June 26, 2012

Army research official visits Afghanistan

Cargo parachutes drop fuel to a combat outpost in Afghanistan, Sept. 16, 2011. Army researchers are testing a quick release system to be fielded later this year.

A senior research and development leader spoke with Army officials at Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan, June 11-13. Army leaders in the field are seeking technology solutions for complex challenges.

“The commanders have a need for low-cost quick release systems for airdrop bundles,” said Dr. Jack Obusek, Sc.D., U.S. Army Natick Soldier Research, Development and Engineering Center director. “A quick release system would prevent cargo from being swept out of friendly hands when parachutes get dragged on the ground in high wind conditions.”

Army researchers from the Natick Soldier Research, Development and Engineering Center test a new quick release system for more effective cargo delivery.

Army researchers have been developing prototype quick release devices and has plans to provide a substantial number to U.S. troops in Afghanistan later this year.

“We’re looking to significantly accelerate this effort and checking whether our forward deployed research center or stateside prototype facilities can produce the prototypes,” he said.

Obusek also discussed a possible far forward medical aid capability package. The research center and the PM and the medical community have recently entered full production on a modular medical package that will provide near intensive care unit-like capabilities to soldiers serving forward.

Obusek said he received positive feedback from Soldiers on the First Strike Ration and the Army Combat Shirt – two initiatives developed at Natick. He met with medical staff to discuss new materials for protective equipment and received many great ideas for future technology development.

Obusek leads an 800-person military and civilian workforce at NSRDEC, located in Natick, Mass. The center is part of the U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command with the mission to maximize a soldier’s survivability, sustainability, mobility and combat effectiveness.

This was Obusek’s first visit to Afghanistan since being named as the NSRDEC director in January 2011.

Army researchers from the Natick Soldier Research, Development and Engineering Center test a new quick release system for more effective cargo delivery.

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