Home' Army Acquisition Logistics and Technology Magazine : Army ALT January-March 2012 Contents 84 Army AL&T Magazine
From new grenade launchers to
solar-powered portable power sys-
tems, the U.S. Army's research and
development (R&D) community
has produced myriad top inventions for
Soldiers. In some cases, Soldiers have
invented solutions for the R&D commu-
nity to develop. The Army acknowledged
new, outstanding technologies invented
in 2010 during its annual Army Greatest
Inventions awards ceremony, held Oct.
10, 2011, as part of the Association of
the United States Army's Annual Meeting
and Exposition in Washington, DC.
Heidi Shyu, Acting Assistant Secretary
of the Army for Acquisition, Logistics,
and Technology and Army Acquisition
Executive, emphasized that all of these
inventions coming out of the Army
benefit Soldiers everywhere. "You are
innovating and saving the lives of Sol-
diers. That's what is important. That's
why we're all here," she said. "Anything
you do to innovate and help our Soldiers
is incredibly appreciated by the folks who
Commending both the nominees and
winners, Army Chief Scientist Dr. Scott
Fish said, "They are all driven by a deep
desire to make things better. They are not
satisfied with the concept of utopia. They
go beyond that. They make something
real. They make it happen now."
The winners were selected by a group of
10 Soldiers, both NCOs and field-grade
officers. The Soldiers evaluated each
nomination based on its importance and
impact in the field.
The inventions made a strong impression
on the judging panel. "It opened my eyes
to the fact that there are a lot of people
who dedicate many resources to improv-
ing the Army by getting better or modified
equipment in the hands of Soldiers so we
can be more effective as a fighting force,"
said SFC Stanley J. Smith, a panel judge
and analyst at the Communications-
Electronic Research, Development, and
Engineering Center (CERDEC).
SFC Lafonte Bennett, another judge, had
a similar reaction. "I knew that new tech
was being sent to the field on a rapid basis,
but I was not aware that we had this kind
of influence on what was sent out and
when," said Bennett, who is assigned to
the U.S. Army Research Laboratory.
This was also the Army's first observance
of the Soldier Greatest Invention awards;
two awards were added to the program
to recognize Soldiers for their individual
efforts in enhancing their fellow Soldiers'
equipment and performance.
The 10 top inventions follow, in alpha-
40mm Infrared Illuminant Cartridge,
M992---Developed by the U.S. Army
Armament Research, Development, and
Engineering Center (ARDEC), this new
cartridge, one of six inventions for which
ARDEC received awards, produces infra-
red light that is invisible to the naked eye
but is clearly visible to Soldiers using cur-
rently fielded night vision devices.
The cartridge enables Soldiers to more
effectively engage the enemy at night. It is
the first infrared illuminant system created
for individual Soldier use, said Gregory
Bubniak, Project Officer 40mm Ammuni-
tion for Program Executive Office (PEO)
Ammunition's Project Manager Maneuver
While the military has used illuminating car-
tridges and polytechnic flares for many years,
the light was only provided in the visible
spectrum, and the enemy could see it as well.
The M992 is designed for use with the
M203 and M320 40mm grenade launch-
ers, along with the legacy M79 40mm
5.56mm M855A1 Enhanced Perfor-
mance Round---First fielded to U.S.
troops in Afghanistan in the summer of
2010, ARDEC's 5.56 M855A1 Enhanced
Performance Round is an improvement in
three areas: soft-target consistency, hard-
target penetration, and performance at an
The M855A1's hardened-steel penetrator,
which is in addition to a steel penetrator
hidden in the tip of the jacket, is nearly
twice as heavy, sharper, and exposed,
allowing for better performance. The
M855A1 also reflects the Army's priority
of improving "green" power and systems;
its use of a copper slug instead of a lead
slug makes the round more environmen-
In extensive testing and qualification of
the M855A1, the Army fired more than
1 million rounds, making it the most
thoroughly tested small caliber round
to be fielded in U.S. history. Since June
2011, PEO Ammunition has fielded
nearly 30 million M855A1 Enhanced
Performance Rounds in Afghanistan. It
is designed for use in the M4 weapon
system and improves performance of the
M16 and the M249 families of weapons.
The M885A1 replaces the current M855
cartridge, which has been in use since the
Green Eyes -- Escalation of Force Kit
Integration with the CROWS System---
Supporting PEO Soldier's Project Manager
Soldier Weapons, ARDEC's "Green Eyes"
kit is designed to temporarily disrupt a
person's vision, making driving a vehicle
or aiming a weapon nearly impossible.
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