By Mr. Clarence White, Military Test Plans Analyst, Maneuver Support and Sustainment Test Directorate, U.S. Army Operational Test Command Public Affairs
DUGWAY PROVING Ground, Utah — Over 60 Soldiers joined operational testers here, using the Contamination Indication Decontamination Assurance System (CIDAS) Small Scale Application Nerve (SSA-N) while conducting immediate decontamination missions.
The initial operational test (IOT) provided input to the Army Evaluation Center (AEC) on the effectiveness and suitability of the SSA-N systems during dedicated field tests under realistic conditions.
“CIDAS is a family of systems that provide a contamination indication technology for visually indicating the presence and location of traditional nerve and blister chemical warfare agents (CWA),” said Sgt. 1st Class Jeremy Washington, non-commissioned officer in charge.
“The CIDAS promises to visually detect CWAs and Non-traditional Agents (NTAs) on tactical vehicles, crew-served weapons, and individual weapons,” added Washington.
The Maneuver Support and Sustainment Test Directorate (MS2TD) of the West Fort Hood, Texas-based U.S. Army Operational Test Command collected data during the test to assist Army leadership with future acquisition decisions.
“Public law requires independent operational testing of all Army and joint-service equipment acquisition category 1 and 2,” said Heidi Watts, chief of the Maneuver Support Division. “As a risk reduction mechanism, the program office elected to operationally test CIDAS in order to proceed to full rate production.”
The indicator is a liquid colorimetric technology with one variant for indicating acetylcholinesterase (AChE) inhibiting (nerve) CWA contamination and one variant for indicating blister agent. A nerve training indicator is also available and uses a urea-based stimulant to mimic the color transition of the nerve indicator.
The test team collected performance, and human systems integration data for the report that goes to senior Army leader decision makers.
“We’re collecting objective data like times and spray areas, as well as subjective data including subject matter expert and Soldier input through surveys,” said Eric Graham, the assigned USAOTC operations research analyst.
“Using real Soldiers under realistic conditions in which they are expected to fight in is a great advantage in the way operational testing is performed. These Soldiers are able to tell us what works and what does not, which contributes to readiness in the equipment modernization process,” he added.
USAOTC will complete data harvesting, processing the information through quality control checks, and have a report to AEC some time during October, Graham said.
About the U.S. Army Operational Test Command:
As the Army’s only independent operational tester, USAOTC tests Army, joint, and multi-service warfighting systems in realistic operational environments, using representative Soldiers to determine whether a system is effective, suitable, and survivable. Public law requires USAOTC to test major systems before they are fielded to its ultimate customer, the American Soldier.
The Maneuver Support and Sustainment Test Directorate at Fort Hood, Texas conducts operational tests of combat engineer, chemical, transportation, military police, quartermaster, ordnance and medical service systems in order to provide our senior leaders with the necessary information to field the highest quality equipment for the warfighter.