19 juin 2019 | International, Autre défense

15 extra pounds of gear can be the difference between life or death in a firefight, this Marine officer’s research says

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The weight being humped by grunts into a firefight with a sophisticated adversary like Russia or China could be the difference between mission success or going home in a body bag, according to one Marine officer's award-winning research.

Marine Capt. Courtney Thompson said computer simulations she ran showed that just adding 15 pounds to the “bare essential” fighting load carried by Marines resulted in an additional casualty on the battlefield when Marines were pitted against competent shooters.

The Corps' fighting load varies between 43 to 62 pounds depending on the level of body armor a Marine wears. Military body armor protection ranges from level II to IV. Thompson's simulations were run with level II body armor — protection capable of stopping a 9 mm round. The weight range includes a carried weapon.

She told Marine Corps Times in an interview that the results of the simulations were “eye opening," especially in light of a 2017 government watchdog reported that detailed Marines and soldiers were carrying between 117 pounds to 119 pounds on average.

When she ran the simulations and added more weight “casualties just went up,” Thompson said. And “the better the [enemy] shooter got, the more the difference in weight mattered."

In a near-peer fight, Thompson said, Marines will need to move faster on the battlefield to survive and win.

“The slower they are, the higher the chance they have of getting hit," she said.

But it's not just about reducing a Marine's exposure time to being shot, smaller weight loads aid in more precise shooting and quicker target engagement times.

A 2018 report from Washington D.C.-based think tank Center for a New American Security, explained that heavy combat loads “not only slows movement and increases fatigue” but decrease “situational awareness and shooting response times.”

Moreover, a 2007 report from Naval Research Advisory Committee on Marine combat loads recommended an assault load of just 50 pounds.

As the Corps focuses on the near-peer fight, the weight carried by Marines into battle is a topic that will need to be front and center for Marine commanders, Thompson said.

Thompson's research, which won the Military Operations Research Society Stephen A. Tisdale Thesis Award at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California, has the attention of officials at the Marine Corps Warfighting Laboratory — where the Corps has been exploring ways to boost combat power while also reducing the weight burden on grunts. Marine Corps Times has reached out to the Marine Corps Warfighting Laboratory for comments on this research.

Marine Corps Systems Command said its “Gruntworks” team spoke with Thompson about her research. The team handles the integration of equipment for Marine rifle squads.

Thompson, a combat engineer, said she came up with the idea after seeing how “gassed” her Marines got during training as a result of operations tempo and weight.

“I thought if I could quantify weight in terms of casualties and probability of mission success, that's what the Marine Corps understands,” she said.

Thompson's computer simulations relied on Australian human subject data and infantry demographics supplied by headquarters Marine Corps.

The Australian data was used because of the Australian Defence Department's rigorous study on its tiered body armor system, Thompson explained.

The Marine infantry data included physical fitness and marksmanship. The individual Marines within the simulated 13-man rifle squads “represented the average for that rank for all 0311s [Marine rifleman] in the Marine Corps,” she said.

Thompson said she ran the simulations nearly a million times.

Thompson's research showed that reducing the weight burden carried by grunts could save lives and win battles.

But she didn't make any prescriptive adjustments to the Corps' combat gear load outs. She told Marine Corps Times that she didn't want to “limit” a battlefield commander's decision-making.

The Corps' various fighting loads are broken down in its infantry training and readiness manual into four different groups, fighting load, assault load, approach march load and sustainment load.

The load type is dependent on the mission at hand. Thompson's research was aimed at the fighting and assault loads.

The fighting and assault loads include combat gear for the “immediate mission” and the “actual conduct of the assault,” respectively, according to the Corps' infantry manual.

The assault load weight varies between 58 pounds and 70 pounds based on level of body armor. The weight range includes a weapon being carried. The training and readiness manual excludes the weight of a weapon in its gear break down.

Thompson isn't calling for particular pieces of gear to be thrown off the packing list, but she said commanders should throw the entire list in a pack, wear it, and “see if it is a reasonable amount of weight.”

The Corps is already making a number of changes to reduce weight. Some of those include a new lightweight helmet, lighter body armor for counterinsurgency conflicts and polymer ammunition.

But Marines also are packing on weight with new tech like tablets and drones, which have been dished out to rifle squads.

