|New Tracking System Keeps Eye on Troops |
New Tracking System Keeps Eye on Troops
By 2nd Lt. James Madeiros, Air Armament Center Public Affairs.
Eglin Air Force Base, Florida -- (AFPN) October 25, 2001 -- War games can now be safer, more effective and less expensive thanks to a new tracking system the joint close air support joint test and evaluation team here developed.
Master Sgt. Todd Green, joint close-air support team member, loads firing schedules into a VoiceIt database recorder during a live-fire exercise.
The Inexpensive Range Instrumentation System is a self-contained, portable system that uses the Global Positioning System to make a training range capable of tracking troops, vehicles and aircraft with very little preparation time.
The product of JCAS developers Andy McCardie, Allen Chapman, Sam Sowell and Keith Brelia, IRIS allows war game officials to see how roving troops, aircraft and assorted equipment, each equipped with the IRIS transmitter unit, interact in real time. In past events, the only way officials were able to review movement was to reconstruct it by sifting through large amounts of related paperwork.
"Advanced close air support operational concepts are needed to fully exploit future air power capabilities, as well as to enhance 'effects-based' combat operations," said Col. David Brown, joint test force director. "JCAS provides the Air Force (and other services) with the tools necessary to improve current capabilities, and to accomplish future missions where land-forces support will be required."
First implemented at the Marine Air Ground Task Force Training Center at Marine Corps Base Twentynine Palms, Calif., IRIS showed that inexpensive, off-the-shelf hardware could be used to track and collect data on ground vehicles as well as fixed and rotary wing aircraft. In a live-fire training environment such as Twentynine Palms, IRIS data proved that a high level of safety could be maintained for a fraction of the cost of an in-place range instrumentation system.
"Instrumented test ranges often use fixed radar and high-speed cameras for entity tracking," said Larry Benton, JCAS technical adviser. "It's expensive to use systems like that to collect the information and process it."
Besides the Twentynine Palms success, nighttime tracking capability was again successfully demonstrated during tactical air command control specialist apprentice training exercises at Hurlburt Field, Fla.
IRIS tracked students while transmitting their location in 12-second intervals to a mobile site, as well as to the tactical air control party base camp. The TACC apprentice training instructors saw this as a low-cost aid for student safety concerns.
IRIS, when used in conjunction with the combined media battle analysis tool, allows for real-time display of people and vehicle movement, as well as many other critical battle elements. This data can be recorded onto a compact disc that can be viewed at any time.
(Courtesy of Air Force Materiel Command News Service)