Friday October 21, 2011
What is it?
BuckEye, developed by the Army Geospatial Center (AGC), is an airborne, high-resolution geospatial data collection system that combines high-resolution (10cm) color imagery and (1m) 3D terrain data collected with a light detection and ranging sensor.
The data is a force multiplier for maneuver commanders, enabling them to master their operational environment. It also enhances the geospatial accuracy of data derived from Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR) sources, whether Signals Intelligence (SIGINT), full-motion video (FMV), Human Intelligence (HUMINT), etc. BuckEye has been deployed in both manned and unmanned fixed wing aircraft as well as rotary wing aircraft.
What has the Army done?
BuckEye systems have been supporting U.S. Central Command for seven years. All of the operationally relevant sections of Iraq (e.g., all population centers and transportation corridors - for a total of 12 percent of the landmass) were collected, and nearly 20 percent of Afghanistan have been collected-and has been "surging" the deployment of BuckEye resources to meet the backlog in commanders' collection requirements.
What continued efforts does the Army have planned for the future?
The BuckEye program has been investing in a next-generation pod capability that will offer an order of magnitude increase in collection rates at the same resolution and accuracy. The first prototype will be delivered in mid-2012 and may be deployed for operational tests in Afghanistan. In an era of declining budgets, this capability offers the possibility of achieving high-resolution 3-D terrain data coverage for a wide variety of security operations around the globe.
Why is this important to the Army?
Soldiers only have access to national satellite imagery in a Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility (SCIF) and often do not have the clearance necessary to retrieve it. Commercial satellite imagery is widely available, but the best available resolution is 0.6 meters. And, in neither case, is 3-D terrain data provided. BuckEye combines 0.1 meter resolution unclassified imagery with 1m high-resolution 3-D terrain data that is "commander-taskable" and can be shared with coalition and host nation forces.
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"Anything we can do to decrease our expenditures, that's good for the Army, good for the taxpayers, and equally important in that we want to be responsible stewards of the environment."
-Secretary of the Army John McHugh, emphasizing that Army was exercising all the tools in its box without limiting or compromising its capabilities, at the Energy and Sustainability Technology Fair, Pentagon
"The Army is all about history and reliving it today was great … You never know what tomorrow is going to bring. Engineers have to be ready because we make way for different companies and their missions. If it's clearing their route or getting them across a river, we have to be there to make sure everything is safe and secure for the Soldiers behind us."
- Spc. Jeremy Durstine, a heavy equipment operator for the winning team from 738th Engineer Support Company, 307th Engineer Battalion, at the Annual Waal River Crossing competition, held at Fort Bragg, N.C.
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