By Robert PursellMay 29, 2007
(SUFFOLK, Va. - May 23, 2007) - U.S. Joint Forces Command (USJFCOM) put one of its Cooperative Research and Development Agreements (CRADA) to use this month to begin testing a joint sensor capability aimed at saving lives on the home front and abroad.
USJFCOM's Joint Urban Operations Office (JUOO) conducted tests to determine a baseline and evaluate Sense Through Structures (STS) systems, which provide a detection and tracking ability inside buildings.
JUOO's Duane Schattle explained that the purpose of the STS capability is to detect personnel, weapons, and materials through fixed structures such as residential buildings, warehouses, or other structures common to the urban environment.
"That's the capability that we really want to get to and STS is a step along that path," he said. "It's about providing an individual the situational awareness inside of a building that we don't have right now."
USJFCOM's CRADA with Raytheon provides an instrument test bed for urban operations capabilities at the Muscatatuck Urban Training Center, a realistic environment for experimentation and testing of urban operations-related capabilities and urban training activities.
Muscatatuck includes approximately 70 buildings, a hospital, power station, and subterranean tunnels located on a thousand acres of rural, isolated property in the heart of Indiana.
This month, soldiers from the Indiana Army National Guard's 76th Infantry Brigade supported the STS test by conducting a series of building-clearing exercises. The brigade is scheduled to deploy to Iraq later this year. Personnel from JUOO and Aberdeen Test Center (ATC) measured their performance to determine the baseline for operations without using STS systems.
A second round of testing will begin in June to run the same exercises, with soldiers putting simulated STS systems to use. Analysts from JUOO, ATC and other interested agencies will look at the results to see if this capability is worth pursuing.
Schattle explained what JUOO is trying to achieve from these exercises.
"There are a number of programs out there that are looking at sense through structures within DoD and the Department of Justice and what we're doing is trying to bring those programs together and identify what would be the joint standards and share what others are learning so that we can make recommendations on what type of technology to pursue."
The systems that provide STS capabilities are primarily radar-based, although additional technologies may ultimately be incorporated, including thermal imaging, X-rays, acoustic sensing and others.
Schattle said the future direction of these efforts may be shaped by what the JUOO learns from these and similar future tests.