TARDEC's CSI prototyping facility acknowledges awards with championship-style banners. But the message to associates is the Army appreciates their efforts to help Soldiers succeed. (U.S. Army TARDEC photo.)
This year, the Army honored 153 science and technology (S&T) experts with Research and Development Achievement (RDA) Awards to recognize the best achievements coming from the 13,000 engineers, scientists and researchers who work on S&T advancements that make a difference for Soldiers.
Four of the awards honored TARDEC teams.
TARDEC associates won three Outstanding Collaboration awards for C4ISR integration, advanced Reactive Armor Tiles and the RPG Defeat System, and one Outstanding Technical Leadership award for the Caiman EFP Kit project. The Army announced the RDA Award winners in May for projects developed in 2012.
In TARDEC's Center for Systems Integration (CSI) prototyping facility, you could say the awards are given high importance — they are acknowledged with sports-style banners recognizing technology awards hanging from the rafters. But to the associates and their partners who developed the technology, the award displays represent how their efforts served the greater purpose — providing the vehicles and technology that allow Soldiers to accomplish their missions and come home safely.
Here are TARDEC's four RDA award-winners whose efforts made an impact on current and future forces.
Project: Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (C4ISR) Network Integration
Awarded to: Center for Systems Integration (CSI)
Objective: Add improved network capabilities to M-ATV and MaxxPro Dash vehicles to allow improved command post communication and situational awareness to Soldiers.
"The key to success was collaboration," CSI Engineer David Mroczka stated. "TARDEC worked collaboratively with the vehicles' manufacturers, CERDEC, Yuma Proving Ground, ARL, PM WIN-T, and JPO MRAP to create a comprehensive solution. The three different WIN-T suite variants take networking on-the-move down to the company level."
Project: Caiman EFP Kit Technical Leadership
Awarded to: CSI Lead Engineer Demetrio Lacap
Objective: Responding to an urgent field request, a CSI technical team rapidly developed an add-on-armor kit to protect Caiman MRAP crew members from devices called Explosively Formed Penetrators (EFPs).
"One of the keys to the success of this project was the full cooperation and commitment of the design engineers, fabrication personnel, [modeling and simulation] personnel, PM MRAP, Blue Grass Army Depot and Rock Island Arsenal," commented Demetrio Lacap, Lead Engineer on the project. "The final solution addressed the concerns from all stakeholders without sacrificing the user's requirements."
Project: Ground Combat Vehicle (GCV) Reactive Armor Tiles
Awarded to: Ground System Survivability (GSS)
Objective: GSS engineers developed a variant to previously fielded explosive reactive armor technology to defeat more threats and keep the warfighter safer in the field. Reactive armor emerged as a lightweight solution offering effective protection particularly against hand-held threats. The GSS team is developing an advanced system for the GCV.
"This version is different in the fact that it was designed to defeat a wider spectrum of threats to keep Soldiers safe," explained Rick Rickert, the Advanced Combat Vehicle Armor Program Manager.
Project: Rocket-Propelled Grenade (RPG) Defeat System
Awarded: CSI and GSS
Objective: To battle the ongoing threat from RPG attacks, TARDEC engineers joined with industry partners to develop and adapt a netting solution to alter an RPG's impact, effectively reducing its ability to penetrate the vehicle hull. The Hit Avoidance team worked with CSI to create a flexible, easily installed system that provides exceptional value in both weight and cost.
"We are still collaborating with [collaborative partner] QinetiQ to advance the state-of-the-art for RPG Defeat technology," explained CSI Engineer Will Norton. "It feels great to get recognized for delivering life-saving capabilities to theater. We joined TARDEC with the hopes of supporting the Soldier and that's where the ultimate satisfaction is for us."
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