Chapter IV. Technology Development
Army Science and Technology Master Plan (ASTMP 1997)


F. Individual Survivability and Sustainability

The area of Individual Survivability and Sustainability in the FY96 ASTMP is now divided into two subareas under the new Human Systems area.

1. Scope

Individual Survivability and Sustainability focuses on protecting and sustaining the individual warfighter—ultimately the most critical element of any weapon system on the digitized battlefield. By providing food, drinking water, clothing, airdrop, and shelter, this technology area ensures warfighter survivability and performance and enhances readiness and quality of life on the battlefield and in operations other than war.

This technology area comprises two subareas: (1) Individual Survivability and (2) Sustainability. The Individual Survivability subarea includes all material and combat clothing systems for protection of the individual warfighter. These efforts provide technology advancements in the areas of individual ballistic protection, countermeasures to sensors, head gear and laser eye protection, multifunctional materials, and warrior performance and endurance enhancements.

The Sustainability subarea includes scientific and technological efforts to sustain and enhance warfighter performance and combat effectiveness. These range from nutritional performance enhancement, food preservation, food service equipment, energy technologies, and drinking water to advanced and precision cargo/personnel airdrop and airbeam technologies for shelters. Technologies pursued in this effort address the need to "fuel the fighter"—to deliver the right nutrients at the right levels at the right time in the right combination, to provide versatile airdrop capabilities critical to worldwide force projection and resupply, and to provide rapidly deployable shelters in forward areas.

2. Rationale for Investment

a. Relationship to Military Capabilities/Needs

Providing multipurpose protective clothing, individual equipment, rations, water, airdrop equipment, and inflatable shelters in all terrains and environments will provide the broad military capability and technological edge to rapidly respond on a global basis to a diverse variety of missions. The most significant payoffs are those which increase battlefield survivability and sustain and enhance performance. (Refer to individual subareas for more specific relationships to military capabilities.) Figure IV-F-1 depicts the four Army mission requirements supported by these subareas: (1) protective clothing and equipment, (2) rations and water, (3) air delivery systems, and (4) airbeam-supported shelters.

Figure IV-F-1. Army Mission Requirements in Individual Survivability and Sustainability

 

 

Combat warrior outfitted for the 21st century with a computer/radio, protective clothing, and individual equipment, software, integrated helmet assembly, and weapon systems.

High Glide, Semi-Rigid Wing Air Delivery System, a high-altitude, autonomoously guided, offset cargo airdrop system that will minimize aircraft vulnerability to low altitude threats and enhance the rapid deployment and precision delivery of sensors and munitions

Nutritious field rations and water fuel the combat soldier and enhance performance.

Airbeams will drastically reduce weight, set-up time, and packed volume of current frame-supported tents (Large Area Night Maintenance Shelter shown).

b. Technical Forecast

Foreseeable advances in individual survivability technologies include development of next generation advanced materials for multiple threat protection; technology to provide fragmentation and small arms ballistic protection at 30 percent reduced weight; materials to prevent detection by multispectral sensor devices; clothing systems that provide thermal and environmental protection with minimum bulk and weight; and development and application of integrated soldier and small unit battlefield performance simulations that support analysis of technology enhancements.

Foreseeable advances in sustainability technologies include targeted and modulated nutrient delivery for heightened mental acuity and physical performance; use of intrinsic chemical markers to validate sterility of thermally processed foods; biosensors to monitor ration deterioration; use of nonthermal processing technologies (such as irradiation or pulsed electric fields) to preserve foods; use of integral chemical heating technology in self-activating package configurations to ensure hot meals sites; use of integral power generation, advanced insulation, materials, and non/low-powered generated refrigeration for rapidly deployable field kitchens; new water purification technology; prediction of parachute behavior and performance during parachute opening; autonomous and precision guidance, navigation, and control for stand-off air delivery using flexible gliding wings; parachute design for manufacturability; soft landing technologies; and new textile manufacturing technology for airbeams.

c. Payoffs

Payoffs in the individual survivability area include significant casualty reduction through enhanced small arms protection; reduced detectability by both conventional and emerging battlefield sensors; individual flame, firefighting, and environmental protection through multifunctional protective materials; laser eye protective systems; development of lightweight, low power, man-portable microclimate conditioning; improved techniques for measurement and prediction of thermal performance characteristics of clothing; and helmet-mounted displays that link the individual with information, communications, and targeting systems.

