US Army Awards for Top 10 Inventions of 2005
Technical innovation is present in all militaries, but America’s combination of do-it-yourself types, large defense budgets, and a gadget-happy national character makes it particularly fertile ground. Now add a global war and its challenges, plus a defense sector with a strong small business component made up of ex-military types. The overall innovation transmission belt may not be as tight or as effective as Israel’s or Singapore’s, but the scale of the US defense establishment more than compensates in terms of the sheer number produced.
Adoption, of course, is another matter. One way to improve it is to raise the profile of sucessful innovations through awards. Along those lines, the US Army recently recognized some special innovators by naming its “Top 10 inventions of 2005,” a list that should be of interest to many militaries around the world.
# Combat Application Tourniquet. A total of 145,000 tourniquets were purchased and fielded to personnel in the Central Command area of operation between April 2005 and July 2005. See June 2006 MedGadget article re: the HemCom bandage; also June 2007 UK MoD article.
# Persistent Threat Detection System. An aerostat-based persistent surveillance and sensor set. In addition to the tethered blimp, PTDS also leverages a wide-area, secure communications backbone to integrate threat reporting from available sensor assets such as the ground-based Fire Finder artillery-spotting radar. See related DID articles.
# Fixed Site/Vehicle Mounted Gunfire Detection. The GDS is a gunshot detection and locator device. See DID coverage of related anti-sniper systems; we’ve now added GDS.
# M100 Grenade Rifle Entry Munition. GREM appears to be a lightweight, bullet-trap launched grenade that can be fired from the M-16/M4 rifles to safely blow open doors (including steel doors) and windows without injuring the firing soldier. General Dynamics produces the weapon, which is an adaptation of RAFAEL’s SIMON 120; PEO Soldier has a page with video footage.
# M192 Lightweight Ground Mount. A compact, collapsible ground mount for mounting the M249 Light Machine Gun and M240B Medium Machine Gun, replacing existing M122/M122A1 tripods. Among its other featres, the M192 is about 6.5 pounds lighter. If you don’t think that’s pretty great, try carrying one around for about 10 miles.
# M782 Multi Option Fuze for Artillery. The MOFA works with 155mm and 105mm shells to provide proximity, precision time, delay and point detonating impact functions in a single fuze, and the inductive fuze set feature makes it easier to use MOFA safely with automated ammunition handling equipment.
# Over-the-horizon Satellite Communications and Improved Dual AN/PRC-117F Command and Control Console. This console was initially developed in late 2004 and fielded to multiple aviation units in Afghanistan and Iraq in 2005. It was especially helpful in Afghanistan, where line-of-sight for conventional radio communications can be difficult.
# Countermeasure Protection System, aka. EDO’s “Warlock-CMPS” that jams IED land mines. See a DID article that covers a similar system from Elbit, which is also deployed in Iraq, as well as other systems like ICE et. al.
# Dual Band Antenna. Approximately 8000 units were delivered by the end of 2005, and they cover an unprecedented wideband frequency span from a single antenna structure.
# Fido Explosives Detector. An IED land mine detector that is portable and weighs less than 3 pounds, but performs about as well as a bomb-sniffing dog.
The winning programs were selected for their impact on Army capabilities (breath of use and magnitude of improvement over existing systems), inventiveness, and potential benefit outside the Army. See this US Army web page for more details [switched to FindArticles version] concerning each of these items.