Human Factors Assessment of the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory Limb Protection Program (QuadGard Phase III Pre-Pilot Production Design)

Report No. ARL-TR-5655
Authors: Richard S. Bruno
Date/Pages: September 2011; 26 pages
Abstract: After visiting amputees in a military hospital in January 2004, the Secretary of the Navy, Gordon England, ordered the Office of Naval Research to develop body armor to envelop Soldiers'/Marines' limbs. This action resulted in a cooperative program cutting across services, industry, and academia to develop an armor system in less than 180 days. The U.S. Army Research Laboratory's Human Research and Engineering Directorate (HRED) provided human factors design guidance in the development of the QuadGard III limb protective system. HRED conducted limited human factors assessments to collect user feedback following static exercises and obstacle course negotiation. The static exercises showed little impact on body movements; however, the dynamics of the obstacle course required body movements that showed the configuration constricted movement. The participants reported configuration bulk and heat buildup. Compared to baseline condition (helmet and M4 rifle), obstacle course completion time was 16% greater when the baseline and outer tactical vest (OTV) were worn and 33% greater when wearing the baseline, OTV, and QuadGard arms and trousers. Recommended modifications of the QuadGard design configuration are to reduce and eliminate restrictions on the body in motion, improve air movement between the wearer and the armor, and improve the function of the configuration and user acceptance. Based on the results of this assessment, the U.S. Marine Corps System Command initiated phases IV and V QuadGard development.
Distribution: Approved for public release
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Last Update / Reviewed: September 1, 2011