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Technology advances defense, protects F.E. Warren AFB Airmen

by Staff Sgt. Torri Savarese
90th Missile Wing Public Affairs

2/25/2012 - F. E. WARREN AIR FORCE BASE, Wyo. (AFNS) -- Members of the 90th Missile Wing added another weapon to their arsenal to enhance their robust deterrence mission Feb. 17 here.
The Remote Targeting Engagement System is made up of several parts, including six separate M-240 machine guns, controlled remotely from command consoles. The weapons are contained in up-armored housings and outfitted with 7.62mm armor-piercing rounds. They are strategically placed around areas requiring the highest level of protection.

"The RTES is a system that keeps our people out of harm's way while still being able to engage the enemy," said Tech. Sgt. Michael Firos, the 90th Security Forces Squadron NCO in charge of RTES.

The system is on a dedicated network that connects each separate weapon system with a central control center. Once an alarm sensor is tripped, the system requires dual control to activate. After activation, a security forces member uses a touch-screen console to visually identify an enemy target and a video game-like controller is used to engage and eliminate the target.

The RTES machine guns have three cameras mounted to them, with live video feedback to the console. A thermal-imaging camera, wide-angle camera and scope complete the RTES operator's picture of the scenario.

"It's kind of like having an M-240 sniper rifle," Firos said. "You don't have to worry about breathing, recoil or enemy fire. You just put the cross-hairs on the target and fire."

He explained that although the shooter is physically detached from the weapon, the live-fire qualifications remind Airmen that the end result is no different than traditionally pulling the trigger.

"You can actually see the cameras shake after the weapon is fired," said Staff Sgt. Ryan Nelson, the 90th Communications Squadron assistant NCO in charge of visual imagery intrusion detection systems. "The weapon still recoils, so you know you're really firing it, and there is no question as to the reality of what you're shooting at."

The RTES is maintained by both security forces and communication squadron members. Airmen from Combat Arms Training and Maintenance keep the M-240 clean and in working order. All the electrical and network pieces of the system are the responsibility of the VIIDS shop.

"The most important thing to realize about this system is that it really keeps our Airmen safe," Firos said. "This is a system that can eliminate a threat without involving any Airman in a firefight."

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