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Army Technologies

It Might Be Virtual, But It Is Not a Game

August 1, 2014
By Rita Boland

Virtual training for U.S. Army soldiers advanced in both capability and fidelity recently with the release of Virtual Battle Space 3. Designed for units at the company level or below, its flexibility makes it applicable to the range of Army missions, reducing costs and logistics needs for users.

Tackling Big Data With Small Projects

August 1, 2014
By George I. Seffers

U.S. Army officials envision a future in which ground and air platforms share data and where soldiers at a remote forward-operating base easily can access information from any sensor in the area, including national satellites or reconnaissance aircraft flying overhead.

U.S. Army Explores Push-Button Networking

August 1, 2014
By George I. Seffers

The U.S. Army’s current tactical network delivers a wide range of capabilities for warfighters, including unprecedented communications on the move. But the complexity can overwhelm commanders who have countless critical tasks to complete and soldiers’ lives in their hands. Future tactical networks will automate many processes and may be smart enough to advise commanders, similar to JARVIS, Iron Man’s computerized assistant.

The Army’s current networking technology includes Capability Set 13, a package of network components, associated equipment and software that provides an integrated capability from the tactical operations center to the dismounted soldier. It supports Army warfighters in Afghanistan and provides a host of capabilities not offered by the wide area network in use as recently as 2012. The Army has fielded the capability set down to the company commander level with a package known as the Soldier Network Extension, which delivers some challenges along with the added capabilities. “The company commander is trying to maneuver around the battlefield, and he’s trying to command a company, and he has these new pieces of kit that he has to learn how to use, and it’s complicated. That’s part of the problem,” says Jennifer Zbozny, chief engineer for the Army Program Executive Office for Command, Control and Communications-Tactical. “If you had an iPhone with an interface you didn’t understand, and you had to do a million things and log on a million different ways, you’d probably get tired of it and decide it’s not worth the effort.”

CERDEC Supports U.S. Army Effort to Modernize Crypto Devices

July 9, 2014
By Sandra Jontz

A U.S. Army team is modernizing legacy cryptographic equipment at bases around the world to safeguard military information shared on already overhauled tactical networks.

Network Complexities Challenge Army, Force Structure Changes

July 1, 2014
By George I. Seffers

The complexities of the U.S. Army’s networks and spectrum allocation processes interfere with the need to reassign units to different tasks, creating major delays and presenting serious challenges.

A Eureka Moment Looms for Wearable Army Technology

July 1, 2014
By Sandra Jontz

U.S. Army engineers and scientists are working to eventually equip dismounted soldiers with wearable computers such as Google Glass. The up-and-coming wearables technology is being touted by officials as one of the next game-changers for warriors.

Defense Strives to Find Breakthrough Technological Advantages

July 1, 2014
By Rita Boland

Officials across the U.S. Defense Department are pushing to identify and develop the disruptive technologies that will offer orders-of-magnitude advantages on the battlefield. But while bringing such capabilities to fruition is difficult, even determining what qualifies as disruptive represents a challenge. As personnel wrestle with definitions, they are forging ahead with their creative ideas.

U.S. Army Researchers Beam Up Data

June 10, 2014
By George I. Seffers

Scientists at the U.S. Army's Research Laboratory have successfully demonstrated information teleportation capabilities in the laboratory using entangled photons.

Pizza! Pizza! MRE Pizza?

June 5, 2014
By Sandra Jontz

The U.S. Army has baked up a scheme to add pizza to its Meal, Ready-to-Eat (MRE) menu. And in keeping with military tradition of making just about any project, program or technology part of an alphabet soup, has assigned it the acronym SSP—shelf stable pizza.

Army Researchers Plotting Upgrades to 3-D Mapping Technology

May 29, 2014
By Sandra Jontz

U.S. Army researchers improved on the service’s 3-D terrain mapping system by reducing the system’s weight by 250 pounds and making the BuckEye operational from drones. Now they are developing a capability allowing the system to collect data from higher altitudes, covering a larger swath of land and considerably improving the technology’s efficacy, Michael A. Harper, director of the Warfighter Support Directorate at the U.S. Army Geospatial Center, says.

The High Resolution 3-D Terrain Data system is a multipurpose platform supporting requirements for collection of unclassified geospatial data for terrain mapping. BuckEye operates on manned and unmanned aircraft and consists of a 60-megapixel color camera working in conjunction with the Light Detection and Ranging (LIDAR) system to provide the high-resolution data.

“We spent some research and development dollars on trying to reduce the size and weight … Traditionally, it’s 350 pounds, but we significantly reduced it to a 100-pound payload to go into an unmanned aerial system,” Harper says, adding that troops operate two BuckEye unmanned aerial systems now in Afghanistan.

Army engineers too are working with industry to improve the capability tenfold. Currently, the BuckEye system scans and collects data from about 100 square kilometers per four-hour mission. “With BuckEye 2, which is what we refer to the prototype as, we’ll collect about 1,000 square kilometers in that same time period. By increasing the power of the laser, you can fly from a higher altitude, and when you go to a higher altitude, it improves your swath of the ground,” says Harper, who declined to name the company collaborating with Army researchers until the prototype and testing are complete sometime this fall.

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