In the sustainability area, payoffs include ration systems that sustain and support highly mobile, forward deployed troops and provide enhanced performance capabilities such as improved target acquisition, enhanced cognitive skills and decision making (particularly under stressful battlefield conditions), extended mission endurance, and increased alertness; improved food packaging that protects and prevents ration components from physically or microbiologically deteriorating in extreme conditions; improved food safety/stability and quality in all environments; improved fuel/energy efficiency; improved technology to provide drinking water; and operational readiness and rapid deployability. Specific payoffs in airdrop technology include the means of delivering critical equipment, personnel, and supplies with greater accuracy, safety, and precision, resulting in greatly reduced personnel airdrop injury rates and increased survivability of delivery aircraft; support to rapid force entry tactics by reducing drop zone size requirements resulting in a faster consolidation of force and allowing for just-in-time resupply of rapidly moving forces; and reduced development, testing, and procurement costs through predictive performance and design optimization modeling and virtual testing. Payoffs from pressurized airbeam technology include significant reductions in weight, set-up times, and packed volume of soft shelters for rapid deployability in forward areas.

d. Transition Efforts

Emphasis is placed on transitioning cutting edge technologies into advanced technology demonstrations, advanced and engineering development programs, and directly into fielded items through specification changes and product improvements. There is also extensive collaboration with industry as evidenced by 17 active Cooperative Research and Development Agreements (CRDAs). Although some investment is focused on military-unique applications, many of the basic clothing, food, and portable shelter technologies are inherently dual use. (Refer to the individual sub-areas for more specific transitions and dual use opportunities.)

3. Technology Subareas

a. Individual Survivability

Scope

The individual survivability technology subarea addresses the full range of combat, environmental, and special purpose protective materials and components. The scope of the program includes textile and composite-based material systems and design concepts for individual ballistic protection; countermeasures to sensors; multifunctional materials (to include environmental and flame/thermal protection); warrior performance and endurance enhancement; laser eye protection; and integration of soldier system modular components. Supporting technologies include bioengineered materials for protection and analytic tools with resolution to capture battlefield effects of fatigue, load, environmental exposure, hydration, terrain, and so forth.

Potential Payoffs

Impact on Military Capability

Individual survivability technology developments are high-payoff investments that support many of the JCS mission capability areas. Capabilities provided by the Force XXI Land Warrior will include integrated POS/NAV (GPS and inertial navigation); enhanced night maneuverability; and modular, lightweight, and interoperable components tailorable to mission requirements. The individual will be linked to the digitized command and control network with near-real time battlefield intelligence. Capabilities such as accurate, automated target hand-off, unexposed firing/viewing, and signature suppression/control ensure a precision strike capability at the individual combatant level. The Army/DARPA program for helmet-mounted displays will provide an integrated headgear system (for mounted crewmen) to increase situational awareness and magnify the ability to fulfill demanding operational needs. Additionally, technologies will be pursued in multiple threat protection, wireless weapons interface, small arms body armor, countermeasures to sensors, and enhanced situational awareness. To speed this process, object-oriented modeling tools are used to develop an automated environment to enhance analytic capabilities and to promote rigorous analyses of survivability and equipment alternatives and physiological performance in a hypothetical operational environment.

Potential Benefits to the Industrial Base

Dual-use applications include high-performance fibers for ballistic/blast protection for law enforcement agencies; aircraft cargo containers; use in aerospace, electronics, and automobile industries; and recreational sport applications. Flame and thermal resistant fibers have strong dual-use in firefighting applications, race car driving, industrial workwear, hotel furnishings, and piloting. The anthropometric data base/models have commercial applications in the design and sizing of clothing systems and equipment such as boots, athletic footwear, gloves, and helmets. Cooperative R&D Agreements (CRDAs) with industry and development programs with major universities are aggressively pursued. Five active CRDAs include biogenetically engineered spider silk (Hoechst-Celanese, Inc.); biodegradable materials (International Optical Telecommunications, Inc. and Zeneca, Inc.); and enzymatic synthesis of new polymers (Rohm and Haas).