At the end of the day, Marine commanders have a delicate balance of weighing risk verse capability, and it wont be easy for commanders to forgo pieces of equipment on a mission to lighten packs, Thompson explained.

A commander “can't prove the lives they saved” from taking a particular action, Thompson said.

https://www.marinecorpstimes.com/news/your-marine-corps/2019/06/18/15-extra-pounds-of-gear-can-be-the-difference-between-life-or-death-in-a-firefight-this-marine-officers-research-says/

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  • Contract Awards by US Department of Defense - September 18, 2019

    19 septembre 2019 | International, Aérospatial, Naval, Terrestre, C4ISR, Sécurité

    Contract Awards by US Department of Defense - September 18, 2019

    AIR FORCE Altamira Technologies Corp., McLean, Virginia (FA7146-19-D-0700); Booz Allen Hamilton, McLean, Virginia (FA7146-19-D-0710); Deloitte Consulting LLP, Arlington, Virginia (FA7146-19-D-0720); Fulcrum IT Services, Centreville, Virginia (FA7146-19-D-0730); ManTech Advanced Systems International Inc., Herndon, Virginia (FA7146-19-D-0740); MCR Federal LLC, McLean, Virginia (FA7146-19-D-0750); Novetta Inc., McLean, Virginia (FA7146-19-D-0760); and SAIC, Reston, Virginia (FA7146-19-D-0770), have been awarded a not-to-exceed $950,000,000 multiple award, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract for analytical and technical services. This contract vehicle provides for analytical and technical services for the Secretary of the Air Force's Concepts, Development, and Management Office. Work will be performed as indicated in each order and is expected to be completed by September 2029. This award is the result of a competitive acquisition and 10 offers received. Fiscal 2019 operations and maintenance funds in the amount of $5,000 are being obligated to each of the eight initial task orders. The Secretary of the Air Force's Concepts, Development, and Management Office, Fairfax, Virginia, is the contracting activity. Range Generation Next LLC, Sterling, Virginia, has been awarded a $122,345,824 fixed-price-incentive-firm target modification (P00262) for the previously awarded contract FA8806-15-C-0001 in support of operations, maintenance and sustainment on the Launch and Test Range System. The modification exercises the fifth option period effective Oct. 1, 2019. Work will be performed at the Western Range, Vandenberg Air Force Base, California; and the Eastern Range, Patrick Air Force Base, Florida, and is expected to be completed by Sept. 30, 2020. No funds are being obligated at time of award. The Space and Missile Systems Center, Peterson Air Force Base, Colorado, is the contracting activity. Thales Air Traffic Management Inc., Clarksburg, Maryland, was awarded a $21,818,801 modification (P00012) to contract FA8730-18-C-0034 for the purchase of six additional deployable instrumental landing systems. Work will be performed in Clarksburg, Maryland, and is expected to be completed by June 30, 2022. This sole source award is the result of a priced option of the contract previously mentioned. Fiscal 2017 and fiscal 2019 other production funds in the amount of $21,818,801 are being obligated at the time of the award. The Air Force Life Cycle Management Center, Hanscom Air Force Base, Massachusetts, is the contracting activity. L3Harris Technologies Inc., Colorado Springs, Colorado, has been awarded a $12,880,167 cost-plus-incentive-fee contract modification (P01000) to a previously awarded contract F19628-02-C-0010 for fiscal 2020 Eglin sustainment support. This modification provides sustainment support for the Eglin AN/FPS (Army, Navy/Fixed Ground Detecting/Range and Bearing Search)-85 Radar. The Eglin AN/FPS-85 Radar is a computer-controlled, phased-array radar set operating as a functional entity in the Air Force Space Command Space Surveillance Network. The radar set concurrently performs the functions of detection, target recognition, acquisition and track of many space objects. Work will be performed at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida, and is expected to be completed by June 30, 2020. Total cumulative face value is $12,880,167. Fiscal 2020 operations and maintenance funds are being used and no funds are being obligated at time of award. The Space and Missile Systems Center, Peterson Air Force Base, Colorado, is the contracting activity. M1 Support Services, Denton, Texas, has been awarded a $12,366,227 modification (A00038) to contract FA3002-15-C-0006 for Trainer Maintenance Services. This action is to exercise Option Period Five. Work will be performed at Sheppard Air Force Base, Texas; and satellite site at Naval Air Station, Pensacola, Florida, and is expected to be completed by Sept. 30, 2020. The total cumulative face value of the contract is $76,725,152. Fiscal 2020 operations and maintenance funds will be used and no funds are being obligated at the time of the award. The 82d Contracting Squadron, Sheppard Air Force Base, Texas, is the contracting activity. ARMY BAE Systems Land & Armaments L.P., York, Pennsylvania, was awarded a $148,271,911 modification (P00018) to contract W56HZV-17-C-0242 for M88A2 Heavy Equipment Recovery Combat Utility Lift and Evacuation System vehicles. Work will be performed in York, Pennsylvania, with an estimated completion date of May 31, 2022. Fiscal 2019 procurement of weapons and tracked combat vehicles, Army funds in the amount of $148,271,911 were obligated at the time of the award. U.S. Army Contracting Command, Warren, Michigan, is the contracting activity. Knight Construction & Supply Inc.,* Deer Park, Washington, was awarded an $18,326,100 firm-fixed-price contract for Dalles 480 ton Intake Gantry Crane replacement. Bids were solicited via the internet with five received. Work will be performed in Dalles, Oregon, with an estimated completion date of Jan. 31, 2023. Fiscal 2019 Bonneville Power Administration; and operations and maintenance, civil funds in the amount of $517,800 were obligated at the time of the award. