Welcome to the GSL Spotlightcurrently
Modular Protective Systems for Future Force Assets
ERDC-GSL team members are leading an effort to develop physical protective
measures that keep U.S. warfighters safer.
This research, called Modular Protective Systems for Future Force Assets (MPS)
addresses the newest challenges of the battlefield environment, which call for
protective capabilities that combine low weights and high performance
characteristics in a manner that can be adapted to changing scenarios and
Work on MPS began in FY05 and, within 42 months, was fully developed
as an Army Technology Objective and had been incorporated into the inventory
Traditional measures have employed high-mass, high-logistics materials (such
as soil and concrete) to construct soil berms, earthen revetments, and
concrete barriers. While these methods provide relatively predictable levels
of protection, as observed during recent U.S. operations in Afghanistan and
Iraq, they create significant logistical constraints due to their size and
weight. Another concern is that they often allow no capability for recovery
and reuse. Also, because of the logistics for emplacing these techniques,
use has been limited to at least semi-permanent applications. This offers
the warfighter no physical protection capabilities that are applicable in
rapid deployment and recovery scenarios that have little or no construction
The initial phase (Spiral 1.0) of MPS consists of a lightweight space frame
and composite armor panels that have been validated for protection against a
wide range of threat munitions. The system was designed such that all
components are one- or two-man portable and require no construction assets
to emplace an 8-ft-tall protective wall. Because protection is provided by a
multi-layered armor panel system, protection levels can be tailored by the
user based on threats in the area and available resources.
In a demonstration conducted in late FY07, the protective wall system
successfully provided tailorable protection from a wide range of threats
(direct, indirect, shoulder-fired rocket and bare charge threats).
The first set of MPS arrived in-theater in May 2008. Work during Spiral 2.0
will involve modifying the design based on feedback from this initial
insertion. In addition, the Navy is pursuing the transition of MPS
capabilities to the Seabee construction forces.
MPS provides U.S. warfighters with a lightweight, modular, and recoverable
protective wall system that previously did not exist within the inventory
and is better aligned with the current battlefield environment, enabling our
nation’s warfighters to face the ever-adapting asymmetric threat.
Nicholas Boone, ERDC
Geotechnical and Structures Laboratory