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Naval Station Rota Tests New Technologies

Navy NewsStand

Story Number: NNS051027-18
Release Date: 10/27/2005 2:14:00 PM

By Chief Journalist (SW) Robert Garnand, Naval Station Rota Public Affairs

ROTA, Spain (NNS) -- For the past several weeks in October, U.S. Naval Station (NAVSTA) Rota has been the site of a program that’s testing new technologies in force protection measures.

These new technologies are part of a program known as the Counter-Bomb/Counter-Bomber (CB2) Advance Concept Technology Demonstration (ACTD). These tests are providing positive results in the future of preventing terrorist acts of aggression against U.S. and allied installations around the world.

“This is a DoD program whose purpose is to find technology to enhance force protection against IEDs (Improvised Explosive Devices) and get that technology out to our forces as quickly as possible,” said Steve Spehn, assistant science advisor at Headquarters, United States European Command (ECJ8-Q) and CB2 operational manager. “Here at Rota we’ve had approximately 110 different personnel. About 60 of those have come in TDY (temporary duty) and another 50 permanent party here involved in both the setup, the training, the technical calibration and the execution.”

The Marine Corps Security Force Company, Europe, (MCSFCO, Europe) 1st Platoon in Rota was involved in the CB2 demonstration by training with the technology and providing feedback.

Spehn said it's important to get the operational input from the Marines who will eventually end up using these technologies.

“What we do here is try to find technology that integrates into their existing tactics, techniques and procedures (TTP), and then find ways to modify and improve those TTPs to best integrate the capabilities these technologies provide,” he said.

“It’s good to be exposed to the actual equipment and having an opinion in what type of adjustments need to be made," added Marine Sgt. Robert Fertal of MCSFCO, Europe, 1st Platoon.

Fertal also said the CB2 demonstration proved effective. “The majority of this technology is developed to take more personnel out of the blast radius or impact zone of IEDs and that’s exactly what they do,” he said.

According to Fertal, this technology could be used by all branches of the service, not just at fixed sites but in the field, as well.

“We’re more concerned about the expeditionary role as far as packing the gear up and deploying to places like Iraq or Afghanistan where we face suicide bombers and other IED threats,” he said.

Some of the technology the Marines used for the perimeter control and entry control point portion of the demonstration were the Gatekeeper vehicle under carriage scanning system, the Quantum Sniffer, the Sentinel 150 and the Critical Area Protection System (CAPS).

The Gatekeeper system scans the under carriage of a vehicle and stores its image for future reference. The image is examined for any potential IEDs or other threatening devices. This removes the “person with the mirror” from harm’s way as they search under the vehicle.

The Quantum Sniffer scans a surface area to detect trace quantities of any explosive materials that may be used in an IED or threatening device.

The Sentinel 150 Millimeter Wave Imaging Threat Device Detector uses millimeter waves in the atmosphere to create an image that is sent to a computer where it is examined for any IEDs or threatening devices.

The CAPS system provides a 360-degree visual and seismic display of a specified perimeter area. This complete display of the area allows the CAPS operator to alert personnel in the field of a possible threat before they would normally be aware of it.

"This is the second demonstration,” Sphen said. “The overall program cost to OSD (Office of the Secretary of Defense) was about $21 million, of which $5 million went into this demonstration.”

Initially, some of the technology will be left behind in select locations for extended user evaluations up to approximately one year, he said.

“That will give us time to put the rest of the technology that’s going to go on to acquisition through the acquisition process and get it out to the warfighter in about two to three years from the point where we identify it as a viable technology.”

Although this is a U.S. DoD program, Spehn said other countries are providing input to this program.

“Here at Rota, we’ve had great support from the Kingdom of Spain. We are also working with a few other countries in identifying technologies as potential candidates for our purposes," he said. "We are also looking to work with NATO and their evolving counter-IED program.”

Spehn said NAVSTA Rota’s cooperation and participation has been positive.

“Rota has been absolutely magnificent. Both the Navy staff, as well as the Marines have gone out of their way to make this program a success," he said. “I think this is an important program that in the end will help save the lives of our forces out in the field."



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