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Portland, Oregon, is the contracting activity (W9127N-19-C-0024). Affolter Contracting Co. Inc.,* La Marque, Texas, was awarded a $9,089,400 firm-fixed-price contract for Peggy Lake Placement Area dewatering and dike raise. Bids were solicited via the internet with one received. Work will be performed in Houston, Texas, with an estimated completion date of Dec. 21, 2020. Fiscal 2019 operations and maintenance, civil funds in the amount of $9,089,400 were obligated at the time of the award. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Galveston, Texas, is the contracting activity (W912HY-19-C-0017). NAVY J. Walter Thompson U.S.A. LLC, doing business as Wunderman Thompson, of Atlanta, Georgia, is being awarded a $79,169,854 firm-fixed-price, one year contract for full service advertising agency support to furnish supplies and services to enhance the Marine Corps' recruiting efforts. This contract includes four one-year option periods which, if exercised, could bring the cumulative value of this contract to $529,904,636. Work will be performed in Atlanta, Georgia, and is expected to be completed December 2020. If all options are exercised, work will continue through December 2024. This award is subject to the availability of funds. Fiscal 2020 operation and maintenance (Marine Corps) funds in the amount of $79,169,854 will be obligated when funding becomes available and will expire Sept. 30, 2020. This contract was competitively procured via solicitation on the Federal Business Opportunities website, with three proposals received. The Marine Corps Installations Command Contracting Office, Arlington, Virginia, is the contracting activity (M95494-19-C-0020). The Boeing Co., St. Louis, Missouri, is being awarded a $30,880,590 cost-plus-fixed-fee contract to establish organic depot and intermediate level maintenance repair capability of the Consolidated Automated Support System Operational Test Program Sets for Stores Management System components in support of the P-8A Poseidon Multi-mission Maritime Aircraft. Work will be performed in St. Louis, Missouri (80%); and Grand Rapids, Michigan (20%), and is expected to be completed in September 2024. Fiscal 2017 aircraft procurement (Navy) funds in the amount of $30,880,590 will be obligated at time of award, all of which will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was not competitively procured pursuant to 10 U.S. Code 2304(c)(1). The Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division, Lakehurst, New Jersey, is the contracting activity (N68335-19-C-0543). Raytheon Missile Systems, Tucson, Arizona, is being awarded a $25,493,505 cost-plus-fixed fee contract for critical design review of the Tomahawk Weapons System Military Code, to include studies, analysis, design, development, integration and test of hardware and software solutions. In addition, this contract provides for identification of the kit bill of materials, fabrication, assembly, integration, test and documentation of an AGR5 kit. Work will be performed in El Segundo, California (55.6%); and Tucson, Arizona (44.4%), and is expected to be completed in March 2021. Fiscal 2018 and 2019 research, development, test and evaluation (Navy) funds in the amount of $7,558,963 will be obligated at time of award, $1,883,848 of which will expire at the end of the fiscal year. The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Maryland, is the contracting activity. Forcepoint Federal LLC, Salt Lake City, Utah, is being awarded an estimated $13,462,622 indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity, firm-fixed-price and time and materials contract for the purchase of software and associated technical support services. Work will be performed in San Diego, California, and at contractor facilities in northern Virginia. Work is expected to be completed by 2024. The contract includes a single five year ordering period. No funding is being placed on contract at time of award. Contract funds will be obligated on individual delivery orders. Fiscal 2019 operation and maintenance (Navy) funds in the amount of $414,895 will be obligated on the first delivery order. Funds will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was not competitively procured because it is a sole-source acquisition pursuant to the authority of 10 U.S. Code 2304(c)(1) – only one responsible source, and no other supplies or services will satisfy agency requirements (Federal Acquisition Regulation subpart 6.302-1(a)). The Naval Information Warfare Systems Command, San Diego, California, is the contracting activity (N00039-19-D-0034). SCI Technology Inc., Huntsville, Alabama, is being awarded a $13,345,676 firm-fixed-fee, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract for Tactical Operation Center Network (TOCNET) Generation 4 Ground Mobility Vehicle 1.1 kits and TOCNET G4 Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) kits. These kits are in support of the U.S. Special Operations Command family of operations vehicles production sparing efforts for the GMV 1.1 and MRAP system variants. Work will be performed in Huntsville, Alabama, and is expected to be completed in September 2023. 