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View Full Version : Iowa NG creates "predator-style" ammo packs


Fonzy
10-20-2011, 11:06
Never underestimate the creativeness of a soldier in need. Thought some of you gentlemen would like to see this.

Remember in Predator when Jess Ventura is unleashing his M-134 Mini-gun into the forest? It was being fed by an ammo box strapped to his back. Turns out, that wasn't an actual piece of Army kit, at least until members of the Iowa National Guard created it themselves.

The National Guard division had been recently deployed to a forward operating base in Afghanistan and were issued Mk 48 machine guns when they arrived. The problem was, the belts of ammunition were extremely cumbersome and difficult for the gun's operator to carry while on foot-patrol. The initial solution of chopping the belts into 50-round lengths and reloading constantly was abandoned after a harrowing 2.5 hour long firefight proved it untenable.

So, Staff Sgt. Vincent Winkowski welded two ammo boxes atop one another (with the upper case's bottom removed), lashed them to an all-purpose ALICE pack frame, and mounted the feed chute assembly from a vehicle-mounted CROW to the top of it. This allowed the gunner to carry a full load of ammo—500 rounds—unassisted. Even with ammo, the entire system weighed a mere 43 pounds.

The pack, dubbed The Ironman, proved so reliable in combat that Winkowski submitted the design to Army science advisers who also immediately recognized its value. Within 48 days, the Quick Reaction Cell of the Natick Soldier Research, Development and Engineering Center (NSRDEC) had created an improved, lighter-weight version of the pack.

As, Dave Roy, a current operations analyst at NSRDEC, explains,

We've already gotten email traffic from (one of) our science advisers that everybody in theater wants one of these — and by in theater, he means his specific area of operation, Regional Command East in Afghanistan — because word has spread. That (Iowa National Guard) unit is not the only unit on that FOB. As they're walking around the FOB with that piece of kit, very senior people are taking a look at it. They recognize it as a game-changer.

While The Ironman is still a prototype at this stage, Roy hopes to have acquisition funding secured by early next year. [US Army]

Source: http://gizmodo.com/5850742/how-the-iowa-national-guard-built-their-own-predator+style-ammo-packs

Santo Tomas
10-20-2011, 11:58
My TM SGT and I built one while in Panama. We riveted the plastic E-Type silhouttes together to make the case. A large wooden spool assisted the linked 7.62 coming out of the case to not get stuck. We attached the case to a rucksack frame. It held about 600 rds. We took it to Colombia once and put in on one of the little guys. They held up pretty well but the weight of the ammo put some of them on their knees.

I do like how they will feed the ammo on the new one. But I think the gunner will have to pull the ammo belt out as I don't think the weapons feed mechanism has enough pull. We had that problem also.

bk1133
10-20-2011, 13:37
I was a Huey Crew Chief in the Corps in the early 80's. A SEAL on our cruise, 83-84 USS Guam, used one of our M60 feed shutes in the same way. I don't know how he rigged it inside the ALICE pack.

Papa Zero Three
10-20-2011, 13:51
Not to discount what the Joe did on the ground with what he had, but Natick dropped the ball when they decided to spend tax payer money to "develop" something that has been a COTS item way before Iowa Joe put his contraption together. TYR tactical has built and sold the MICO for awhile now and it's been readily available, it's not like TYR was back ordered and couldn't provide them in time. This kind of stuff just makes me shake my head. Maybe someone should tell the woman who lead the Natick project about this new device called the Internet and how to search it....that is if she isn't busy creating a world wide web herself.:rolleyes:
MICO machine Gun assault pack (http://www.tyrtactical.com/products/details/backpacks/mico-light-and-heavy-machine-gunners-assault-pack/)
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mark46th
10-21-2011, 17:00
I used a canteen cover to hold a belt of ammo for the A6 that I had to carry in training group!

Iraqgunz
10-22-2011, 07:58
Tyr Tactical is down the street from me- about 15 minutes or so. Someone should send that link to someone at Natick and then remind them how stuipd they are.

