I realize that most of what we write about is the operational units, but I'd like to pay tribute to the Air Force Research Lab here at Wright-Patterson Ohio! The RDT&E units (military, civilian and contractors) often get overlooked because their job is to create the resources and life-saving technologies for the operational guys......Once again they have come through in spades!
I'm not really up to snuff in the techno stuff, but I think it's really cool what amazingly intelligent people can create! This time they came up with a way to limit friendly fire. Read on, it's pretty cool.
Quoting from the local base newspaper:
"When Taliban forces attacked a police checkpoint in central Afghanistan under dark of night in late 2006, Air Force Master Sgt. Andrew Martin called in air support and then slapped a high-tech clothlike device on his helmet for protection.
Fresh from the labs at WPAFB, OH, the devise transmitted light from a powerful diode (who the heck can tell me what that is?!?!?!? - my words, not the newspapers!) that pulsed through a fiber-optic bundle, giving off infrared signals visible to pilots wearing night-vision goggles.
"The pilots were able to very quickly pick it up," said Martin, who has retired from the Air Force. "What didn't happen was additional questions from the pilots asking me my location." (seriously, we can ALL see the value in this!)
The new technology - called the Target Recognition Operator Notification system - was designed to easily identify friendly forces and avoid casualties from friendly fire.
"A lot of different units saw the need for something like this, to be able to clearly determine friend or foe," said Brian Hunt, an engineer with the Air Force Research Lab.
His group produced 108 prototypes in six months. Each unit costs about $100.
"You can put it anywhere," Hunt said. "It's got Velcro on the back. It sticks to everything." End of article.
How Cool is that!?!?!? I love reading about the new techno stuff out there to keep our troops safe! It's just one more way, but I can see how this would be a real life-saver! Kudos to the researchers who come up with these gadgets and make our operational missions just that much more successful and safer!