Posts Tagged ‘Surveillance’

UAVs Help Fight Pirates

February 3, 2009

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The guided-missile destroyer USS Mahan (DDG 72) brings an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) capability to Combined Task Force (CTF) 151, which enhances the counterpiracy task force’s effectiveness.

This UAV supports the CTF 151 counterpiracy mission by providing maritime surveillance and cueing on suspicious activity.

“This is a significant step forward and is reflective of the increased use of UAVs across the spectrum of military operations,” said Cmdr. Steve Murphy, Mahan’s commanding officer.

The unique attributes of a UAV – namely the ability to stay airborne for long periods and cover hundreds of square miles of ocean during the course of one mission, all the while sending imagery in real time back to Mahan and other assets in the task force – provide a significant tactical advantage.

“It can fly day or night in a covert or overt posture, making it much harder for pirates to hide” said Murphy.
“It is also important to note that the images and information obtained [by the UAV] at sea is shared with our coalition partners, thereby improving overall mission effectiveness and strengthening key partnerships between navies.”

As part of Combined Task Force 151 Mahan is coordinating and deconflicting counterpiracy efforts with approximately 14 nations also operating in the Gulf of Aden, Red Sea, Indian Ocean and Arabian Sea.

Taken in context with other aircraft and ships operating in the area, the UAV is considered by Murphy and other leaders in the task force as a force multiplier. The information the UAV generates also helps CTF 151’s leadership determine where to position all available units.

“It provides high quality imagery in real time, speeding decision making and is a significant advantage in stopping piracy on the high seas,” said Murphy. “It is versatile and very responsive, able to change operating areas and change missions in mid-flight.”

Mahan has integrated the UAV into every mission it has conducted while on deployment, gathering valuable information on maritime traffic patterns and the patterns of those suspected to be involved in illicit activity.

According to Murphy, it also helps protect the ship and crew, providing extended surveillance and early indications of potential threats.

“[The UAV] has great significance as a developing effort to apply 21st century technology to the 21st century challenges that our Navy faces.”

The civilian and Sailor team operating the unmanned aerial vehicle on Mahan is documenting lessons learned during this mission and throughout the ship’s deployment. This information is expected to contribute to the U.S. Navy’s plans for the future of UAVs at sea.


Army Displays Cutting Edge C4ISR Technologies

August 12, 2008

Cutting-edge technologies for both land and air missions were viewed at Fort Dix (NJ) Tuesday at the C4ISR On-the-Move Event 08, culminating four months of high-tech testing.

C4ISR stands for Command, Control, Communication, Computers, Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance, and that organization began the testing in April in collaboration with industry partners and the Communications-Electronics Research, Development and Engineering Center , or CERDEC, headquartered at Fort Monmouth, N.J. Technicians from the labs rolled onto Range 1 at Dix this week to demonstrate technologies supporting future force capabilities.

The systems displayed are still under assessment, C4ISR officials said, adding that initial results of the four-month test will be published in November.

The exercise tested or assessed more than 100 systems. Those systems were augmented with virtual and constructive entities to represent the network that the Army will field in the future, said Lt. Col. William Utroska, product manager for C4ISR OTM.

After the final assessments are completed, the product is then put into a “System of Systems,” Utroska said. SoS is explained as “a structure of one entity working into a collaborative entity.”

C4ISR OTM conducts live events along with simulations to expand the number of systems and speed military development as part of the testing, officials explained.

The testing included emerging technologies such as the Boeing A160T Humming Bird unmanned aerial system to help Soldiers on the ground communicate with each other.

Another emerging technology created for Soldiers out in the field was
the Digital Alert Display, a computer that wraps around the Soldier’s
forearm. It allows Soldiers to communicate with each other via text messaging, while still being silent, motionless and keeping a grasp
on their weapon.

The exercise allowed Soldiers to use the Digital Alert Display technology and provide commentary and an assessment of the equipment, which had both positive and negative aspects. The light weight of the product and the ability to communicate in a modern, well-known method was part of the positive feedback. The amount of time it took for transmission, however, was a negative feedback that Soldiers did not anticipate.

This kind of feedback, both positive and negative, is the type of
information Utroska said his team is looking for. His motto is “Success is success and failure is success.”

“If the Army makes a decision in technology, and then it does not
appear as promising as we had originally thought, it is more beneficial to use that information as a map — a path not to go down. We find out what is wrong and that helps us find out what is right,” Utroska said.

Utroska also said that Fort Dix is a huge partner in supporting the transformation of the Army. The strong partnership Fort Dix has
with PM C4ISR OTM, he said, allows cutting-edge military technology to move forward with fewer detours.

Jennifer Chupko