By Spc. Jennifer L. Hoerner/10th PCHDecember 17, 2009
FORT BRAGG, N.C. - The Army's latest and greatest in surveillance technology was showcased during a VIP visit at Fort Bragg, Nov. 24.
Personnel from the Pentagon, Training and Doctrine Command and other Army leadership from around the country met at the Fayetteville Contractor Training Facility to see how the Army is training its Soldiers and contractors to operate and maintain systems of the Base Expeditionary Targeting and Surveillance Systems - Combined.
"Soldiers and contractors are trained on this equipment to use it," said Maj. Jerry Wilson, training officer-in-charge of the BETTS-C program. "It is a flexible, mobile, adjustable group of surveillance systems that give a clear picture of the battlefield."
There are several groups of systems within the BETSS-C program, each with its own unique features.
RAID towers are a stand-alone tower system mounted on a trailer for easy transportation. The two types of towers, one 80 feet tall and the other 107 feet, include rotating cameras that can zoom to 20 kilometers away, with no physical obstructions or inclement weather.
CERBERUS is a similar system, hosting ground surveillance radar, infrared and day cameras and various unattended ground sensors. It is efficient, requiring no tools for set up or take down and can be towed by a humvee.
The Standard Ground System serves as the brains of the operation, using data provided from RAID and CERBERUS sensors to provide 3-D maps, immediate coordinates and flexible data storage.
Dave Mirkovich, project manager for the Rapid Deployment Integrated Surveillance System, described the surveillance capabilities for the RDISS. The system's focus is perimeter security by being able to support more than 10 cameras in one system.
"This is really beneficial because one Soldier can monitor many cameras from one location, freeing more people to focus on other important missions." Mirkovich said.
Also in the abundance of technology are thermal imaging cameras, which use heat signatures to detect bombs hidden on a person's body, explained Paul Clarke, product lead for the mid-range thermal imager. The system can stand alone or be used in conjunction with many other surveillance systems.
Soldiers and civilian contractors are trained on these systems and more at Fort Bragg's two training sites, the Fayetteville Contractor Training Facility and Forward Operating Base Patriot. The classes teach users how to operate the machinery, do routine maintenance and gives them real-life scenarios to practice their skills.
"This training gives the Soldiers the opportunity to train on and use the systems exactly how they would in theater," said Guy Jester, FOB Patriot training support.