FORT HOOD, Texas (KWTX) While celebrating 50 years of operational testing, the Army is beefing up with nonstop rounds of equipment screening.
(Photo by Chelsea Edwards)
The plan is to give soldiers the best, most modern tools on the battlefield, and the latest upgrades have been a year in the making.
For years, improvised explosive devices have claimed the lives of hundreds of soldiers and injured thousands more.
“The enemy is continuously changing its tactics and what they use for IEDs," says Capt. Christopher Ross, commander of the 937th Route Clearance Company.
On Fort Hood's testing grounds Tuesday, troops rolled out new equipment to detect them before they go off.
"With lessons learned in combat, we've taken these pieces of equipment back to the lab and made them better," says Brig. Gen. William D. Taylor, commanding general of Operational Test Command.
"We have the ability to get out ahead, to see things faster, to see things further out so that we can make decisions that will help us a lot earlier."
Moving at less than two miles an hour, the Husky Mounted Detection System (HMDS) 2 leads a pack of vehicles on the test road, scanning for hidden explosives and marking their location.
The Explosive Hazard Pre-detonation Roller follows behind and can take on mines and other devices created to kill.
"It creates a tier of safety and assurance for my engineers out there executing route clearance missions," says Ross.
The soldiers- some new to the husky and roller- are being tested too.
"They learn camaraderie and figuring out what works best out there with new pieces of equipment," adds the commander.
Their feedback could lead to mass production of the new tools and upgrades that can help soldiers get back home.
Following Tuesday’s trial, army leaders will continue traveling across the country to test more systems.
Up next, they'll head to Florida to do over-water and live fire missions with the newest version of the Apache helicopter.