Lightening the Load for Warfighters

Warfighters rely on technological equipment to ensure safety, mission effectiveness, and situational awareness. This equipment increases the capabilities of warfighters but also adds to their weight burden. The warfighter’s load can be aggregated into three major categories: (1) personal protective equipment (PPE), (2) weapons and ammunition, and (3) food, water and other supplies. The impact of excess loading is also compounded by environment factors, such as temperature, humidity, terrain and so on. This excess load could cause significant stress on the musculoskeletal system and lead to physiological deficits.

CFDRC is developing a system-level optimization environment to design a squad for critical missions while automatically lightening the load on individual warfighters. The model consists of both compact and high fidelity human models for evaluating warfighters’ performance. It enables the optimization-based tradeoff analysis between the weight and squad combat effectiveness by simulating the dynamics of the equipment as well as the individual warfighter, predicting motion of warfighters under load, and distributing equipment among a squad for various missions based on individual strength and training.

Lightening the Load