Limited Human Factors Assessment of the QuadGard Limb Protection System: U.S. Marine Corps Systems Command Limb Protection Program Overview (QuadGard Phases IV and V Production Designs)

Report No. ARL-TR-5656
Authors: Richard S. Bruno
Date/Pages: September 2011; 58 pages
Abstract: In response to blast-weapon threats and casualty trends in Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom, the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) was tasked to develop body armor that would protect Soldiers' extremities against blast fragments and small arms. NRL assembled a cooperative team to design and develop the QuadGard, which included the U.S. Army Research Laboratory (ARL), FS Technology, and Oklahoma State University. ARL's Human Research and Engineering Directorate assisted in evaluating the effects of the QuadGard on Soldier human factors. The Marine Corps Systems Command established three design requirements: (1) limb armor system compatibility between the standard outer tactical vest system, the personal armor system for ground troop helmet, and weapon interface, (2) detachable modular lower arm and leg armor segments, and (3) user mobility, flexibility, and comfort protection of vulnerable zones of the body. This report documents two limited human factors assessments and demonstrations of the QuadGard IV and V designs in which participants provided their opinions about their ability to perform generic tasks while wearing these systems. Limited results demonstrate that QuadGard did not interfere with the users' ability to negotiate an obstacle course, perform an exercise routine, shoot fire shoulder-fired weapons, and enter and exit military vehicles. The systems also allowed access for medics to perform field care. While wearing QuadGard, the participants rated their ability to perform exercise routines and generic tasks and rated system fit, form, and function from "acceptable" to "good". QuadGard V has since been patented and adopted by the U.S. Marines who use the system in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Distribution: Approved for public release
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Last Update / Reviewed: September 1, 2011