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Leidos awarded contract to study health impact of ops on submariners

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The US Navy has awarded Leidos a $28 million contract to study health impacts of operations on submariners (Source US Dept of Defense)

Leidos has been awarded a follow-on contract by the US Naval Medical Logistics Command to support biomedical research and development at its Naval Submarine Medical Research Laboratory (NSMRL).

NSMRL provides innovative, human-centric research solutions to sustain superiority in the undersea domain. Leidos will support this mission by conducting research studies and analyses, developing guidelines, and supporting new initiatives.

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The investigations will focus on submariner wellness, submariner psychological factors, shipboard and diving force health protection, human factors, and undersea warfighter health and performance.

"Leidos employs a multi-disciplinary approach to R&D that has enabled us to uncover meaningful and actionable information to support the customer’s mission," said Leidos health group president Jon Scholl.

NSMRL provides research solutions to the most medically challenging platform in the Navy, the US submarine. NSMRL serves the submarine fleet by taking the lead in undersea human factors, sensory sciences and operational medicine, delivering timely evidenced-based healthcare solutions.

Scholl said, "Our focus is to provide insight that aids in decision-making, identifies potential health threats and optimises safety within these challenging operational environments.”  

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The NSMRL provides key research into: 

  • Submariner wellness: NSMRL hearing conservation efforts span from basic to applied research, with the use of otoacoustic measurements to predict hearing loss, a toolkit to assist field audiologists in hearing education, and field studies on board combat littoral ships. As a member of a Multi Service Partnership of the DoD Hearing Consortium, NSMRL is helping to develop an ANSI standard for testing hearing protection devices (HPDs) and tactical communication and protection systems (TCAPS).

    NSMRL also conducts physical health studies including bone density/vitamin D studies on board submarines. NSMRL initiated the first ever study of submariner epidemiology monitoring the medical impacts of the unique submarine environment.

  • Psychological fitness: NSMRL is conducting psychological screening of prospective submariners for submarine service suitability (SUBSCREEN), prediction of unplanned losses from operational units, individual and team resilience, and integration of mixed gender crews.

  • Shipboard health and performance: NSMRL is studying submarine atmosphere effects for mixed gender crews and submarine atmosphere monitoring (SAHAP) to ensure submariner health. NSMRL is studying circadian rhythm to maximise performance including evaluation of watchstanding cycles and lighting to improve vigilance, and entraining Special Forces.
  • Submarine survival and escape: NSMRL is studying the environmental stresses encountered during submarine escape and survival, evaluating non-invasive biomarkers of pulmonary oxygen toxicity, testing and evaluating oxygen concentrators and survival hydration packs for use under environmental extremes, and developing the Submarine Rescue Manual (Guard Book) for different classes of submarine.
  • Underwater bioeffects: NSMRL is continuing underwater human factors research including high frequency underwater hearing and underwater sound location, assessing non-lethal underwater bioeffects of sound and blast, and studying diving physiology under hyperbaric stress.
  • Human systems: NSMRL is studying human perception and how to display panoramic visual data with integrated auditory cues. NSMRL is also working with command decision-making processes in submarines and evaluating team performance.
Leidos awarded contract to study health impact of ops on submariners
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