In February, U.S. Sen. Susan Collins and U.S. Rep. Michael
Michaud were at the University of Maine's Advanced Engineered Wood
Composites (AEWC) Center for a demonstration of a new product designed
to protect American soldiers in combat.
The Modular Ballistic Protection System panels developed at UMaine fit
inside tents, protecting troops from mortar fragments and other dangers.
The panels feature a core of oriented strand board (OSB) encased in
layers of fiberglass, covered with an outer layer of polypropylene.
Larry Parent, AEWC senior research and development program manager, and
civil engineering graduate student Keenan Goslin led the UMaine team
that developed the lightweight, portable systems for efficient and
effective use in remote areas. The Modular Ballistic Protection System
project is part of a $3.7 million contract with the U.S. Army Soldier
Systems Center in Natick, Mass.
The panels are now ready for pilot manufacturing and demonstration by
the Army. The first 20-foot by 32-foot up-armored tent kit was shipped
this spring for use in Afghanistan. The kit was requested by the Army's
10th Mountain Division, which includes members of the Maine National