News: Soldiers assess TCAPS during NIE 13.2
Story by Sgt. Betty Y. Boomer
MCGREGOR RANGE, N.M. – Soldiers from 1st Battalion, 6th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade, 1st Armored Division, used the Tactical Communication and Protective System during Network Integrated Evaluation 13.2, occurring at Fort Bliss, Texas, and White Sands Missile Range, N.M., during the month of May.
The U.S. Army is evaluating commercial-off-the-shelf options for a new hearing-protection system that will provide soldiers with the situational awareness to increase mission effectiveness and the safety and survivability.
This NIE is the fifth in a series of semi-annual evaluations in which 3,800 soldiers from 2-1 AD test and evaluate in field conditions.
TCAPS consists of headsets worn by soldiers and are designed to prevent hearing injury while allowing them to preserve situational awareness during combat. The system provides clear two-way audio communications via earphone and microphone while also providing protection from continuous (vehicle noise) and impulse type (gunfire and explosions) noises.
“The workability and concept is awesome,” said Sgt. Jessie Bacon, Infantryman, 1- 6 Infantry, 2-1 AD. “I get to stay in contact with my squad while still maintaining my weapon.”
Being in a combat or training environment, TCAPS also allows soldiers more situational awareness since the device offers hands-free communication. Soldiers can monitor what is going on around them while staying in contact with their squad and still have both hands on their weapon.
“With the headset being in my ear, I can actually understand what they are saying,” said Spc. Corey Fores, an Infantryman with 1- 6 Infantry, 2-1 AD. “It’s convenient that it is hands free, and I can talk back while maintaining my position.”
U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command’s Maneuver Center of Excellence has identified wireless technology as an objective requirement. This system, which is focused on dismounted infantry soldiers, seeks to address this objective.
“Everything is just so fast in training and on the battlefield and if something were to happen, I could call it up since the system is right here,” said Fores. “Communication on the battlefield is necessary. You know where everyone is at, (you can) hear about casualties and overall stay in contact and communicate with everyone.”
NIE 13.2 will continue throughout May, and soldiers will continue to assess the TCAPS and offer more suggestions for improvements that will lead to better performance on the battlefield.