Jan. 17, 2003 If you know where the mines are, you don't necessarily have to sweep them up--just don't drive over them. It comes down to knowing where you are and what's around you--what the mili-tary calls "having situational awareness."
The military calls safe paths through minefields and other obstacles "lanes." On land, if you've got the time, you can mark lanes with signs or even fences. It's a little harder to mark them in the water, which makes a Marine Corps amphibious assault even more dangerous than it needs to be.
To reduce this risk, the Office of Naval Research sponsors the development of a suite of tech-nologies that help Sailors and Marines avoid mines when they hit the beach. At Camp Pendleton, California, this month, four systems are being tested:
* Moving Map is the Naval Research Laboratory's low-cost display that keeps an assault craft in its lane and out of harm's way. Assault craft making an amphibious landing through a minefield need cleared lanes. The narrower the lane needed, the faster it can be cleared, and the better able a craft is to stay in its lane, the safer will be its transit. Moving Map can be in-stalled aboard any Amphibious Assault Vehicle (AAV), Landing Craft Utility (LCU), or Landing Craft Air Cushion (LCAC).
* Augmented Reality Visualization for the Common Operation Picture (ARVCOP), devel-oped by Technology Systems, Inc., overlays navigation data onto a ship pilot's field of view, displaying both navigational and tactical data on a bridge mounted display. It "augments real-ity" by merging camera images with computer-generated data. ARVCOP's intuitive presenta-tion of navigational data is especially valuable at night and during other periods of low visibility.
* The Expeditionary Warfare Decision Support System (EDSS), from SAIC, is a com-puter program that helps an amphibious landing force plan and execute all phases of an operation. It can be used in everything from a traditional large scale amphibious assault to a Force Recon rubber boat raid.
* The Littoral Remote Sensing (LRS) program (MITRE Corporation) uses remote surveillance and reconnaissance assets to support expeditionary operations through very shallow water and onto the beach. It gives the Sailor and Marine at the front access to some of the most sophisti-cated national sensors.
All these systems will all be demonstrated during Exercise Transparent Hunter, from 20 to 31 January 2003.
*developed as part of ONR's Organic Mine Countermeasures Future Naval Capability.
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