News Briefs

July 15, 2009

First Flight Shooting of High-Power Laser
Personnel from the 413th Test Squadron and Boeing Company have fired the high-power laser for the first time during flight aboard the Advanced Tactical Laser (ATL) aircraft, demonstrating that an airborne system can deliver laser beam energy to a ground target. More tests are planned to showcase the ATL’s military utility. The system is designed to damage, disable or destroy targets with little or no collateral damage. The demonstrations support systems for battlefield missions and urban operations. The ATL is equipped with a chemical laser, a beam control system and weapon-systems consoles. 

Service Explores Wikis for TTP Revisions
The U.S. Army is testing the viability of allowing soldiers and leaders to update the service’s tactics, techniques and procedures (TTPs) using a wiki environment. The Combined Arms Center is using a milWiki platform, which is available only to Army Knowledge Online members, and will compare the speed of revising TTPs to the typical time frame required to staff and update field manuals (FMs), which is generally three to five years. Seven FMs have been selected for the test, but more than 200 additional FMs may be part of the capability in the future.

Navy Developing Long-Range Attack Capabilities
The U.S. Navy and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) have launched a joint effort to develop a smart next-generation antiship weapon. The Long Range Anti-Ship Missile program seeks to reduce the Navy’s reliance on precision intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, datalinks, and global positioning systems by using advanced onboard sensing and processing capabilities. The goal is to engage moving ships precisely with only coarse, initial target cuing from ranges beyond direct enemy counter-fire threats. The program is now in its initial analysis, design and risk reduction phase.

Combatant Command Adopts Web 2.0 Technologies
The U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) has established a presence on Facebook, Twitter, Flickr and YouTube to communicate information about operations and activity in its area of operations (AOR). Members of the command’s Digital Engagement Team plan to expand its Facebook presence by publishing information in the AOR’s predominant languages, including Arabic and Farsi. According to CENTCOM officials, the team is receiving feedback from its followers and is using Twitter to follow others and to respond to questions.

Small Robot Submarine Deploys
An autonomous robot submarine soon will be helping warfighters patrol harbors, ports and other confined areas for underwater threats. The Talisman L can conduct searches with its high-definition forward- and sideways-looking sonar and multiview cameras. Designed for maneuverability, the submarine can turn within its own length and can operate at depths of up to 300 feet for up to 12 hours. It can be deployed from a variety of vessels such as rigid inflatable boats. Although autonomous, operators can take control at any time. The Talisman L also can become the payload for the much larger Talisman M unmanned submarine.

Army Evolves Combat Team Modernization Efforts
The U.S. Army is conducting high-tech network and equipment verification tests as part of its brigade combat team modernization, updating the teams with the latest networked intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance and lethality capabilities. In the technical field test, soldiers are evaluating the performance of unmanned air and ground vehicles, unattended sensors, an unattended munitions delivery system and the network that supports them. Data gathered from this test will assist network and product development improvements, culminating in a limited user test in fiscal year 2010.

United States and Spain Expand Cooperation
The Department of Homeland Security and the Spanish Interior Ministry have signed a Letter of Intent to expand science and technology cooperation that enhances security and combats transnational threats. The letter promotes collaboration of research, development, testing, evaluations and operations between the countries to benefit their capabilities to prepare for, prevent, respond to and recover from disasters. The countries also signed the Agreement to Prevent and Combat Serious Crimes, which allows the exchange of fingerprints and other data of known terrorists and criminals while protecting privacy. The U.S. government has signed similar agreements with 10 international partners in the last several months.

Eyes in Disguise to Boost Situational Awareness
A daylight-readable, see-through, low-profile eyewear display is being developed as part of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s Urban Leader Tactical Response, Awareness and Visualization program. The goal of the program is to deliver a soldier-worn system that would provide non-line-of-sight command and control information to soldiers on the ground to increase situational awareness in urban environments through a head-up display of information. Microvision Incorporated is developing the eyewear display, which could enable dismounted warfighters to see information such as visual commands, georegistered iconic representations and other full-color image content overlaid in the user’s field of view in operational environments.

Italy Acquires Optical Memory Card IDs
The Italian national police force, known as the Carabinieri, will be issued secure identification credential cards that include data such as employment, biometric identification and health information. The memory card will feature tamperproof and counterfeit-resistant optical memory technology. It integrates multiple technologies, including optical stripe, covert and overt security features, and a contactless chip and antenna. The police force’s card will be compatible with the national standards set for Italy’s Citizen ID Card and will be designed to operate seamlessly within the planned national ID infrastructure.


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