The U.S. Army Futures Command and the Maneuver Support Center of Excellence held a demonstration day May 9 at Training Area 190, showing off new technologies being employed on the battlefield, according to Sam Campbell and Leonard Wood.
The event, named Maneuver Support, Sustainment and Protection Integration Experiments, or MSSPIX for short, provided capability developers and the science and technology community a credible operational experiment venue to support materiel and concept development.
According to MSCoE, objectives of the experimental technology day were to enable future Soldiers to better understand the operational environment, conduct shaping activities to influence enemy forces, better mitigate the effects of terrain-based obstacles and provide enhanced protection capabilities for Soldiers on the battlefield.
Various technologies were put on display, including a remote-controlled bulldozer, the Mobile Electric Hybrid Power Sources, which is a solar and fuel dual-powered energy management system, a thin, band-shaped explosive device named the Bandolier, and the Threat-Mapped Protection Assessment and Simulation Tool, a software designed for tactical planning which generates a 3D model to visualize risks from differing scenarios.
Capt. Samuel Carbajal, 89th Military Police Brigade, of Fort Riley, Kansas, said the TMPAST software allows users to know the percent by which they have reduced threats and which changed measures helped in achieving that.
“You link up direct and indirect threats and then you get what we call heat maps,” he said. “The heat maps go from dark blue to bright red; the brighter the color outside of a protective area means the bigger the threat.”
“The heat map within a defined protective area, going from dark blue to bright red would show the higher vulnerability,” he said. “(Users) can refine a protection plan and put in additional protection materials, and hopefully what (they) would see by re-running the simulations are darker colors inside and outside of (their) protective area.”
According to its manufacturer, the Bandolier, a lightweight terrain conforming clearing charge, has seen results in relative effectiveness 24 percent greater than that of traditional C-4 explosives.
“(Let’s) say you want to clear a landing zone,” said Bruce Archambault, a representative from Critical Solutions International. “Tie (the Bandolier) to a tree. Very powerful.”
During the Bandolier’s testing, he said, Soldiers were equipped with blast gauges, which measure the amount of pressure, in pounds per square inch, exerted on them from the explosion. Data taken from these devices could assist in improving safety practices and preventing injuries, he added.
The Thermal Erosion Cutting Torch, which uses thermite in the form of a handheld breaching tool, was the last and most luminous device demonstrated for exhibition attendees.
According to the manufacturer, the torch outputs temperatures exceeding that of lava by about two-fold and can cut through material as strong as rebar.