The former control tower at Bagram Air Field, Afghanistan, Feb. 15, 2014.

Army lab enhances Soldier protection

Force protection is the effort taken to protect and mitigate hostile actions against military personnel, resources and facilities. Protection is one of the most important of the six warfighting functions and preserves the force so the commander can apply maximum combat power to accomplish the mission.

To support this critical warfighting function, the U.S. Aviation and Missile Research, Development, and Engineering Center Solider Protection Lab provides system-of-systems engineering and integration for programs developed by a variety of customers.

The SPL integrates commercial off-the-shelf sensors including chemical and biological, acoustical, radar and other sensors that are used by both terrestrial and unmanned aerial systems to improve facility monitoring. The SPL’s expertise in modeling, simulation, system integration and software engineering delivers systems and software to provide increased situational awareness, enhanced standoff and security posture and deterrence.

Customers include the Program Executive Office Intelligence, Electronic Warfare and Sensors and the Joint Program Executive Office for Chemical and Biological Defense, as well as system integration for Program Executive Office Missiles and Space.

According to customer comments from theater, the act of deterrence has significantly reduced the number of incidences that occur on bases. These integrated systems also provide increased Soldier standoff. Previously, an operator was required to control each entry gate, often in close proximity to a potential blast area. Now, multiple barriers can be controlled from a remote and secure location, both increasing the operator security posture and reducing the troop to task load by only needing one operator.

By supporting the design and development of these systems, the SPL delivers solutions to the point of need for both the smallest combat outpost to the largest forward operating base.

“These innovative solutions are scalable, capable of servicing ‘extra-small’ bases of 50 or less, up to ‘large’ bases that house over 6,000 troops,” said Lamar Auman, System Simulation and Development Directorate associate director. “This integration reduces Soldier workload, provides commanders with high quality, real-time information that increases their situational understanding and reduces command decision reaction time.”

“This is a perfect example of the Army Enterprise working in great, collaborative fashion,” said AMRDEC Director James Lackey. “Without sacrificing efforts supporting our core aviation and missile customers, but still being enterprise oriented, we can find very affordable opportunities for use of taxpayer dollars across a larger customer base. Since we have the skill sets and expertise in modeling and systems integration, it makes perfect sense to build upon other efforts in support of our total Army customer.”

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The U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Research, Development and Engineering Center is part of the U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command, which has the mission to provide innovative research, development and engineering to produce capabilities that provide decisive overmatch to the Army against the complexities of the current and future operating environments in support of the joint warfighter and the nation. RDECOM is a major subordinate command of the U.S. Army Materiel Command.

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