U.S. Army equipment officials recently tested an improved version of a counter-rocket system designed to protect convoys as well as squads on foot.
The new Counter Rocket Shooter System with Highly Accurate Immediate Response System Enhanced is scheduled to undergo an operational evaluation with soldiers in Afghanistan this fall. At the same time, the new system will take part in the Network Integration Exercise as well. Officials from the Army’s Rapid Equipping Force held a CROSSHAIRS Enhanced Net Modernization Exercise last week to evaluate operational readiness and reduce risk in the two high-profile events.
CROSSHAIRS Enhanced is a spiral, development effort funded by REF to expand on the basic CROSSHAIRS capability. The REF partnered with DARPA, to equip the original CROSSHAIRS systems to units in Afghanistan in 2010 and 2012. The modular set of capabilities includes direct fire detection and direction finding; a slew to cue capability using the existing common remotely Operated Weapon System and a command and control display that can be mounted on any vehicle platform. The system gives convoys the situational awareness required to make critical operational decisions, such as to engage an enemy or not based on positive identification of a combatant, REF officials maintain.
Initially, the feedback was, “Hey, CROSSHAIRS is great, but I need the same information and video feeds when I dismount,” said REF Scientist Dr. Jesse Hester. “If a soldier encounters a threat while on dismount patrol, they do not want to have to run back to the vehicle to see the CROSSHAIRS video. It would be much better if they could take cover in place and access the same situational awareness.”
Additionally, soldiers requested the video feeds to be shared in all vehicles of the convoy.
In Nov of 2012, the REF began investigating off-the-shelf equipment to provide an “on the go” network bubble and to deliver video feed to subsequent vehicles in a convoy and dismounted troops. They added 4G antennas, UAS signal processor, video integration and display units, networking equipment as well as the required power supply and air conditioning units.
Additionally, CROSSHAIRS Enhanced provides a Maxx Pro vehicle configuration for additional convoy vehicles. The Maxx Pro will be outfitted with a 4G receiver, the video display unit, as well as a 4G router.
CROSSHAIRS Enhanced provides up to twenty inter-squad, smart phone receivers. Project Manager Soldier Warrior selected the Samsung Note II; however, the CROSSHAIRS Enhanced suite is technology-independent and will be compatible with any smart phone selected by the program manger, REF officials maintain.
REF officials are scheduled to deliver CROSSHAIRS Enhanced upgrade systems to units in Afghanistan in September. Simultaneously, the package will participate in NIE 14.1 held at Ft Bliss, Texas.