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U.S. Army Testing Personal Cooling Suits 398

DJ BenBen writes to tell us that they Army is currently testing some 500 liquid cooled vests with Humvee crews in Iraq. From the article: "The Humvees with add-on armor were fitted with air conditioners after TARDEC engineers in Warren, Mich., were given the requirement to figure out how Soldiers in armored vehicles could be kept cool under the desert sun. Some of the same engineers had designed the add-on armor kits for the M-998 and M-1025 Humvees in theater. But with the extra armor and doors closed, temperatures inside the vehicles could reportedly reach more than 130 degrees. 'It's like putting somebody in a toaster oven on low heat,' said Charlie Bussee, an engineer at TARDEC."
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U.S. Army Testing Personal Cooling Suits

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  • Re:Hot and cold? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Jeremi ( 14640 ) on Tuesday December 20, 2005 @08:24PM (#14304877) Homepage
    I'm not a doctor, but is it good for soldiers' health to be hot and cold simultaneously?

    Possibly, but it's got to be better than dying of heatstroke.

    Personally, I'd say being in Iraq is bad for American soldiers' health... but that's just me.

  • by Shining Celebi ( 853093 ) on Tuesday December 20, 2005 @08:27PM (#14304911) Homepage
    of them being deployed? Even if all the tests go as planned, what are the chances the government is going buy one for every member of the military in Iraq?
  • by Kuxman ( 876286 ) <> on Tuesday December 20, 2005 @08:27PM (#14304912) Homepage
    "A rapid-release system allows Soldiers to quickly disconnect the hoses so they can jump out of the vehicle and keep the vests on."

    Let's just hope that the water circulating through the vest is sucked out by the release system, or else that once-was-cold water is going to turn very hot and very heavy, RSN.
  • Here's a problem (Score:5, Insightful)

    by pummer ( 637413 ) <spam&pumm,org> on Tuesday December 20, 2005 @08:38PM (#14304996) Homepage Journal
    Sure, these vests might work great while in-vehicle. But they're worn under-armor; what happens when a soldier has to exit the vehicle quickly? Sure, the hoses are quick-release, but now he's got yet another layer of clothing on in the desert heat, a layer that probably doesn't help his maneuverability. Perhaps there's a better solution.
  • by gid13 ( 620803 ) on Tuesday December 20, 2005 @08:40PM (#14305013)
    What it takes to get them home safely: stop declaring war on people. :P
  • Re:Besides... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by iggymanz ( 596061 ) on Tuesday December 20, 2005 @08:43PM (#14305043)
    that's a great idea, but of course we then still need this system to keep the beer cold.
  • by commodoresloat ( 172735 ) on Tuesday December 20, 2005 @08:53PM (#14305124)
    Actually, we don't usually declare wars; we just wage them.
  • by geekoid ( 135745 ) <dadinportland AT yahoo DOT com> on Tuesday December 20, 2005 @09:05PM (#14305209) Homepage Journal
    man, thats funny. I wonder how many mods will get it?
  • Re:Not that hot... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Hamster Of Death ( 413544 ) on Tuesday December 20, 2005 @09:09PM (#14305236)
    Do you wear full body armour on top of coveralls and carry 50 pounds of equipment wherever you go on those days? I know I sure as hell wouldn't if I had the choice hehe.

  • Sure (Score:5, Insightful)

    by geekoid ( 135745 ) <dadinportland AT yahoo DOT com> on Tuesday December 20, 2005 @09:10PM (#14305239) Homepage Journal
    I am going on a limg here and say your not wearing T-shirt, long pants, long sleeves, helmet, flak jacket,canteen, side arm, automatic weaponn, ammo, etc . . .

    All while looking for people trying to kill you.

    " I *never* even turn on my car's air conditioner (though admitedly, most people do)."

    yeah, well your a kook.

  • by CaymanIslandCarpedie ( 868408 ) on Tuesday December 20, 2005 @09:37PM (#14305426) Journal
    Oh boy :-( Don't tell me you are trying to tie 9/11 to Iraq. Dubya/Dick..that you?
  • by achurch ( 201270 ) on Tuesday December 20, 2005 @09:38PM (#14305434) Homepage
    I can think of 3,000 or so people who might disagree with this, if they could.

