ECBC engineers field M50 masks to soldiers

Engineers with the Edgewood Chemical Biological Center (ECBC) recently announced the fielding of protective M50 masks to soldiers stationed at six different Army sites in Korea and Japan.

The ECBC's Joint Service General Mask (JSGM) Team spent seven weeks inspecting, training and fielding 39,000 masks to soldiers in the region. The M50 mask has been outfitted across the services since 2008, starting with the Marine Corps, Navy and Air Force. Fielding to the Army started in 2013.

Development of the mask has been ongoing for more than 15 years. The mask is considered one of the most heavily tested pieces of personal protective equipment ever developed by the DoD.

"We have been involved in every step of the design, validation, testing and modification process, as well as filter testing and product quality and deficiency reporting," Akanksha Raja, a systems and logistics engineer for the ECBC JSGM Team, said.

The M50 mask represents a significant improvement over legacy masks. The mask is easier to use and maintain and provides more comfort, visibility and hydration for the soldier. Self-sealing valves allow the soldier to change filters in a threat environment. A single lens across the face enables a wider area of view and improved compatibility with sighting devices like binoculars.

"The compliments we've heard directly from warfighters make every bit of effort spent on this program well worth it," Raja said. "Using the M50 as the baseline for modifications and enhancements, our team looks forward to developing an even greater capability to protect soldiers of the future."

The ECBC is the Army's principal research and development center for biological and chemical defense technology, field operations and engineering.