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Army news service (June 2, 2004): army names Greatest Inventions of year.

WASHINGTON--Ten teams were recognized June 23 by the U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command for the "Greatest Army Inventions" of the past year.

The winning inventions include a zinc-air battery, lifesaving medical equipment, the first antipersonnel round for the Abrams tank, and camera equipment to inspect caves.

"The inventions submitted demonstrate the vast experience within the Army laboratory community as a sincere commitment of these laboratories to improving the readiness of our Army," said Lt. Gen. Richard A. Cody, the Army's deputy chief of staff, G-3, and the final selection authority for the program.


The BA-8180/U Zinc-Air Battery was developed by Communications-Electronics Research, Development and Engineering Center, Integrated Battle Command Directorate, Fort Monmouth, N.J. The battery has an extended life cycle that enables fewer batteries to be carried by soldiers than other rechargeable or lithium batteries.

The first antipersonnel round for the Abrams Main Battle Tank was designed by the Armaments Engineering and Technology Center, Picatinny Arsenal, N.J. The Ctg 120mm xm1208 canister consists of a two-piece projectile canister aluminum body with four axial slots to facilitate the separation of the sidewall. This design improves payload discard reliability and uniformity, according to experts.


The anti-tank for confined space, also called the AT4 CS is also the creation of the Armaments Engineering and Technology Center in Picatinny Arsenal, N.J. The AT4 CS is the Department of Defense's first large-caliber antitank capability that can be fired from an enclosed area. It is a light, recoilless, shoulder-fired, preloaded weapon used for close-range combat. Designed for a single use, once the weapon has been fired the launcher is thrown away.

There is a counter mass container on one end of the AT4 CS that reduces overblast, debris, and noise. This feature allows the weapon to be fired from inside a room, in a thick jungle, or in front of an obstacle.


An anti-personnel obstacle breaching system (APOBS) is another invention created by the Armaments Engineering and Technology Center. The APOBS is used to clear areas and create footpaths for troops moving in an area with mines or wire obstacles. It replaces the Bangalore Torpedo, which was heavier, took longer to set up, and four times the number of people to carry, officials said.

The APOBS can be carried by two people, and takes 30 to 120 seconds to be set up. Once in place, it fires a rocket from a 25-meter standoff position, sending a line charge with fragmentation grenades over the minefields or wire obstacles. The grenades clear the mines and sever the wires.


Agentase Nerve Agent Sensor is an invention designed by the U.S. Army Research Laboratory from the U.S. Army Research Office in Durham, N.C. The sensor is a hand-held device that detects nerve agents when pressed against a surface. Reactive components have been integrated inside two polymer layers that remove requirements by conventional technologies for additional substrates or extended incubation times. If a nerve agent chemical weapon is present, a color-developing polymer layer contains an environmentally sensitive indicator that changes from yellow to red/orange within two minutes.


The Portable Omni-Directional Well Camera System was developed at Fort Belvoir, Va., by the Communications-Electronics Research, Development and Engineering Center Night Vision and Electronic Sensors Directorate. The system is designed for inspecting wells, underground caves, or vertical passages that are unfit or unsafe for human inspection. It can be used in light or dark conditions and to a depth of 300 feet. Video from a hemispherical CCD sensor payload is displayed on a four-inch monitor at the surface of an area being explored. The system is designed to be waterproof to a depth of 90 feet.


The Golden Hour Container was created by the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research in Silver Spring, Md. This container can transport red blood cell units without the use of batteries, ice, or electricity. It was designed to transport the blood cell units within military facilities and to forward surgical teams where delayed evacuation of wounded soldiers can occur. The container is reusable and maintains the contents at the appropriate temperatures for more than 78 hours. While designed specifically for transporting red blood cell units, inventors believe its usefulness will extend to other items such as vaccines and reagents. The container has a carrying strap and comes in Army desert, woodland, and Marine camouflage.


VIRGIL Chest Trauma Training System is the invention of the Simulation Group, Telemedicine and Advanced Technology Research Center at Fort Detrick, Md. The training system combines the use of a mannequin and a computer-based graphic interface. It is used during training exercises and tracks the internal position of chest darts and chest tubes as well as provides feedback to the user.


A mount assembly, designed by the Tank Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center, National Automotive Center in Warren, Mich., helps provide more security to crews in Humvees. The Squad Automatic Weapon (SAW) Pintle Mount Assembly provides soldiers the ability to defend themselves from both sides of the vehicle. It also allows the SAW to be elevated to a 45-degree angle to defend soldiers from an enemy who may be on overpasses or similar overhead objects. The mount is attached mid-way between the front and rear doors on the HMMWV. This provides crew members in either the front or rear seats to use the weapon by swiveling the weapon in the direction needed.


The Battlefield Medical Information System-Telemedicine (BMIS-T) was designed by the Telemedicine and Advanced Technology Research Center, Fort Detrick, Md. BMIS-T is a similar to a handheld computer with special programming developed to assist deployed medical personnel with diagnosis and treatment. It can be used to record patient clinical encounters and transmit those records to a central repository, officials said. The system holds servicemembers' medical records including immunizations, dental and vision records, as well as known drug allergies. BMIS-T is programmed with healthcare reference manuals and can provide medical personnel with suggested diagnosis and treatment plans.

Nominations for the program were submitted from across the Army laboratory community and were evaluated by soldier teams from the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command and active U.S. Army Divisions, according to Gen. Paul J. Kern, commander of the U.S. Army Materiel Command.

Evaluators judged the entries based on their impact on Army capabilities, potential benefit outside the Army, and their inventiveness.

Each of the winning teams received a glass trophy and a Department of the Army certificate during the June 23 ceremony at the Hilton in McLean, Va.

Editor's note: Information provided by Larry McCaskill of the U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command and summarized by ARNEWS correspondent Karla Gonzalez.
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Publication:Defense AT & L
Date:Sep 1, 2004
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