Kind of like the money that was wasted on the new M4/M16 magazine follwer because they didn't want to pay money to Magpul or give them credit.

Not to discount what the Joe did on the ground with what he had, but Natick dropped the ball when they decided to spend tax payer money to "develop" something that has been a COTS item way before Iowa Joe put his contraption together. TYR tactical has built and sold the MICO for awhile now and it's been readily available, it's not like TYR was back ordered and couldn't provide them in time. This kind of stuff just makes me shake my head. Maybe someone should tell the woman who lead the Natick project about this new device called the Internet and how to search it....that is if she isn't busy creating a world wide web herself.:rolleyes:
MICO machine Gun assault pack (http://www.tyrtactical.com/products/details/backpacks/mico-light-and-heavy-machine-gunners-assault-pack/)
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drymartini66
10-22-2011, 11:19
In the field as with everywhere else, necessity is the mother of invention.

Peregrino
10-23-2011, 22:08
I'm not betting anything but I sincerely hope Natick can produce a viable solution for a hell of a lot less than $4000.00 each. Yes - sometimes gear is expensive, but I AM SHIT TIRED OF GETTING RIPPED OFF BY CONTRACTORS.

Papa Zero Three
10-23-2011, 23:24
I'm not betting anything but I sincerely hope Natick can produce a viable solution for a hell of a lot less than $4000.00 each. Yes - sometimes gear is expensive, but I AM SHIT TIRED OF GETTING RIPPED OFF BY CONTRACTORS.

I agree with you but knowing how Natick works they spent more in the end trying to reinvent the wheel and spent a dollar to save a dime. When you look into how much just the parts to build that system cost alone plus figure the man hours to make it, the 4k price tag isn't that hard to believe . A large part of the cost is just for the metal feed chute from the pack to the weapon. I looked into it and was surprised how expensive that stuff is,even for a short section.

Brush Okie
10-23-2011, 23:25
I'm not betting anything but I sincerely hope Natick can produce a viable solution for a hell of a lot less than $4000.00 each. Yes - sometimes gear is expensive, but I AM SHIT TIRED OF GETTING RIPPED OFF BY CONTRACTORS.

Get used to it. IMHO developing gear is no longer about helping the soldier but about lining their pockets cash and/or justifying their job.

I will admit I am cynical but not without reason. When we had a shortage of vehicles a few years back we loaned or gave the big motor companies cash to keep from going under yet their assembly lines sat idle. Simple and better would have been to have them build much needed vehicles for the troops that way not only is the taxpayer getting something for our money but the troops would get the needed equiptment and workers would be at work not collecting unemployment, but what the hell do I know.

Longstreet
10-24-2011, 00:20
IMHO developing gear is no longer about helping the soldier but about lining their pockets cash and/or justifying their job.

Contractors lining their pockets to produce gear for US soldiers is nothing new. During the Civil War, the general feeling was whatever you had the guts to charge the Federal Government, you got. Sorry I cannot remember if this was the US Federal Government or the CS Federal Government or both.

At least quality control is better today (I hope). Many times back then, the government would purchase firearms that would constantly malfunction. Or I remember reading about a contractor charging top dollar for a large number of thoroughbred horses only to deliver the most mangiest, malnourished, 'ready for the glue farm' steeds you ever saw.

jaYson

SF-TX
10-24-2011, 07:53
Contractors lining their pockets to produce gear for US soldiers is nothing new. During the Civil War, the general feeling was whatever you had the guts to charge the Federal Government, you got. Sorry I cannot remember if this was the US Federal Government or the CS Federal Government or both.

jaYson


Robert Parker Parrott belies that statement.


"...If I were a younger man [he said] I should return to the army, and do what I could to aid my country there; but at my age, and in my position, I am denied the opportunity of helping the Government in that way. But in this way I can be of use, and I intend that these guns shall cost the United States no more than is absolutely necessary."

This remark was called forth by the remonstrance made to him that the prices he fixed for his cannon etc. were unnecessarily low; that he would receive no credit from any one for his moderation; that the Government must purchase all that he could manufacture on his own terms (as was indeed the case), and that here was the opportunity, which could never occur again, to acquire enormous wealth.

