By U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Crista Yazzie, CG09 Combined/Joint Information Bureau Staff WriterFebruary 8, 2009
CHIANG MAI, Thailand Aca,!" Medics evacuate a casualty up to a flying helicopter, a robotic ruck-sack with legs carries 400 pounds of equipment through rocky terrain, and miniature unmanned aerial vehicles patrol the ground at night.
No longer the subject of science fiction, future capabilities such as these become present-day possibilities for todayAca,!a,,cs military at the Exercise Cobra Gold 2009 Technology Experimentation Working Group, running Feb. 4 through 15.
Exercise Cobra Gold is an annual joint multinational exercise in its 28th year. Cobra Gold is designed to advance interoperability and provide unique and dynamic training opportunities for participating military partners, while promoting relationship building between militaries and local communities.
The TEWG, now in its fourth year at Cobra Gold, featured a variety of approximately 23 static displays and demonstrations. This yearAca,!a,,cs featured technologies were command and control communications systems, logistics, force protection, intelligence surveillance and reconnaissance, and machine language translations.
Aca,!A"Cobra Gold allows us not only the opportunity for feedback from Soldiers and Marines, but also to expose our technologies so they can understand what the art of the possible is,Aca,!A? said Jim Rymarcsuk, whose company showcased several tactical examples of robotics at the expo.
In addition to the static displays and demonstrations in Chiang Mai, the TEWG will visit the Army, Navy and Marine Corps forces in various locations throughout Thailand during the exercise. This will enable the training audience, which spans more than 15 countries, to provide input, said Chris Breault, the assessment lead for one of the featured companies.
Aca,!A"We hope, in being here, to find what war-fighters need to do their daily job,Aca,!A? said Rick Sams, from the U.S. Marine Corps Forces Pacific Experimentation Center.
Aca,!A"WeAca,!a,,cve got a lot of development here in the science and technology community, so they can hear directly from the source, what the user needs,Aca,!A? said Sams.
Some technologies displayed are currently used by the U.S. military, while others are seeking to generate interest in their concepts. The Atlas Powered Ascender is one technology introduced in Cobra Gold 2008. It is designed to quickly move humans and material up vertical steep terrain, ranging in use from casualty evacuation to search and seizure.
Aca,!A"We actually started about four years ago, when Army Rangers were going into Afghanistan for Operation Enduring Freedom, and they had a need to help them search wells for weapons caches,Aca,!A? said Brian Schmid, whose company developed the ascender.
Aca,!A"WeAca,!a,,cre trying to expose war-fighters to the technology and trying to get assessments back from them on their thoughts and how they can use it, or how we can improve it. The feedback has been very strong and positive.Aca,!A?
During each Cobra Gold exercise, certain technologies are chosen for operational assessments in a field environment. This year, two versions of unmanned aerial vehicles and two versions of robots are undergoing operational assessment.
Aca,!A"We put (the technologies) in the hands of Marines and Soldiers (to) see how they work and provide that feedback to the developers,Aca,!A? said Breault.
Future plans for the Cobra Gold 2010 TEWG are to incorporate technologies of other countries.
Aca,!A"Next year we plan to get participation from other nations - from Thailand, Indonesia, and make it an even bigger event,Aca,!A? said Breault.