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U.S. Army patents new blast debris protection system
by Geoff Ziezulewicz
Natick, Mass. (UPI) Oct 14, 2016

U.S. Army testing M3 recoilless rifle improvements
Aberdeen Proving Grounds, Md. (UPI) Oct 14, 2016 - The U.S. Army is testing improvement upgrades to the M3 recoilless rifle, making it more ergonomic, lighter and shorter, the service announced Thursday.

Also known as the multi-role anti-armor and anti-personnel weapon system, or MAAWS, the shoulder-fired weapon is being upgraded as part of a foreign technology program, the Army said in a statement.

The upgraded weapon will be known as the M3E1 when testing and qualifications are completed in the spring, at which time it will be available for procurement by all Defense Department branches.

It fires a high-explosive round to engage light armored vehicles, bunkers and soft structures.

The upgraded weapon can fire the existing suite of MAAWS ammunition.

Army engineers and weapons experts worked with Sweden's Saab Bofors Dynamics to test and qualify the weapon.

The U.S. Army has patented a new design for a harness that better protects the groin and femoral arteries from blast debris, the service announced Thursday.

The harness, designed at the Natick Soldier Research, Development and Engineering Center, is worn outside the pants and also helps prevent debris from embedding in and around the groin, the Army said in a statement.

"Such injuries can be so severe that repeated surgeries are often needed to remove the debris, leading to extreme discomfort as well as health and hygiene issues," the Army said. "The harness has also been adapted to provide fragmentation protection."

Design began after a joint urgent operational needs statement was issued for blast debris protection.

The design uses multiple layers of Kevlar that alternate as they overlap to provide protection.

It has resulted in a design that hugs the body without hindering movement.

The design is expected to one day be licensed for use by first responders as well.

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