Smiling in the quiet way habitual to him, he replied that he had no desire to possess extraordinary riches, and that he would rather not acquire them in that way; and then, with earnest seriousness, he spoke as has been quoted. As he had spoken so he did.

He furnished his ordnance and projectiles to the Government on terms most advantageous to it, and although the enormous increase in the cost of materials and labor, which occurred as the war continued, compelled him to increase his prices, those charged to the United States were certainly at no time equal to what he would have exacted from any other purchaser.

When the Internal Revenue law went into force, levying a tax of three, and afterwards five, percent on the value of manufactures, he was entitled to have it remitted on his products which he was furnishing to the Government on standing contracts entered into before the enacting of these laws.

He declined, however, to ask for such remittance, preferring to pay from month to month large sums, deducted from his legitimate profits, in aid of the necessities of his country.

So when the war, so long protracted, came happily to a sudden close in the surrender of the armies of Lee and Johnston, he had not long before concluded with the Ordnance Department a contract for a large number of guns and projectiles.

Knowing that the Government would now no longer require them, and having no wish to profit by furnishing what would be of not use to it, he made known to the Department that, although he was of course ready to fill the contract if it were desired, if it were considered to the interest to the Government to annul it, he was content that it should be done. The contract was accordingly canceled.

These instances of his upright conduct are not cited in the spirit of exalted praised, but as illustrative of his honorable character which, with the basis on which it was formed, this memorial is designed to commemorate...

Source (http://www.civilwarartillery.com/inventors/ParrottBio.htm)

Longstreet
10-24-2011, 08:36
Robert Parker Parrott belies that statement.

As with everything certain, there is always an exception.

Major General Smedley Darlington Butler would disagree with your quote though (he did not fight during the Civi War, but did engage in a number of other wars including the Spanish-American War and WWI) as he was convinced that there is much profiteering that occurs during war. He wrote a speech and book titled War Is A Racket which outlines how businesses benefit greatly from warfare.

General Butler made suggestions on how to limit profiteering from the government during wartime. His first one is to 'conscript' those companies that will aid in the war effort and pay them enough to cover their expenses. All workers - regardless of positions within the company - would be paid what a private in the army earns. He also suggests that wars should be decided upon by the people who are fighting them (rather than politicians). His final idea calls for limitations of the US military.

He definatly had some original thinking.

jaYson

Longstreet
10-24-2011, 09:01
I almost forgot. Since I did first make reference to the American Civil War, the US Secretary of War Simon Cameron stepped down after allegations of corruption as he constantly bought from contractors who charged top dollar, but supplied low quality equipment for Federal troops.

The fact that he is reported to have said, "An honest politician is one who, when he is bought, will stay bought." speaks volumes.

jaYson

Iraqgunz
10-24-2011, 09:26
I happened to have corresponded with Jason from Tyr Tactical the other day about this and he stated that not only was his better, but it is in fact cheaper when one factors in what they spent on R&D.

He also told me that the feedback he has received from those whom have used them is that there is nothing else like it.

I'm not betting anything but I sincerely hope Natick can produce a viable solution for a hell of a lot less than $4000.00 each. Yes - sometimes gear is expensive, but I AM SHIT TIRED OF GETTING RIPPED OFF BY CONTRACTORS.

Razor
10-24-2011, 12:38
All workers - regardless of positions within the company - would be paid what a private in the army earns.

Cool, so the government would also provide both a meal card and dining facilities for all the workers, or separate rations for those that are married, along with housing (or a housing allowance) and clothing and issued equipment as well? They'd provide free medical care for the workforce, and very low cost care for their families? Life insurance? The government would absorb the cost of these workers taking 30 days off a year, along with all federal holidays and "family days" on top of that?

Of course, he must have also wanted to standardize pay in the military to be equitable--private to general, everyone gets paid the same amount each month--since that's what he'd be demanding of private industry.

Boy, I'm glad ol' Smed thought that one through.