Schofield Barracks – Military intelligence Soldiers conducted training on the U.S. Army’s newest surveillance and battlefield mapping drone technology, last Thursday.
The One World Terrain system quietly circles the sky capturing the terrain below in three-dimensional detail using its advanced imagery collection system known as the Tactical Handheld Automated Navigational Mapping and Observation System.
“It’s lightweight, resilient, and durable. It’s absolutely silent,” said Capt. Evelyn Payne, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division’s assistant intelligence officer, when asked how it compares to previous surveillance technology used by the U.S. Army.
The OWT’s THANOS system provides 3D terrain mapping with accuracy down to a two centimeter differential. From miles away and in a safe environment, an operator can virtually ‘move’ through the battlespace using only a mouse and keyboard.
“You can count the stairs and see in windows,” said Chief Warrant Officer Beau Dean, 2IBCT, 25th ID’s intelligence support element chief. “Commanders and leaders can walk through the battle before it begins. They can determine if an obstacle is too high for the warfighter to cross. It's impressive. It's a 'game-changer.'”
The OWT is made of material similar to Styrofoam and weighs just under five pounds. Soldiers can assemble it nearly half the speed as former models. Operators will endure far fewer problems launching the system by hand than we’ve seen in previous models. What used to take days, now only takes a few hours, Payne said.
“It’s perfect for our ‘Lightfighters,’ scouts, and dismounted infantry,’” Payne said. “The Tropic Lightning mission requires speed. Every pound on a Soldier’s back counts. Now, they can move quicker under a lighter load. They can visualize the entire battlefield before engaging the enemy.”
Fielding the OWT is part of the U.S. Army’s larger modernization effort, equipping Soldiers with synthetic training capabilities.
“We are excited to be one of the first brigades to implement this new technology,” said Payne. “We look forward to sharing it’s capabilities with our sister brigades and partners.”