supporting technologies that could also be applied to tomorrow’s fighting vehicles. One example was the Intelligence Situational Awareness system that coupled external cameras with a helmet-mounted sight to provide crewmen with “see-through armor” and the ability to scan their 360-degree surroundings.
For more information, visit baesystems.com.
Barrett M240 Lightweight
According to Ronnie Barrett, Barrett Firearms decided to use AUSA 2014 to highlight “everything the Army is or should or could be interested in.” One of the items drawing attendee interest was Barrett’s M240 Lightweight, which Barrett describes as “basically an M240 or MAG-58 machine gun with a modernized receiver.” Instead of the historic 64-component, riveted-sheet-metal receiver, the Barrett design uses welded construction that eliminates material previously required just to hold the rivets. The elimination of that material translates to a receiver that is 4 pounds lighter. Moreover, eliminating extra weight in the barrel design further reduces system weight by an additional 1.5 pounds. Other M240 Lightweight design features include a new collapsible buttstock, a handguard that attaches to the receiver instead of bolting onto the gas tube and detachable bipod legs.
For more information, visit barrett.net or call 615-896-2938.
Beretta Intelligent Rail
T Worx, the commercialization arm of Prototype Productions, Inc., teamed with Beretta Defense Technologies (BDT) at AUSA 2014 to display a new Intelligent Rail on Beretta’s ARX carbine. The effort reportedly evolved from a Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR) grant to develop a circuit board that can be inserted into a standard Picatinny rail to convey power and data. The design on display at AUSA used a consolidated battery pack in the carbine buttstock, housing six AA batteries to power multiple aiming and sighting devices. The consolidated power source allows the individual devices to be made much smaller and the data capability allows for movement of still or video data from the accessory off of the weapon for additional observation or analysis.
For more information, visit berettadefensetechnologies.com.
General Dynamics LWMMG
General Dynamics’ Ordnance and Tactical Systems continues to display and demonstrate its Lightweight Medium Machine Gun (LWMMG). First unveiled just over two years ago, the LWMMG was developed to meet the needs of the special operations community by filling the current gap that exists between current 7.62mm and .50-caliber machine guns. The LWMMG utilizes a .338 Norma Magnum cartridge that reportedly allows trained gunners to engage point targets at ranges beyond 1,800 meters off of the integral bipod. Developers point to the inherent efficiency of the 300-grain .338 Norma Magnum bullet, explaining that it is double the weight with twice the energy of a 7.62mm bullet at the muzzle and more than five times the energy at 1,000 meters.
For more information, visit gd-ots.com or call 727-578-8100.
General Dynamics MUTT
While the Army continues to study the possible application of robotics in future tactical environments, General Dynamics Land Systems has developed the Multi-Utility Tactical Transport (MUTT), an unmanned “tethered” leader/follower platform that affordably lightens the load of dismounted soldiers. Measuring 66 inches long by 54 inches wide, the MUTT can carry 600 pounds of payload on a highly articulated crawling suspension with an extremely low noise signature. In addition, the MUTT can provide up to 1 kilowatt of expeditionary power.
For more information, visit gdls.com or call 586-825-4000.
Polaris Defense DAGOR
Along with a booth ceremony highlighting the performance of the MRZR within U.S. Special Operations Command, Polaris Defense used AUSA 2014 to launch its new DAGOR (pronounced “Dagger”) ultra-light combat vehicle platform. Drawing on the company’s heritage of extreme special operations mobility systems, DAGOR is a purpose-built vehicle designed with a trophy truck-inspired suspension to carry 3,250 pounds of payload or a nine-man infantry squad at a high rate of speed over terrain usually traveled on foot. In terms of vehicle mobility, the width of the DAGOR allows it to be rapidly loading into the CH-47 Chinook platform without modification, and the weight allows it to be sling loaded under the UH-60 Black Hawk.
For more information, visit polarisdefense.com or call 866-468-7783.
QinetiQ TALON V
The new TALON V robot was unveiled at AUSA 2014 by QinetiQ North America. The next generation of the popular TALON family is an “open architecture robot” that embraces the U.S. Army’s unmanned systems interoperability profile to allow the easy integration of new capabilities to the robot. Modules like cameras, communications packages, navigation and manipulation tools can easily be replaced by specialized payloads from another vendor using this interoperability profile.
For more information, visit qinetiq-na.com or call 781-684-4000.
Revision Military highlighted its expanding capabilities beyond vision, head and body protection to include a new torso-cooling vest developed for one of the special operations Tactical Assault Light Operator Suit (TALOS) ensembles and its new NervCenter line of power products. One of the products is a Lightweight Assault Battery that is designed to fit into a standard ammunition pouch and provide power capacity somewhere between current Li-80 and Li-145 batteries, translating to 24 hours of individual operations within a rifle squad. The larger element, the SharePack, is a conformal battery with a complete power management system that fits in a side plate compartment and provides 9 to 36 volts while eliminating much of the current ancillary power equipment.
For more information, visit revisionmilitary.com or call 802-879-7002.
Textron Systems OSRVT
Textron Systems pointed to the latest upgrade to its One Station Remote Video Terminal (OSRVT). With more than 3100 OSRVTs fielded to Army, Marine Corps and special operations elements, OSRVT provides its users with the ability to access video feeds from unmanned aircraft systems (UAS). The new “OSRVT-50” upgrade to the entire inventory will provide its users with “bi-directional” capabilities, allowing warfighters to control UAS payloads to obtain better information on particular areas of interest. Looking toward the future, the company also exhibited notional repackaging of OSRVT capabilities in a range of configurations, from a wrist-worn system to an Android device that could be employed by police or civil fire elements who might have UAS access in the future.
For more information, visit textronsystems.com or call 978-657-5111.