    And I can think of 30,000 or so [] people who might agree with it, if they could. Your point?

  • What am I missing? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by FreeBSD evangelist ( 873412 ) on Tuesday December 20, 2005 @09:44PM (#14305468)
    Why don't they just fix the air conditioning in the HumVee in the first place.
  • Nuts (Score:3, Insightful)

    by thunderpaws ( 199100 ) on Tuesday December 20, 2005 @10:09PM (#14305599)
    A small cooler for the head, and maybe for under the armpits, would be cheaper and more easily distributed to all infantry that would not add much bulk or weight to their body armor. More junk makes it harder the the troops to fire and maneuver. These suits are better suited for armor rather than scout vehicles.
  • by Simonetta ( 207550 ) on Tuesday December 20, 2005 @10:19PM (#14305665)
    Sooner or later, the Americans in Iraq will do what all the other people who have invaded Iraq over the past three thousand years have done. Which is, go native.

      20 million people live in Iraq all year round all their lives. Do what they do to deal with the heat. Instead of $5000 air conditioned suits, consider wearing a shawez kameez or other clothing that has been developed by the locals over a thousand years to deal with the climate. Since the Americans are going to be there for a long time, they may as well start making an effort to blend in.

        Iraq has been invaded countless times in its history. After a few years the invaders either move on to someplace with better weather or they start the long process of becoming just another minority in Iraq. The Americans are really any different. Eventually the individual solders will drift out of the command structure and find that they have to make a seperate peace with the local people. Dressing like them is a good start.
  • Re:Peltier Cooler? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by v1 ( 525388 ) on Tuesday December 20, 2005 @10:21PM (#14305670) Homepage Journal
    Peltiers are nice in theory but they have one major drawback not many know about. They are not efficient. I have a development peltier here (1" x 1", 128 junctions, 12v) and it will condense water on the cold side almost instantly. BUT... on the hot side, I have a heat sink and it's pumping out lots of heat - a lot more than what's being pulled from the cold side. It draws about 2 amps at 12v, so it's dissipating about 25 watts of heat in addition to what's being pumped from the cold side.

    So peltiers actually work to generate heat in your vicinity, and have to be kept cooled. This peltier will try to hold about a 45 degree temp difference between the hot and cold side. So if the hot side heats up to say, 95 degrees due to inefficiency, it can only drop the cold side down to 50 degrees.

    I've also heard people comment about "stacking" peltiers, to increase the cooling. (temp differential) This is great if they are not each producing 25 watts of heat. If you have two of them stacked, the "downwind" peltier is having to dump what... 35 or so watts of heat to its hot side, in addition to the 25 it's adding, so you're getting closer to 60 watts of heat being sent to the heat sink now, so you know it's going to get a lot hotter than with one peltier - which will raise your cold side temp which is what you were trying NOT to do. Stacking peltiers is rarely useful or productive.
  • by OldManAndTheC++ ( 723450 ) on Tuesday December 20, 2005 @10:28PM (#14305704)
    What's worse is that our military operations are no longer even called wars, they are police actions, conflicts, and authorized uses of force.

    The term war is now only utilized for government policies with no chance of success, such as the "War on Drugs", the "War on Poverty" and the "War on Terror". And since we have no hope of winning, "war" is now a permanent state of affairs.

  • by mnmn ( 145599 ) on Tuesday December 20, 2005 @11:12PM (#14306022) Homepage
    Americans I've known had trouble going without the undies. They just need something tight to squish the package no matter the weather.

    I dont know about the arabic dress but the shalwar kameez is awesome and very versatile. People wear it in the morning jogging, soldiers wear it fighting, its a nightgown and a formal dress too. We used to just order 5x of em back home in different colors, and use the older ones for nightgowns etc. The tailor just had our measurements, no hassle, no hawaii shirts for friday or beach shorts or khakhis for casual days or tux for wedding days etc.

    Getting back to history, when we (Mongols) had Iraq we couldnt last much long in there. We left some governors in cool areas and the rest left. Russia was much nicer. I dont expect the Americans to simply adjust to the 50C heat, well maybe the aussies and the texans. Certainly not the New Yorkers.
  • by Robbyboy ( 802040 ) <wukichra&charter,net> on Tuesday December 20, 2005 @11:22PM (#14306082)

    I was going to let this thread go but this post kinda hit my buttons. Normally, I wouldnt reply to an anonymous coward, but I defend this individuals right to spew whatever he wants as an anonymous coward.

