PICATINNY ARSENAL, N.J. — An invention developed at Picatinny Arsenal, now being shipped to Afghanistan, will make ammunition stowage safer and more effective for Soldiers onboard combat vehicles.Simply referred to as “MARS,” the Modular Ammunition Restraint System was created and prototyped about a year ago, and since then more than 700 of them have been fielded to combat zones.
Picatinny packaging engineers Mike Ivankoe and Peggy Wilson, along with former Picatinny employee Lt. Col. Glenn Dean (who has since relocated to Warren, Mich.) are the three inventors of MARS.
Ivanoke is a resident of Chatham, N.J., and has 31 years of service at Picatinny. Wilson resides in Great Meadowns, N.J., and has seven years experience at the arsenal.
As members of the Armament Research, Development and Engineering Center, Ivankoe, Wilson and Dean responded to an urgent request from Soldiers for a safer way to store ammunition containers on Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicles.
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For years, Soldiers have been relying on their own makeshift methods (such as straps, bungee cords, duct tape) to secure ammo containers inside MRAPs because they were not provided with any other solution.
Virtually every cubic inch within an MRAP is occupied with mission-essential equipment, making ammunition stowage a challenge.
The situation posed several problems. Once Soldiers cut the straps or removed the bungee cords, it was difficult (and sometimes impossible) to re-secure the ammo again, especially in the rapid pace of a combat mission. Moreover, in the event of a roadside bomb or improvised explosive device, loose ammunition containers could trigger a disaster.
Essentially, MARS is a custom-engineered bag, similar to a camera bag or backpack that holds standard metal ammunition containers. Inside the bag is a steel, L-shaped bracket that not only supports the weight of a full ammunition box (about 50 pounds), but it also provides a strong surface for mounting the bag to a custom interface rail, another component of the MARS system.
Additionally, the adjustable hook and loop closures and specially-designed buckle allow Soldiers to tailor MARS for smaller ammunition containers