Business

July 26, 2013

Natick develops holster for M320 grenade launcher

Darren Bean, an equipment specialist with Product Manager Soldier Clothing and Individual Equipment at Natick Soldier Systems Center, Mass., has been working since November 2012 on the M320GL Holster Soldier Enhancement Program.

 
When the M320 40 mm grenade launcher began replacing the M203 in 2009, it put a new and more lethal weapon into the hands of the soldier.

There was one question, however. How would he or she best carry it?

An equipment specialist with Product Manager Soldier Clothing and Individual Equipment, or PM SCIE, is trying to answer that question. Darren Bean has been working at the Natick Soldier Systems Center since November 2012 on the M320GL Holster Soldier Enhancement Program, or SEP.

The detachable M320, named one of the Army’s top 10 inventions of 2009, comes equipped with a sling to carry it when not mounted to the M4 carbine or M16 rifle, according to Bean.

“It was a one-point sling, so (the weapon) was kind of bouncing around,” Bean said. “If you went down to the ground, you were dragging it through the dirt. Most people felt that protection was needed at some level because they were just getting dragged in the dirt and pounded on.”

Some soldiers began looking for a better solution than the sling for the M320, which weighs seven pounds with the butt stock.

“They decided they wanted to be able to put it in a holster rather than just shove it in their ruck sack,” Bean said.

The SEP allowed the purchase of enough holsters to equip a brigade combat team. He said the “buy-try-decide” concept allows the Army to test the functionality of equipment without spending a lot of time on research and development.

Bean found three commercial vendors who make M320 holsters, so PM SCIE acquired 167 of each.

“They’re of varying design,” Bean said. “All three of them were very different from each other.”

One model includes pockets for grenades but is bulky. Another is more streamlined but offers less protection for the weapon. The third is a cross between the other two.

Bean put the holsters in the hands of a dozen Soldiers from the 75th Ranger Regiment at Fort Benning, Ga., who went through a set of standardized tests in mid-May. The soldiers filled out surveys after the testing.

The testing was to make sure it was realistic to go forward, Bean said.

“Now we can actually test them with an entire brigade,” he added.

Each one of the holsters has had small issues, according to Bean.

“None of them have performed necessarily any better than the other ones,” Bean said. “They all have some small things that need to be tweaked.”

Soldiers of the 10th Mountain Division (Light Infantry) from Fort Drum, N.Y., the 86th Infantry Brigade Combat Team of the Vermont National Guard, and Soldiers in Afghanistan are currently evaluating the holsters. The Consumer Research Team at the Natick Soldier Research, Development and Engineering Center will collect data. PM SCIE officials will then make a recommendation to the Maneuver Center of Excellence at Fort Benning by the beginning of fiscal year 2014.

“The need is there, for sure,” Bean said. “I think the end state of this will be that they will say, ‘Yes, we need a grenade launcher holster for this when we use it in the stand-alone mode.'”

 




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 
boeing-ana2

Boeing announces ANA’s commitment to more jetliners

Airline continues fleet modernization with Boeing airplanes Boeing and All Nippon Airways announced Jan. 30 the airline’s intent to purchase three 787-10 Dreamliners to add additional flexibility to the airline’s 787 fleet....
 
 

Demand for airplanes lifts Boeing’s 4Q profit

Boeing’s fourth-quarter profit rose 19 percent as demand for commercial airliners trumped weakness in its defense business. Investors looked past a muted outlook for 2015 earnings and sent the shares to a 52-week high Jan. 28. Chicago-based Boeing and European rival Airbus have prospered as airlines around the world have gone on a shopping spree,...
 
 

Boeing wins $51 million contract to sustain ICBM guidance system

HUNTINGTON BEACH, Calif. – Boeing will provide sustaining engineering support for the guidance system of the Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile for the U.S. Air Force, ensuring the safety, security and effectiveness of the nation’s land-based nuclear deterrent, under a recently-awarded $51 million contract. “Since 1958, Boeing has stood alongside the U.S. Air Force to...
 

 

Orbital stockholders approve merger with ATK’s aerospace, defense groups

Orbital Sciences Corporation announced Jan. 27 that at a special meeting, the company’s stockholders voted overwhelmingly to approve the proposed merger with the Aerospace and Defense Groups of Alliant Techsystems Inc., pursuant to the definitive transaction agreement dated April 28, 2014. Approximately 99 percent of the votes cast at the special meeting voted in favor...
 
 

Northrop Grumman, MDA successfully complete command cyber readiness inspection

Northrop Grumman provided invaluable assistance for the U.S. Missile Defense Agency’s Excellent rating from the Command Cyber Readiness Inspection conducted on the Missile Defense Integration and Operations Center networks at Schriever Air Force Base, Colo. The CCRI evaluates a site’s compliance with information assurance and network defense policies and configuration standards for ...
 
 

Raytheon acquires Tucson-based Sensintel, Inc.

Raytheon has acquired privately-held Sensintel, Inc., a leading provider of unmanned aircraft systems solutions to the intelligence and special operations markets. Located in Tucson, Ariz., with approximately 50 employees, Sensintel will become part of Raytheon Company’s Missile Systems business. The transaction is not expected to materially impact Raytheon’s sales or earnings in th...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>