    First -- 130 degrees? Where were they testing this thing, Michigan in August? It regularly hits 110-120 in that area of the world. Going on the 35 degree temp spread as mentioned in the article, we are talking 110 outside, 145+ inside... Hmmmmm

    Second -- Can you deal with the personal discomfort of a field environment, temps regularly hitting triple digits (Im talking outdoors, not in a tactical vehicle, Tacticle vehicles, you will yearn for 90 after 10 mins on one of them), combat stress of random bullets flying around? This poster probabally has a nice and cushy desk job in a safe, air-conditioned office somewhere. If so, the cold is causing this person to forget something interesting:

    When was the last time the USA has fought any type of conflict in a desert environment FOR A SUSTAINED PERIOD. Desert Shield/Storm was quick in the grand scheme of things. Most of our conflicts were in a tropical or continental type of environment (continental I mean grassy/forests... not desert or rainforest extremes). We have not had to deal with any type of sustained combat operations in a desert environment.

    The stresses that are experienced by both our equipment and Troops out there have forced a major rethinking of strategy and equipping of our personnel to address these climatic extremes. I think AC units in these HMMWV's are a nifty idea, but not necessarially a good one due to the cost of maintaining one in a piece of equipment like this, in the environment that they serve in. Same extends to these vests, good idea in theory, lets see how well this equipment lasts when our fightin boys beat this equipment up. Yes, they take care of it because its their lifeline, but we will see how they handle the combat stresses endured in daily operations. I hope it works, because we need this type of gear and a conflict like this is allowing our best and brightest in this country to think outside of the box to provide us with equipment that will make life a little more tolerable.

    So In closing anonymous coward; YOU enjoy your air-conditioning and cushy life... Maybe if you want an idea of how we feel, without stressing your self out too badly... Wear a 3 piece suit (Its about as heavy as the utility uniform). Drive to work when its nice and hot outside (80+ stateside should do the trick) with your windows cracked and your heat on full blast... You will get an idea of what we deal with. Oh, add the body armor, 3 weeks of stink from not taking a shower, oh and bullets, yes bullets flying at you randomly. You will have somewhat of a clue what is dealt with. Are these ideas perfect? Hell no... But it is a logical idea that cant hurt at this point. Robert Active Duty Marine Maintenance Management Specialist My comments do not reflect that of the US Government or Marine Corps. Just one little guy's random thoughts based on my version of reality, it may or may not match up with yours.

  • by rev_g33k_101 ( 886348 ) <> on Tuesday December 20, 2005 @11:58PM (#14306284) Journal
    Hmmm where to start with this AC

    Let me start with the fact you are such a W.I.M.P. that you won't even stand up to your own ideas (AKA: putting your name on your post)

    Or the fact that you have directed your distaste for the Iraq war at completely the wrong people.

    Don't like the war? Do not take it out on the soldiers, sailors, marines, or airmen; we did not ask to go to war, we did not ask to go to Iraq, take it out on the man that gave the order to do it. G.W. should be the brunt of your comments, my brothers in arms and I are just following orders

    We did not swear an oath to bring freedom to the world, we swore an oath to protect the constitution of the United States ageist all enemies foreign and domestic.

    So please, lay off the "sanctioned murders" crap and carry on with your life knowing that you can say that because the blood for my forefathers was shed to insure you have the freedom of speech.

    BTW: you will notice I am willing to take a karma hit for my ideas, AND a lot more too.
  • by evilviper ( 135110 ) on Wednesday December 21, 2005 @12:45AM (#14306512) Journal
    Yeah, because the natives drive around in heavily armored humvees all day long, right?

    If they did, they would be much COOLER. If you read the article, you'd know standard air conditioning is already used, and gets up to 95F degrees at most. Outside tempuratures are much higer.

