Soldiers on the move in small units need a shelter they can set up quickly, use as an operations center and still get a good night’s sleep, Army researchers say.

A project is underway to give soldiers a solution, one that infantry soldiers have already put to the test.

The Small Unit Sustainment System is in development at the Army’s Natick Soldier Research, Development and Engineering Center.

The system can support soldiers for three days as a self-sufficient facility without needing to resupply fuel, according to Ariana Costa, program integrator for Natick’s Expeditionary Basing & Collective Protection Directorate.

The system, called SUSS, is a set of two shelters that can be transported in two trailers towed behind a Humvee, Costa said.

When it is set up, which takes eight soldiers less than an hour to do, SUSS becomes a tactical operations center with heating and cooling, a generator, solar panels, LED lighting and a portable shower and latrine.

SUSS is designed to sleep about 10 soldiers in a billeting shelter stocked with their sleeping bags and gear, and it can sleep about three soldiers in the TOC shelter, which also contains tables and equipment.

Soldiers would have sleeping bags rather than cots because of the expeditionary nature of the system, Costa said.

For short missions, the system is intended to solve a capability gap.

“SUSS can be used for any type of mission in which shelter, power and environmental control are required,” Costa said in an email to Army Times.

SUSS is well suited to missions that need an expeditionary command post, for example, or humanitarian and disaster relief operations, researchers say.

It needs only a few soldiers to set it up, ideally four to eight working together.

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Photo courtesy of Ariana Costa/Army