U.S. Army officials announced the winners of its Greatest Inventions of 2011. While these inventions stemmed from urgent operational needs from warfighters on the battlefield, it would be interesting to examine the culture and processes that enabled these solutions to be developed.
Dale Ormond, director of the U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command, commended the scientists and engineers for their efforts to empower, unburden and protect Soldiers. “The 2011 award winners demonstrated significant impact to Army capabilities, potential benefits outside of the Army, and inventiveness. This program’s unique selection process reflects the voice of the Warfighter and insight into the future of Army equipment. The AGI awards are truly Soldiers’ Choice Awards.”
- 120mm Accelerated Precision Mortar Initiative Cartridge – A 120mm GPS-guided mortar cartridge provides infantry commanders with new precision-strike capability.
- Caiman Explosively Formed Penetrator Add-on-Armor Kits – An armor package is integrated into a MRAP vehicle with little modification to an existing armor package, protecting the driver and commander sides and mitigating the exposed area from explosively formed penetrators.
- Helmet Sensors – Along with a data retrieval system measures impact and pressure events continuously.
- Level 2 Manned-Unmanned Teaming for the OH-58D Kiowa Warrior Helicopter – A real-time system that can receive video and metadata in the common bands, within a long range, and is used by fielded unmanned aerial systems first fielded on the Kiowa Warrior aircraft.
- M2A1 Cal .50 Machine Gun – An enhancement to the .50-calliber M2, including a modified barrel, barrel extension, barrel support, barrel handle, flash suppressor and a fixed headspace and timing configuration.
- M982 Excalibur Increment 1a-2, 155MM Extended Range Precision Guided Projectile – A GPS-guided, inertial measurement unit-aided, fin-stabilized, 155mm projectile flies a ballistic trajectory during its ascending branch, then a guided trajectory during its descending branch to preprogrammed target coordinates.
- OH-58D Common Missile Warning System – Provides missile warning and countermeasures for infrared guided missiles.
- Pelvic Protection System – A response to an increased threat of buried improvised explosive devises, providing protection from serious injuries to the pelvis, femoral arteries and lower abdominal organs in a blast or small fragmentation threat.
- Precision Lightweight Universal Mortar Setter System – A highly transportable, all-weather, rapid response, indirect fire control system that is capable of programming the world’s first precision guided 120mm mortar cartridge.
- Soldier Plate Carrier System – A lightweight hard armor plate carrier system with a modular lightweight load carrying equipment attachment that has a quick release capability, which aids in reducing load, increases mobility and provides direct fire protection.
2011 Soldier Greatest Inventions Award Winner
- Small Unit Tactical Light – SUTL lights up target areas when motion is detected by using a 12-volt DC motion sensor to operate an infrared light.
See additional details of these Army innovations at Army.mil.