Technology Development Plan

Survivability Technology Taxonomy

Ballistic protection—Research for protection against flechettes, small arms, and high velocity fragmentation and blast threats from mines and bursting munitions; Countermeasures to sensors—Research on textile materials for camouflage for the individual soldier; Multifunctional materials—Fibers, fabrics, clothing systems, and techniques for individual protection in all climates against high heat sources and flame, and across all terrains and environmental extremes, including encapsulation and water immersion. Whole body protection against lasers, microwaves, and nuclear/thermal threats; Warrior performance and endurance enhancement—Research and integrated application of anthropometry, biomechanics, biophysics as scientific/engineering tools. Integrated individual protective systems and mechanisms to reduce effects of physical and environmental stresses, increase mobility, increase mission duration, and optimize the human/material/equipment interface; and Laser eye protection—Research into technologies affording protection from multiline and tunable lasers.

Major Technical Challenges/Approaches

Challenge: Development of polymeric materials for ballistic protection. Approach: Copolymerize high strength polymers [aramid-based, polyimide-based, and poly (para-phenylene benzobisoxazole)-based] to tailor properties specifically for improved ballistic protection. Crosslink aramid-based polymers to improve lateral properties (e.g., "through-the-thickness" yield stress and modules). Modify processing variations to produce high molecular weight polymer fibers and optimize morphology (e.g., molecular structure, crystallinity, and orientation) or fibers.

Challenge: Provide passive protection against advanced sensors without degrading current visual and near-infrared camouflage protection, while maintaining desired/required textile properties (e.g., durable, launderable, flexible, nontoxic). Countermeasures should not increase the bulk or heat stress on the soldier beyond levels imposed by existing clothing systems. Approach: The sensor of major importance at the present time is the thermal imager. Based on the physics of the problem, there are two approaches to solving this problem for the soldier: control the emissivity of the uniform or actually cool the soldier so that he provides a less conspicuous target to the sensor. Since a passive (not-powered), lightweight system is desired, research has concentrated on novel materials to control the emissivity without degrading fabric performance.

Challenge: Durable combat uniforms that provide protection against multiple threats, that are cost-effective, and that do not impose a heat stress penalty. Approaches: (1) Explore novel fibers, fiber blends, fabric constructions, and functional finishes that will provide protection against flame, environmental, and electrostatic hazards while providing visual and near-infrared camouflage protection; (2) Investigate/develop novel dyeing and finishing technology for flame resistant materials to provide an affordable, accurate, and simple means of determining a flame resistant garment’s protection.

Challenge: Deposition of robust dielectric coatings on polycarbonate to block the near-IR band and a narrow line attenuator. Approach: Development of dielectric stacks for broadband laser protection in a joint effort with the USMC and PM-ACIS. Narrow line attenuators are being developed using eye-centered holograms. Dyes will be used for blocking the blue region of the spectrum.

Challenge: Modular performance augmenting components integrated within the fighting systems. Approaches: (1) Using biomechanical and mechanical engineering tools, develop an ergonomically efficient load-bearing system that is compatible with other system components, has a quick-release capability, is comfortable, reduces fatigue and localized injury, and increases mobility and combat effectiveness; (2) Develop a boot design to reduce stress-related lower extremity injuries and enhance locomotor efficiency.