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Work will be performed in Northridge, California (80%); Ridgecrest, California (10%); and Sanguinetto, Italy (10%), and is expected to be completed in March 2022. Fiscal 2017 weapons procurement (Navy) funds; and cooperate partner funds in the amount of $10,640,798 will be obligated at time of award, $2,334,813 of which will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract combines purchase for the Navy ($2,334,813; 22%); and the government of Italy ($8,305,985; 78%) under a cooperative agreement. The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Maryland, is the contracting activity. MBF Architects PA,* New Bern, North Carolina, is being awarded a maximum amount $10,000,000 firm-fixed-price, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity architect-engineering (A-E) contract for a multi-discipline A-E services for Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS), Cherry Point, North Carolina in Naval Facilities Engineering Command Mid-Atlantic area of responsibility. 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Projects may involve single or multiple disciplines, including, but not limited to, architectural, structural, mechanical, electrical, civil, landscape design, fire protection and interior design. Task order 0001 is being issued in the amount of $5,000 for the minimum guarantee. All work on this contract will be performed at MCAS, Cherry Point, North Carolina. The term of the contract is not to exceed 60 months with an expected completion date of September 2024. Supervision, inspection and overhead funds in the amount of $5,000 are obligated on this award and will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. Future task orders will be primarily funded by military construction, (Navy). This contract was competitively procured via the Navy Electronic Commerce Online website with 15 proposals received. The Naval Facilities Engineering Command, Mid-Atlantic, Norfolk, Virginia, is the contracting activity (N40085-19-D-9247). Bell Helicopter Textron Inc., Fort Worth, Texas, is being awarded a $9,179,045 cost-plus-fixed-fee delivery order (N00019-19-F-2789) against a previously issued basic ordering agreement (N00019-12-G-0012) in support of the H-1 Upgrade helicopter. This order provides for five aircraft wiring and integration remote terminal/cockpit wiring and integration remote terminal/flight control computer/flight controller computer refreshed test stations. Work will be performed in Fort Worth, Texas, and is expected to be completed in May 2022. Fiscal 2017 and 2018 aircraft procurement (Navy) funds in the amount of $9,179,045 will be obligated at time of award, $7,631,175 of which will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Maryland, is the contracting activity. Weldin Construction LLC,* Palmer, Alaska , is being awarded an $8,374,300 firm-fixed-price task order N44255-19-F-4422 under a multiple award construction contract for a special project to install new oily wastewater treatment system and associated utilities at Naval Base Kitsap, Bremerton, Washington. Work will be performed in Bremerton, Washington, and is expected to be completed by October 2020. Fiscal 2019 operations and maintenance, (Navy) contract funds in the amount of $8,374,300 are obligated on this award and will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. Four proposals were received for this task order. The Naval Facilities Engineering Command, Northwest, Silverdale, Washington, is the contracting activity (N44255-17-D-4008). Frawner Corp.,* Anchorage, Alaska, is being awarded an $8,114,000 firm-fixed-price task order N62473-19-F-5330 at under a multiple award construction contract for repair of Zone one (3rd Street) high temperature hot water at the Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center. This project is for the removal, replacement and new high temperature hot water piping, valves, insulation and incidental related work including, but not limited to, modifications and expansion of associated pipe. This project will provide for the installation of a new high temperature hot water supply and return lines in the existing underground utility corridor. Work will be performed in Twentynine Palms, California, and is expected to be completed by March 2021. Fiscal 2019 operation and maintenance, (Marine Corps) contract funds in the amount of $8,114,000 are obligated on this award and will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. Three proposals were received for this task order. 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WASHINGTON HEADQUARTERS SERVICES John Hopkins University Applied Physics Lab, Laurel, Maryland, has been awarded a $11,442,418 cost-plus-fixed-fee contract. This contract is to support the government with development of prototypes, test plans, rapid fielding, operational experiments and changes in existing acquisition programs with a focus on identification and reduction of programmatic and technical risk provides for applied research. Work performance will take place primarily in Laurel, Maryland. Fiscal 2019 operations and maintenance funds in the amount of $607,000; fiscal 2019 research, development, test, and evaluation funds in the amount of $8,835,418; and fiscal 2019 procurement funds in the amount of $2,000,000 are being obligated on this award. The expected completion date is May 30, 2024. Washington Headquarters Services, Arlington, Virginia, is the contracting activity (HQ0034-19-D0006). *Small Business https://www.defense.gov/Newsroom/Contracts/Contract/Article/1964752/source/GovDelivery/

