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NNS020816-07. NSWC Indian Head Demonstrates New Munitions Tracking System

By Chief Journalist David Nagle, Naval Sea Systems Command Public Affairs

INDIAN HEAD, Md. (NNS) -- Naval Surface Warfare Center (NSWC) Indian Head recently demonstrated a new device that will aid warfighting commanders with near real-time information to monitor and track ammunition.

Senior military and Department of Defense representatives attended a demonstration of the Joint Advanced Technology Ordnance Surveillance (ATOS) system July 31.

ATOS, a fiscal year 2001 Advance Concept Technology Demonstration (ACTD), is an electronic tag providing near real-time ammunition logistics data in two key areas.

First, the system provides critical environmental exposure data that will allow scientists and engineers to more accurately predict future safe and reliable service life of critical munitions, which will reduce life cycle cost and increase readiness by improving the overall quality and availability of ordnance assets.

Second, ATOS will automate the manual and labor-intensive receipt and inventory process, greatly improving inventory accuracy and reducing Sailor workload.

The tag is a small radio frequency transmitter combined with a micro-electromechanical sensor array. The sensor array has a modular design, allowing for additional future sensor applications.

ATOS tags will be attached to munitions containers and pallets. The tag's signal can be picked-up by a series of sensors in ammunition magazines or with a handheld sensor. This data can then electronically be input to individual service weapons tracking databases for real-time update to weapons material condition and inventory.

Eventually, the goal is to embed ATOS sensors directly into the weapon system and its components during manufacture.

In addition, NSWC Indian Head is developing a deployable sensor kit for use in tracking munitions at remote sites worldwide.

According to Betsy DeLong, ATOS program manager at NSWC Indian Head, ATOS is expected to save the Navy more than $40 million and 373 Sailor workyears annually.

"I'm consistently impressed by the innovative applications of new technology by the engineers and scientists at Indian Head," said Capt. Marc Siedband, NSWC Indian Head's commanding officer. "Developing and fielding a system like ATOS will have a widespread positive impact throughout the defense industry and will bring an improved design into the hands of the warfighter."

The ACTD program, established in 1994 by the Department of Defense, focuses on rapidly placing maturing technologies in the hands of warfighters.

Indian Head began work on ATOS in April 2001. The program is sponsored by the U.S. European Command. The ATOS will be tested next summer. Following successful testing, the Navy and Marine Corps will begin fielding more than 850,000 ATOS tags to fleet units over a five year period.

NSWC Indian Head, a National Center for Energetics, specializes in the research, development, technology and engineering of explosives, propellants and their related applications.

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