b. Sustainability

Scope

This subarea focuses on warfighter sustainment by providing high quality, nutritious rations, drinking water, advanced airdrop capabilities, and rapidly deployable food service equipment and inflatable shelters for forward areas. In the ration area, efforts focus on the unique military combat field feeding requirements not addressed in the private sector: low volume and weight, modularity, high nutrient density, storage stability under environmental extremes, and the battlefield logistics of providing hot food. Science and technology efforts include three main areas: (1) nutritional performance enhancement by formulating rations to provide energy and other essential nutrients, and to increase alertness and extend endurance in combat and in environmental extremes; (2) ration preservation and stabilization to prevent microbial, physical, and biochemical deterioration and to withstand the rigors of long-term military storage and distribution worldwide; and (3) field food service equipment and systems that are highly mobile, fuel efficient, and consistent with minimizing the logistics burden. Innovative water purification technology is being developed to provide drinking water to field troops. In the airdrop area, efforts focus on advanced and precision offset air delivery for cargo and personnel, high glide deployable wings, the integration of guidance, navigation, and control for rapid deployment and just-in-time resupply, and soft landing technologies for cargo and personnel. Inflatable airbeam structure technology, including three-dimensional weaving and braiding, and scaling and shape definition will provide airbeam shelters for rapidly deployable forces and continuous operations of tactical rotary aircraft and combat vehicles.

Potential Payoffs

Impact on Military Capability

In the sustainability area, performance-enhancing ration components will increase the warfighter’s mental acuity, physical performance, and ability to deal with battlefield stress. New thermal and nonthermal preservation and active packaging technologies will result in the capability to provide high quality rations for optimizing nutrient consumption.

A new water purification technology will be applicable to military water treatment equipment ranging from individual purifiers to division and corps level units. This new technology will meet or exceed the performance of existing reverse osmosis membranes.

Initiatives in advanced and precision airdrop technology will provide capabilities critical to both rapid worldwide insertion of CONUS-based initial forces and just-in-time resupply of rapidly moving forces. Airdrop technology also provides a low cost, highly accurate means of delivering personnel, munitions, and batteries and of emplacing sensors, which are necessary for real-time knowledge and digitization of the battlefield and for precision guided, stand-off delivery to reduce the vulnerability of the delivery aircraft and crew.

Inflatable airbeam structures provide rapidly deployable shelters in forward areas for performing vehicle and aircraft maintenance in adverse environments and under blackout conditions. Also, these inflatable structures will assist in quickly establishing a presence in remote areas without adequate facilities for maintenance, storage, medical, billeting, and command and control (C2) centers.

Potential Benefits to the Industrial Base

Significant dual-use applications exist for disaster and humanitarian relief, for sports and other recreational activities (campers, backpackers, hunters, etc.), for forest fighting, and for special dietary concerns (shelf-stable flexibly packaged foods). The new water purification technology will also be applicable to municipal desalination plants.

Twelve CRDAs include the following: meals in microwave retort pouch (My Own Meals, Inc.); radiation preservation of foods (Food Technology Service, Inc.); shelf-stable breads and bakery products (Mila’s European Bakery); microencapsulation of performance modifying nutrients (BioMolecular Products, Inc.); edible films (Marine Polymer Technologies, Inc.); encapsulation systems for lipids and flavors in military rations (IGI, Inc.); individual ration components for military/commercial use (M&M, Mars, Inc.); integration of hydrogen suppression material in flameless ration heater (Zestotherm, Inc., and Dynatron, Inc.); intermediate moisture foods (Good Mark Foods, Inc.); antifungal/antibacterial agent (Green Cross Corp. of Japan); and airbags as impact attenuators for airdrop soft landing (Marotta Scientific Control, Inc.). There are several CRDAs under negotiation.

While industry has assumed the lead role in applying irradiation technology, supported research, in coordination with USDA and industry, contributes directly to providing the scientific basis required for gaining regulatory approval for the use of this technology for both military and civilian benefit. Additionally, there is joint industrial collaborative research to exploit novel quality enhancement and quantification technologies, high pressure processing treatment, and ohmic processing. Using novel methodologies developed by DA, these new processes will be validated as microbiologically safe and will lead to the production for both civilian and military consumers of a wide variety of safe and appealing foods that otherwise would not be possible using conventional thermoprocessing.