  • Air Force Releases RFI for Next-Gen ISR Drone to Potentially Replace Reaper

    9 juin 2020 | International, Aérospatial

    Air Force Releases RFI for Next-Gen ISR Drone to Potentially Replace Reaper

    The Air Force released a June 3 request for information to begin searching for next-generation unmanned aerial vehicles that could eventually replace the MQ-9 Reaper drone. The notice, first reported by Aviation Week, states that the service is conducting market... https://www.defensedaily.com/air-force-releases-rfi-next-gen-isr-drone-potentially-replace-reaper/air-force/

  • Air Force: High ops tempos, lack of aircraft, inexperienced maintainers among mishap risks

    12 septembre 2018 | International, Aérospatial

    Air Force: High ops tempos, lack of aircraft, inexperienced maintainers among mishap risks

    By: Stephen Losey A series of one-day safety stand-downs across all flying and maintenance wings has given the Air Force several clues on how to correct a string of troubling — and sometimes fatal — aviation crashes and other mishaps, the service said Monday. In a news release, the Air Force said the review identified six potential risks to aviation safety: stress caused by high operations tempos; a lack of time to properly focus on flying basics, mission activities and training; pressure to accept risk; a culture that pushes airmen to always execute the mission; decreased availability of aircraft; and the potential for airmen to become complacent when carrying out routine tasks. The full report summary, provided at Air Force Times' request, also raised concerns about the increasing requirements on maintainers, and low experience in some operations and maintenance personnel. The summary also cited “perception of ineffective training” as another area of concern. Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Dave Goldfein ordered the stand-down in May, after several high-profile mishaps including the May 2 crash of a WC-130 Hercules that killed the nine Puerto Rico Air National Guardsmen aboard. “The review proved tremendously helpful as we continue to seek both high levels of safety with intense and realistic training,” Goldfein said in the release. “As air superiority is not an American birthright, our training must continue to be challenging and meaningful. But I also want commanders to have the decision authority to determine how far to push.” The service has distributed those findings to the field, the release said, and flying and maintenance leaders are using those findings to help guide their decisions. The summary also cites the aging fleet of Air Force aircraft as a problem contributing to increased maintenance requirements and decreased aircraft availability. The summary said that major commands provided the Air Force Safety Center with their aggregate feedback after completing their safety stand-downs, so senior leaders could find out what issues and concerns were identified across all wings. The Air Force has already started putting plans into place to address airmen's concerns, including adding more support back to squadrons, reducing additional duties, “enhancing information processes for aircrew mission planning” and cutting staff requirements, according to the release. Full article: https://www.airforcetimes.com/news/your-air-force/2018/09/11/air-force-high-ops-tempos-lack-of-aircraft-inexperienced-maintainers-among-mishap-risks

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