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SSC-Natick Press Release

U.S. Army Soldier Systems Center-Natick
Public Affairs Office
Kansas Street
Natick, MA 01760-5012

Contact: Chief, Public Affairs Office
(508) 233-5340

Date: February 28, 2003
No: 03-06

Shelters Get Spacious

NATICK, Mass. More space is what the Army wanted for their Tactical Operations Centers, and that's what it will get with the Large Standard Integrated Command Post System (LSICPS) being developed at the U.S. Army Soldier Systems Center here.

The new shelter, under a program led by the 21st Century Fabric Structures Team for Product Manager-Platforms and U.S. Army Communications-Electronics Command in Fort Monmouth, N.J., will provide 450 square feet of space, nearly four times the size of the current Modular Command Post Tent System.

The Natick team searched the commercial market and received 10 proposals through a Commerce Business Daily request for shelter information. Of three proposals the team submitted for consideration, an air beam supported shelter and a product improved, Tent Extended Modular Personnel (TEMPER) were selected for full assessment.

A commercial "pop-up" tent and modified Modular General Purpose Tent System (MGPTS) were the other two selected for further evaluation.

All four shelters were independently tested at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md., last fall, but only the modified TEMPER and MGPTS should meet the standards, according to Frank Kostka, 21st Century Fabric Structures Group team leader.

"Whether or not the TEMPER is the final selection, there's a strong possibility of incorporating it into the family of TEMPER tents," he said, which would add to the TEMPER's 20 present configurations.

At the battalion level and up, extra space for the command staff is in demand. The standard solution now is to join multiple small SICPS shelters.

"When you put four or five of the 11-foot by 11-foot SICPS tents together, you get problems with leakage and you can't access the roof to get the snow off of them," Kostka said.

Alternatively, units are buying commercial tents, many of which are incompatible with the military operations.

"Pop-up tents are quickly erected and look military, but they're too lightweight to withstand snow load testing and not rugged enough to pass durability testing," said Kostka.

Although designed to meet the load requirements, snow knocked out the air beam tent from contention when the weight of it twisted a fitting in the air frame that resulted in leakage. Kostka said the lessons learned are useful in knowing what changes are needed to meet the requirements, and he anticipates the highly-regarded air beam technology to be used in the future in command post and medical shelters.

"Everybody loves a tent that rolls out and sets itself up," he said. "Six people can set up the TEMPER LSICPS in about 25 minutes while it takes the same number of people seven minutes with the air beam."

He said users want simplicity, durability and fast setup in temperatures from -50 to 120 degrees F.

The Soldier Systems Center tent prototype shop constructed the TEMPER LSICPS sent to Aberdeen as a single 24-foot section to reduce seams and setup time of otherwise connecting three of the TEMPER's standard 8-foot sections.

The TEMPER's fly was removed because heat-sealed stitchless seams, used for the first time on this tent, close out moisture.

An integral plenum for the heating, ventilation and air conditioning system, and integral liner for overhead lighting further simplify the system.

Other components included are an electrical distribution system, tables and map boards. Attached vestibule rings are included as anchor points when the protected pathway from the vehicle carrying the system is in place. If selected, soldiers' familiarity with the TEMPER will shorten training time on setup for the LSICPS, Kostka said.

Another advantage is that the TEMPER, unlike commercial shelters, is supportable with spare parts through Defense Supply Center-Philadelphia.

"You just can't enter an (National Stock Number) and a get a delivery," Kostka said about commercial shelters.

The modified MGPTS is based on a current military design, so it's expected to also meet the requirements.

Development time for the program was shortened from three years to 10 months because they started with a mature idea and tweaked it for this application, which is a huge achievement for the government, he said.

The LSICPS is scheduled for initial fielding to the 3rd Stryker Brigade Combat Team in Alaska in 2004.

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This page last updated on 28 February 2003.