U.S. Army Soldiers Test New Battlefield Smoke Generating System

U.S. Army soldiers recently finished the final phases of testing a new battlefield smoke-producing system to conceal units during combat at Fort Carson, Colorado.
The Screen Obscuration Module (SOM), which can be mounted to any vehicle or used dismounted, produces a billow of smoke capable of obscuring a platoon’s movement.

Currently the Army uses the M8 smoke pot or the M56 Coyote smoke generator to produce smoke. The SOM covers the gap between these pieces of equipment, producing more smoke than the M8 while easily configurable to any mobile platform in the Army’s inventory, according to Maj. Jessie Holmes a test officer with the U.S. Army Operational Test Command’s Maneuver Support and Sustainment Test Directorate.

During the test, Soldiers from A Troop, 2nd Squadron, 1st Cavalry Regiment, 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, employed the SOM platform in multiple configurations.

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During operational testing at Fort Carson, Colo., the Screen Obscuration Module (SOM) lays a plume of smoke to conceal troops maneuvering on the battlefield. Soldiers from A Troop, 2nd Squadron 1st Cavalry Regiment, 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, employed the SOM platform in multiple configurations. (Photo Credit: Capt. Christopher Biddie, Test Officer, U.S. Army Operational Test Command)

“Each Soldier learned the features and capabilities of the SOM through hands-on training and practical exercises during New Equipment Training of the SOM over the course of a beautiful autumn week at Fort. Carson,” said Holmes.

The weather had other plans for testing and after blanketing the Coloradan plains with six inches of snow, the soldiers from Apache Troop ran the SOM through its paces.

Using SOMs mounted on Strykers, the Soldiers conducted a series of mock engagements. Smoke covered the training area as the two teams vied for advantage on the battlefield.

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