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Cameron University students aid Army artillery

January 12, 2012

By Marie Berberea

FORT SILL, Okla. -- A simple meeting of the minds at Cameron University may have made the Army's artillery power more deadly.

Fort Sill recently partnered with university students to solve the problem of wasted munitions.
The solution was to fire with more accuracy. The way to get there was an algorithm.

A group of CU computer science majors teamed up with experts at Fort Sill for the Rocket Aiming Project.

The mission was to develop an unclassified rocket-aiming algorithm for the Guided Missile Launch Rocket System-Alternative Warhead Program to optimize aim point distribution when attacking area targets.

"We accept the coordinates for a target and we choose the most optimal position for the rocket in such a way that we're not overlapping rockets,"said CU student, Sam Huckaby. "We're not using up extra missiles but we're also minimizing the white space so that in the target the most area is damaged."

The rockets will be fired from MLRS M270A1 and High Mobility Artillery Rocket System launchers with an emphasis on the center of the target.

The project began last September and in December the figures were laid out.

The students and professors shared their findings with Maj. Gen. David Halverson, Fires Center of Excellence and Fort Sill commanding general, Dec. 16.

"I am one that firmly believes, as an artillerist, this a beautiful partnership between tactical and technical," said Halverson.

He went on to commend their efforts for undertaking a challenging course of instruction while simultaneously advancing the Fires Center of Excellence munitions program.

"Your contributions will play a role protecting and supporting our troops and allies serving in harm's way," said Halverson.

Most of the students said they had never actually seen rockets fired before, but living in Lawton they had definitely heard their power.

Others such as Spc. Philmore Thompson, 158th Field Artillery, Oklahoma National Guard, have worked hands on with artillery and for him the project extended beyond the classroom and into his life as a Soldier.

"It's nice that it counts as a class because we can show that we actually did something that applies to real life," said Thompson.

The students put their algorithm into computer-based programs to see the effects.

The programs will go through a testing phase in which government workers will make sure the code performs as planned.

Keith Pannell, Fort Sill public affairs officer, said ideally portions of the code will be incorporated into future rocket-aiming software used by the military.

That software will be released around 2019.

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