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1st Lt. Joshua Frye, left, talks to T.J. LaPointe, engineering lead at Prototype Integration Facility, about the work accomplished by the facility team to help develop the Communication Relay System for the Shadow 200 unmanned aircraft. The system enhances reconnaissance, surveillance and target acquisition mission capabilities of the Shadow 200 by allowing the Ground Control Station operators to communicate directly with forward deployed ground troops and provide them with early warning and real-time intelligence at long distances. It was voted by the Soldiers as one of the Army's Top 10 Inventions for 2007.

REDSTONE ARSENAL, Ala. - With his son home on leave from Operation Enduring Freedom, Scott Frye of the Aviation and Missile Command's legal office thought it would be great for father and son to tour the Prototype Integration Facility to learn how the PIF has had an immediate and long-lasting impact of the battlefield in support of the war fighter.

Scott's son is 1st Lt. Joshua Frye, executive officer of Regimental Headquarters and Headquarters Troop, 2nd Stryker Cavalry Regiment. In his short but busy career, Joshua has had assignments across the spectrum of Military Police operations, including: convoy escort, raids, area security, host nation police training, detention operations and reconnaissance.

The facility tour opened Joshua's eyes and imagination. He didn't know much about the facility and said he envisioned their work being focused on engineering future projects and not the projects being rapidly fielded to the Soldier on the battlefield.

"I didn't know they did most of the work in the facility and it was on real world applications going on right now," he said. "The single focus of the PIF appears to be to turn out a useful product for the Soldier and get it into service as quickly as possible while utilizing in house capability, but then working seamlessly with industry to mass produce."

T.J. LaPointe, PIF engineering lead, led the facility tour and told his visitors about some of the projects they have completed and what is being developed. One of the projects, the Infrared Strobe Crash Avoidance Kit for aviation platforms (manned and unmanned), showed the Fryes the facility's direct impact.

"AMRDEC is definitely affecting the Soldiers on the ground in Afghanistan," Scott said. "As an example, my son remarked during the tour that he and his Soldiers had recently seen lights on UAVs operating in their battle space and we were told these were a product of AMRDEC's engineering efforts."

One of the stops on a facility tour is the Visualization Lab or VizLab. Among its many products, members of the VizLab produce animated videos to assist Soldiers to incorporate new technologies, such as the Infrared Strobe Crash Avoidance Kit, developed by the facility.

"The Visualization Laboratory's video animation work was extremely impressive. It seems there would be endless possibilities for their unique skills," Joshua said.

It was a good day for the Fryes and a productive way to spend a day of leave.

"It was both professionally and personally gratifying for me to witness my son's extremely positive reaction to your world-class engineering facility," Scott said. "It was a real eye-opener and confidence builder for him!"

Page last updated Wed April 13th, 2011 at 15:53