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DVIDS – News – Airborne Test Force tests field radio ruck to survive airborne combat missions

The U.S. Army Airborne Test Force (ATF) at the Yuma Test Center at Yuma Proving Grounds recently tested the record-setting Manpack radios, the AN/PRC-158 and AN/PRC-162 programs, managed by product managers. Handheld, Manpack, and Small Army Form Fit (HMS) in the latest Radio Carrier Rucksack (RCR) solutions. Developed and manufactured by the Natick Soldier Systems Center, the RCR was tested in combat reality by the center to determine whether the RCR could safely support parachute operations without damaging radios or racks. This was highlighted in the scenario.

Feedback from soldiers who have used traditional radio rucksacks in test events over several years has shown that users need a solution with better weight balance, comfort, and heat dissipation. PdM HMS initiated a competitive market research strategy and from 2022 to 2023 he will provide soldiers with various industry and government rucksack solutions to soldiers, leading to the selection of the currently tested RCR solution.

“The competitive process truly drove industry innovation and challenged the community to develop the best all-purpose rucksack solution to support Army combat operations while carrying modernized communications equipment. ” said HMS Deputy PdM Derek Harberts.

“What we saw in this test is the result of a successful competitive process that provides the best overall value for Soldiers and taxpayers.”

The current design leverages modifications to the existing design of the Modular Light Load Equipment Assault Pack currently fielded throughout the Army. Compared to his previous RCR, improvements allow the radio to be secured to the pack frame, improving weight, balance, and cooling. The rack modifications not only provide easier access when the radio must be carried and operated in the bag, but also improve storage and access for radio auxiliary and mission equipment.

“The radio harness allows you to connect the radio to your existing assault frame, and the side pouch provides a separate space to store the antenna away from other equipment and gear,” says HMS Bob Cohen, Principal Test Engineer at Manpac, explained.

“The bottom compartment provides additional space to store spare batteries and other accessories separately for easy access.”

Overall, the RCR will carry radios, batteries, antennas, and basic equipment for soldiers.

Prior to the test, the ATF team soldiers began packing the racks as they normally would, under the direction of ATF Soldier Sgt. Private 1st Class Cody Labara.

“The configuration of these racks is slightly different than the currently issued racks,” Labara says. Safe for jumpers. ”

A harness single point release is a device that secures the rack close to the jumper's body during most jumps and is designed to be lowered to a release line away from the jumper by pulling the release handle just before landing.

At about 150 feet above the ground, the soldiers lowered their rucksacks containing radios using a descent line, reaching about 15 feet below the ground upon landing.

“You don't want the rack to stay on as you prepare to land on the ground, otherwise you risk injury when landing with a parachute,” Labara explained. “When you pull the release handle, the rack falls off your body, but is still attached via the descent line so your equipment is out of the way when you're ready to land. Once you arrive, you can access the equipment as soon as you need it.”

ATF soldiers conducted several jumps throughout the week for safety tests. The team met them on the ground and monitored the jump to ensure their safety.

Air Transport Examiner Faith Herbold, ATF, and members of the HMS team then inspected the radio to see how it would hold up to the test.

“The test was successful. Testing demonstrated that the rucksack adequately secured and protected the radio during airborne operations. Inspection conducted after the test was completed indicated that no damage to the rack or radio I couldn't see it,” Labara said.

The improved rucksacks will be deployed to units receiving Manpack radios starting early next year. Once fielded, these items will be used by units such as the 82nd Airborne during combat operations.







Obtained data: August 2, 2024
Post date: August 2, 2024 11:19
Story ID: 462202
position: Yuma Proving Ground, Arizona, USA






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