News 1998 Army Science and Technology Master Plan

5. Individual Survivability and Sustainability

Survivability and sustainability of individual soldiers and small operational groups for the future battlefield and for operations other than war (OOTW) will require advances across a wide spectrum of capabilities. These include ballistic protection, CBW protection, signature reduction, as well as enhanced capabilities for delivering provisions and electrical power for the soldier system. The suite of underlying technologies is also diverse, ranging from textiles (a special case is biotechnologically derived materials such as spider silk or bioceramics for body armor) to advanced fuel cells and batteries. Requirements for electrical power for individual soldier equipment vary with primary (disposable) cells being of interest for battle, and rechargeable (such as nickel–metal hydride) having a key role in training, currently a major consumer of batteries.

Table E–8 summarizes key capabilities and trends in individual survivability and sustainability. The following paragraphs provide additional information for each technology subarea.

Table E–8.  International Research Capabilities—Individual Survivability and Sustainability


United Kingdom




Asia/Pacific Rim


Other Countries

Individual Survivability 1s.gif (931 bytes) Soldier systems (physiological & psychological) 1s.gif (931 bytes) Soldier systems (ballistic protection) 1s.gif (931 bytes) Soldier systems   Australia

1s.gif (931 bytes) Soldier systems (microclimate control)


1s.gif (931 bytes) Soldier systems

Sustainability   4s.gif (949 bytes) Batteries for man–portable systems 4s.gif (949 bytes) Fossil fuel–driven electrical power 1s.gif (931 bytes) Electrical power for man–portable systems   Russia

4s.gif (949 bytes) Batteries for man–portable systems


4s.gif (949 bytes) Electrical power

Note: See Annex E, Section A.6 for explanation of key numerals.


a. Individual Survivability

Individual survivability includes all material and combat clothing systems for protection of the individual warfighter. Areas of particular interest are individual ballistic protection, countermeasures to sensors, laser eye protection, multifunction materials, and warrior performance and endurance enhancements. A number of technological advances address these concerns:

Textile and composite materials for ballistic protection
Percutaneous CB protection (e.g., selectively permeable membranes)
Multifunction materials (environmental and flame/thermal protection)
Laser eye protection materials and systems
Microclimate conditioning for warrior performance enhancement
Integration of soldier system modular components.

Cooperative opportunities in individual survivability relate primarily to improved soldier systems. The soldier system focuses on enhancing soldier capabilities in the five areas of lethality, command and control (C2), survivability, sustainability, and mobility. This encompasses everything the soldier wears, carries, and consumes in a tactical environment. France has special expertise in ballistic protection for individual soldiers. The United Kingdom has strong capabilities in the physiological and psychological aspects of soldier systems. Germany and Canada both have strong capabilities in materials and soldier system integration. In addition, a niche capability in individual microclimate control has been identified in Australia.

b. Sustainability

Sustainability includes scientific and technological efforts to sustain and enhance warfighter performance and combat effectiveness. These range from nutritional performance enhancement, food preservation, food service equipment, energy technologies, and drinking water to precision cargo/personnel airdrop and airbeam technologies for lightweight, rapid–setup shelters.

A key area for sustainability will continue to be man–portable electrical power. As the soldier relies increasingly on sophisticated electronic sensors, computers, and communications, there is a corresponding need for more efficient sources of portable electrical power. Japan is a world leader in secondary (rechargeable) batteries, fuel cells, and small gasoline engines. France and Russia also have significant capabilities in selected aspects of secondary batteries. Advanced lithium and nickel–metal–hydride batteries and fuel cells offer exceptional energy densities and longer operating life, which are key factors in man–portable weapons and sensors.

Canada also has recognized strengths in the subarea of sustainability as demonstrated by the FY96 approved foreign comparative testing (FCT) of a Canadian less–than–3–kilowatt generator, and Canadian multifuel burner. In addition, Canadian research in hydroxide fuel cells is strong. A Canadian firm is currently fielding a test fleet of hydrogen–oxide powered buses at Disneyland; the only waste product is water. Canadian companies are also working in other fuel cell concepts such as aluminum–oxide. A small Canadian company has, with the Special Operations Command (SOCM), further developed this cell for military use. Ongoing efforts with France offer special opportunities to accelerate the development of low–cost, long–life power sources based on these technologies. In addition, there is a great need for small, portable, high–efficiency power generation. Germany has world–leading capabilities in the specific area of miniature fossil fuel engines for portable electrical power.

AMC POC: Dr. Rodney Smith
Army Materiel Command
5001 Eisenhower Blvd.
Alexandria, VA 22333–0001
e–mail: [email protected]

IPOC: Dr. Richard Strecker/Ms. Jan Lanza
U.S. Army Soldier Systems Command
U.S. Army Natick RDE Center
Natick, MA 01760–5015
e–mail: [email protected]–
e–mail: [email protected]–

For sustainability:

IPOC: Bob Both
Fort Monmouth, NJ 07703
e–mail: [email protected]

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