    If you can handle outside tempuratures for long periods of time, you can handle sitting in a humvee.
  • by Yartrebo ( 690383 ) on Wednesday December 21, 2005 @01:58AM (#14306809)
    I do wonder what the mods are for? This post wasn't even intended to be controversial. Is it the word propaganda? Anything with spin is propaganda, and virtually all media has some level of spin. The EFF has its anti-software patent propaganda. Smokey Bear (actually, the agency behind it) has its anti-forest fire propaganda. General Motors throws their propaganda all over the place in the form of advertisements, product placement, their annual report, and other forms of marketing. Church sermons and holy books (Bible, Koran, etc.) are propaganda. This post itself is propaganda because I'm trying to advance my views. Whoever rated my post is also engaging in propaganda in their own little way.

    My original post was just trying to say that the military would love a slashdoting because it means that their web site is so successful that they actually ran out of bandwidth or computer resources and that they'd be happy, not upset.
  • by Kadin2048 ( 468275 ) <> on Wednesday December 21, 2005 @02:25AM (#14306900) Homepage Journal
    The duty cycle on a piece of equipment used by NASCAR drivers isn't going to be anything like what it's going to experience in the military. How often do drivers race? Once a week, a few times a week? Once a day at most? How many connect/disconnect cycles are the connectors rated for? And the equipment is probably inspected after each use, and if it does fail, the consequences are relatively minor.

    Especially when these things are new and there aren't enough to go around, I could easily see one of these suits getting near-continuous usage in the military. That's twenty four hours a day in dusty, dirty, physically abusive conditions, subjected to all sorts of vibration, crushing, pinching, and abrasion, until it's either obviously unserviceable or fails.

    Adapting commercial off-the-shelf equipment for military usage isn't something that the people who design this stuff haven't though of. If there are civilian products like this already, I have no doubt that they probably have several for testing already. But that doesn't mean that they should just be sent out as-is; there are much more rigorous standards for military equipment than commercial stuff for a reason. I've seen what happens to COTS gear, even well made stuff, when it's subjected to military use for any length of time. It gets eaten up. In some cases that's okay -- it's considered practically disposable because it's cheap compared to mil-spec equivalents -- and people tend to get away with it in training sometimes as a result. But having stuff fail every 1000 hours versus every 10,000 hours means a lot more than just multiplying the manufacturing cost by 10, when you have a supply chain that stretches around the world.

    I guess my biggest point is this: the people that develop these things aren't stupid. Neither are the people who maintain the supply chains, and do the cost/benefit analysis. You can be sure that somewhere, someplace, somebody probably made a spreadsheet and a powerpoint presentation on why it was a better move to develop a military version of these suits, than to just order a whole lot more of the COTS version. We may not ever see that analysis exactly, and as a result the system seems wasteful (which is a different argument in itself: one about transparency), but it doesn't mean that's actually the case.
  • by ACME Septic ( 936684 ) on Wednesday December 21, 2005 @03:35AM (#14307107) Homepage
    I dont expect the Americans to simply adjust to the 50C heat, well maybe the aussies and the texans. Certainly not the New Yorkers. Two things. (a) You've never been in Manhattan in the summer time, and (b) you don't know where Australia is located.
  • by kamapuaa ( 555446 ) on Wednesday December 21, 2005 @05:09AM (#14307348) Homepage
    How does this get rated +5? It makes no sense These clothes aren't for what to wear around town, it's for what to wear while in an armored running tank with poor ventilation. Iraqi clothing wasn't developed for such cases and wouldn't be appropriate - it doesn't matter what clothes you wear or don't wear, they won't keep you cool at 130 degrees without ventilation.

    And the idea that American soldiers are going to start blending in with native populations is of course completely ludicrous. Not so say it couldn't happen in the far future, but it's certainly not happening now, give me a break.

  • by mtdnelson ( 772896 ) on Wednesday December 21, 2005 @05:13AM (#14307358) Homepage

    Or the fact that you have directed your distaste for the Iraq war at completely the wrong people.

    When did the GP mention Iraq?

    Don't like the war? Do not take it out on the soldiers, sailors, marines, or airmen; we did not ask to go to war, we did not ask to go to Iraq, take it out on the man that gave the order to do it. G.W. should be the brunt of your comments, my brothers in arms and I are just following orders

    The "just following orders" line makes no sense. Do you accept no responsibility for your own actions? Did you not choose to sign up? You can't use someone else as an excuse for your actions.

"I'm not afraid of dying, I just don't want to be there when it happens." -- Woody Allen