A few days ago, I spoke of the intense heat inside Army vehicles, the majority of which were designed during the Cold War to fight in Central Europe—not in the Middle East. For example, neither the 70-ton M1 Abrams tank, nor the multi-million dollar UH-60 Black Hawk have air conditioners. The metal hulk of the M1 tank turns into a pressure cooker in the sun, and the windows of the Black Hawk make the cockpit feel like a greenhouse.
Jason Sigger of Armchair Generalist astutely noted that the M1 Abrams (and also the UH-60) have a clever little device known as the Micro-Climate Cooling System in order to keep the crew cool.
Great. So what is a Micro-Climate Cooling System (MCCS)? Well, it’s basically a little vest that goes underneath the body armour and survival vest. When plugged into a special unit inside the aircraft (or tank), it pumps cold fluid through a series of tubes in the vest, helping to keep a pilot’s body temperature cold. (And, it’s quite stylish, as you can see).
Unfortunately, the MCCS has a level of complexity that lends itself to occasional failures, much like today. On the good side, I noticed that it seemed to work for a while after the crew chief jiggled the wires (this is the all-purpose fix to almost any aircraft problem—jiggle something).
Fortunately, I got to relax and enjoy actual trees while drinking a cool beverage. Okay, it was Chai tea, but, when compared to the temperature outside, it felt like a cold drink.
The author with an Amazon Kindle and Chai tea. With the trees in the background, it’s almost like vacation. Almost…