Technology Development Plan

Specific sustainability technology efforts are defined by the following taxonomy: Preservation and stabilization technologies—Research in food science, physical chemistry, behavioral sciences, chemical engineering, and packaging, as they relate to novel food formulation, preservation, stabilization, processing, protection, and other related technologies; Performance enhancement and nutrition technologies—Research in food science (e.g., encapsulation, molecular inclusion), physical chemistry, nutrition, nutritional biochemistry, behavioral sciences, neurophysiology, chemical engineering, packaging, and other related technologies; Food service equipment/energy technologies—Research in combustion, thermodynamics, heat transfer, thermoelectric power generation, automatic control, material, and refrigeration technologies; Water purification technology for drinking water—Research to prove the feasibility of a technology with a 300 percent increase in operating/storage life, a 50 percent increase in water flux, and tolerance of 5 ppm chlorine when compared with conventional reverse osmosis; Airdrop technology—Research in designs and concepts for parachutes/gliding wings and cargo/personnel airdrop systems; aerodynamics and control of deceleration; theoretical/computational prediction and experimental determination of decelerator behavior and performance; biomechanics of parachutists; and personnel/system interfaces to improve safety and logistics; and Airbeam technology for shelters—Research in fibers, fabrics, fabric stress/strain properties, manufacturing technologies, coatings and concepts for airbeam structures and textile-based shelters.

Major Technical Challenges/Approaches

Challenge: Natural complexity of food systems affects the chemical, physical, and nutritional characteristics leading to undesirable changes that are often further compounded by lengthy, uncontrolled storage. Approaches: (1) Determine relationship between formulations/processes and glass transition temperature using dynamic mechanical analysis and electron spin resonance, and correlate results with rate of change of critical physical and chemical properties of rations; (2) Evaluate new preservation methods that produce shelf-stable foods with the taste and appearance of "home-cooked" meals; and (3) Investigate multifunctional packaging adjuvants (e.g., oxygen scavenging, antimicrobial, nutrient protection, color protection).

Challenge: Methodology to provide data needed to establish links between specific nutrient intake and performance. Approaches: (1) Investigate methodologies for assessing the bioavailability and actual uptake of a variety of nutrients; and (2) Develop rapid and precise methods for determining physiological availability of nutrients in rations subjected to time-temperature stresses.

Challenge: Develop a rapidly deployable field kitchen featuring advances in diesel combustion, heat transfer, integral power, and refrigeration that can produce high quality meals quickly and economically. Approaches: Develop integral power generation, advanced insulating materials, and non/low-powered regenerative refrigeration. Integrate these technologies within the Army Field Feeding System—Future.

Challenge: Develop new water purification technology with a 300 percent increase in operating and storage life, a 50 percent increase in water flux, tolerance to 5 ppm chlorine, temperatures up to 165F, and pH from 5.0 to 9.5 when compared to conventional reverse osmosis membranes.

Challenge: Analysis of the transient parachute opening processes due to the complicated interaction between the flexible and porous parachute canopy fabric and its surrounding air flow. Approach: Numerical coupling of the air flow process and the canopy fabric requires unsteady three-dimensional fluid/structure analysis and modeling.

Challenge. Effectively dissipate airdrop kinetic energy to provide a soft-landing capability for cargo and personnel. Approaches: (1) Investigate and demonstrate airbags with advanced gas injection technologies for application to heavy cargo airdrop, (2) conduct predictive performance modeling, experimentation, and demonstration of gas operated parachute retraction concepts for application to light cargo and personnel airdrop, and (3) explore new decelerator concepts that provide increased drag efficiency.

Challenge. Lower cost, lighter weight, reduced volume parachutes. Approaches: (1) Develop and demonstrate advanced hybrid architecture for personel and cargo parachute applications that optimize performance with minimal construction using 2-dimensional woven fabrics, and (2) investigate and exploit 3-dimensional weaving technologies that virtually eliminate joints and seams in constructed parachutes.

Challenge: Producible, reliable airbeam fabrication. Approaches: Small diameter, high pressure airbeams will be demonstrated by continuously braiding and weaving a high strength, 3-dimensional fabric sleeve over an air retention bladder. Scaling parameters and airbeam structural behavior will enable fabrication for various sizes of soft shelters.

4. Roadmap of Technology Objectives

The roadmap of technology objectives for Individual Survivability and Sustainability is shown in Table IV-F-1, which follows.

Table IV-F-1 Technical Objectives for Individual Survivability and Sustainability

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