Security (S&B/CBRNE) Magazine

Spring 2017

Security & Border Protection and CST & CBRNE Source Book, published jointly, concentrate on WMD response, NGB training, counterterrorism, and border security

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 20 of 35

score test subjects get from performing a battery of exercises. "In a test, you have to work with somebody who has good movement to begin with," Howell reasoned. "If a person doesn't have good range of motion in their joints before they put on the armor, it's not going to provide the best data." Howell began the test by having prospective participants, indoors, perform five exercises wearing only summer physical training t-shirt and shorts. Soldiers passing the baseline test then did the same exercises in the first tier of body armor, progressing up to the fourth. "From that we were able to see if wearing the extra levels of body armor restrict movement," said Howell. "Obviously it will to some degree eventually, but we were able to see if they still had an acceptable range of motion or how severe the degradation of motion was." Austere Conditions Ready or Nothing Exercises like the overhead deep squat employed in the screening are difficult, but nothing compared to what was in store once Soldiers from Fort Wainwright's 25th Infantry Division took the test outside into sub-zero winter. On foot march days, the Soldiers hiked eight miles in the given tier with standard 35 to 40 pound pack, while wearing the appropriate level of the Extended Cold Weather Clothing System (ECWCS). This three-hour ordeal was repeated wearing each configuration of body armor: if they were lucky, they got breaks every 20 to 30 minutes. "It depended on how cold it was: if it was really cold, we tried to just keep moving," said Howell, who marched alongside. "You try not to sweat while you're walking, but you really can't avoid it when you're carrying that much gear. Sweating is very dangerous in an extreme cold environment." On the obstacle course, Soldiers had to wear each configuration of the armor through an ordeal that included a 400 meter run, a low-crawl tunnel, mock windows, stairs, ladders of varying widths and heights, a 200 meter shuttle carrying two 30 pound ammo cans and a balance beam across which they had to haul the pair of 30 pound ammunition cans. "That day was a real smoker," said Howell. To test the new quick-release feature of the armor, the Soldiers had to release, reassemble, and don their armor within seconds, repeating the task scores of times for each configuration in standing, kneeling, and prone positions as sub-zero snow blew and data collectors looked on. To ensure a Soldier wearing the armor could effectively remove a wounded comrade also wearing it from danger, casualty drag evaluations were conducted with real Soldiers portraying mock wounded. The Soldiers also did marksmanship training wearing the armor, firing over 2,400 rounds in the process. Vehicle-Compatible Criticality One final portion of the test, ingress and egress from a combat vehicle, had special applicability to the latest variant of the Stryker combat vehicle, which was simultaneously under evaluation at CRTC. The Soldiers entered and exited all hatches of the vehicle wearing the full complement of armor and all seven levels of the ECWCS system , ensuring everything in the vehicle could be touched and reached, and wouldn't snag their gear. The findings applied to both tests, which both test officers saw as a bonus. "It was great coordination between the two tests to pick the appropriate miserable day to get the Soldiers to do some limited ingress-egress testing," said Richard Reiser, test officer. "When this vehicle is fielded and the Soldiers have the new body armor, we'll already know it isn't an issue for ingress and egress." "The whole test was taxing for the Soldiers, but they put in an outstanding effort," said Howell. "We found a lot of limitations and improvements the project manager is already improving upon or implementing." Test officer Isaac Howell (left) accompanied the participating Soldiers on the foot marches, each carrying 35 to 40 pound packs. If they were lucky, they got breaks every 20 to 30 minutes. "It depended on how cold it was," said Howell. "If it was really cold, we tried to just keep moving." (Photo by Sebastian Sarrloos) ADVANCING PROTECTIVE MODULARITY BODY ARMOR Spring 2017 | S&BP and CST & CBRNE | 19

Articles in this issue

Links on this page

Archives of this issue

view archives of Security (S&B/CBRNE) Magazine - Spring 2017