NBC Protection

Article excerpt

The M40/42-Series Protective Masks, a family of chemical-biological (CB) protective masks, provide respiratory, eye and face protection against chemical and biological agents, toxins, radioactive particles and battlefield contaminants. The M40/42 series replaces the M17, M25 and M9 masks. Features include an improved face seal for better protection and vision, flexibility at temperature extremes, increased useful life, weather and ozone resistance, improved soldier comfort, and ease of cleaning and maintenance.

M40/42-series masks are issued to every soldier-the M42A2 to armored crews and the M40A1 to the balance of the force and U.S. Army Materiel Command surety sites.

The M40A1 and M42A2 masks have a silicone rubber face piece with an inturned peripheral face seal and binocular rigid-lens system. The basic mask, the M40A1, includes a face-mounted canister with NATO standard threads (gas and aerosol filter) that can be worn on either the left or right side; a drinking rube; and clear and tinted lens "outserts." When the canister is attached to a connection hose and equipped with a canister carrier, larger mask carrier and detachable microphone, the mask becomes the M42A2, which is used by all combat-vehicle crew personnel. The interchangeability also allows the repair of masks using a face piece assembly while retaining other existing, undamaged parts instead of a total replacement. This advance saves significant money and time.

The M45 Chemical-Biological Protective Mask replaces the M24 and M49 mask system. The M45 mask supports the Land Warrior program, as well as Joint Special Operations Command requirements, and serves as the mask for personnel who cannot be fitted with the standard M40/ M40A1, M42/M42A2 or MCU-2A/P protective masks.

The M45 mask provides protection to face, eyes, head, neck and respiratory tract from chemical-biological (CB) agents and radioactive particles without the aid of forced ventilation air, while maintaining compatibility with rotary-wing aircraftsighting systems and night-vision devices. The M45 mask consists of close-fitting eye lenses, front and side voice-mitter for face-to-face and telephone communication, a microphone pass-through for aircraft communications, a drinking tube passthrough, a low-profile canister interoperable hose assembly to allow both hose and face-mounted configurations, interchangeable nose cups, a rubber face piece with an in-turned peripheral seal, and a second skin and hood. Protection is provided by the agent-resistant face piece and second skin and hood. Although all three components protect the soldier against CB agents in gaseous form, the second skin and hood provide increased liquid agent protection. The Land Warrior configuration does not include the hose assembly, hood, canister baffle, microphone or microphone cable.

The mask is available in four sizes, and the interchangeable nose cups come in five different sizes to improve fit, comfort and vision. A different nose cup configuration is available for left-hand firing. Vision-corrective inserts can be fitted inside the face piece. Close-fitting eye lenses are shaped to improve peripheral vision and are compatible with most optical sighting and night-vision devices. Easy use of a drinking system permits intake of liquids.

The XM50 Joint Service General Purpose Chemical-Biological Protective Mask (JSGPM) program will provide the nextgeneration mask for all U.S.-joint service ground forces. The U.S. Army project manager for Nuclear, Biological Defense Systems is the lead service agency. Initial fielding is planned for fiscal year (FY) 2006.

The JSGPM requirements include meeting existing and new threats posed by both chemical and biological agents and selected toxic industrial materials /chemicals that American forces may face in the future. …