Thursday, March 15, 2007

New protective turret to be tested in Iraq

Airman 1st Class Leebernard Chavis was manning the gun turret on a Humvee driving through Baghdad on Oct. 14 when a sniper took his life. Now the Air Force has implemented the first prototype of a system to prevent any more turret gunners from suffering the same fate.

The Air Force Security Forces Force Protection Battlelab at Lackland Air Force Base, Texas, developed the “Chavis Turret” in honor of the fallen airman. The new turret prototype, put directly into testing in Iraq, protects the gunner with a cover reminiscent of a glass-and-metal igloo.

The assembly includes 10-by-10-inch panels of ballistic glass and 3/8-inch rolled ballistic steel, the same kind used to armor Humvee door panels. The structure is built to accommodate a heavy weapon and still rotate smoothly and safely.

Though field testing of the turret would normally be held on U.S. soil, the U.S. Central Command Air Forces force protection staff insisted that the prototype be brought to the Middle East to be tested and evaluated by battlefield airmen who operate daily on the streets of Baghdad.

Read the rest at the Air Force Times

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