HUNSTVILLE, Ala. — As the Army continues to develop and implement the Multi-Domain Operations concept, including the seamless integration of land, sea, air, space and cyberspace technology, it chose “Readiness for Multi-Domain Operations” as the theme for this year’s Association of the U.S. Army annual meeting. The event was held March 26-28 at the Von Braun Center in Huntsville, Alabama.
The U.S. Combat Capabilities Development Command, a major subordinate command of the Army Futures Command, displayed the Future Open Rotorcraft Cockpit Environment Simulator, or FORCE, technology in the Army exhibit booth.
Built with commercial off-the-shelf products, the FORCE simulator was developed for the Synergistic Unmanned Manned Intelligent Teaming program, which evaluates the impact of manned/unmanned teaming on Army aircraft. One of the benefits of the FORCE simulator is its open architecture, which allows vendors to test their software on the platform.
At AUSA, the FORCE simulator featured UAS launched from an Army rotorcraft at tactical altitudes controlled from a cockpit or crew station. The SUMIT program and FORCE simulator will improve readiness for future forces through innovative technology evaluation that supports Future Vertical Lift Manned-Unmanned-Teaming in Multi-Domain Operations.
“In the future as battles get more complex, we will need manned assets and unmanned assets to play together. In order to do that we will need someone to be able to control more than one unmanned vehicle at a time. In order to do that, we will need a level of autonomy,” said Dr. Thomas Alicia, from the CCDC Aviation Missile Center facility at Moffett Field, California.
The Army booth also featured kiosks represented by various Army commands, as well as the Warriors Corner where speakers presented topics relevant to MDO.
Maj. Gen. Cedric T. Wins, commanding general CCDC, and Doug Tamilio, director of the CCDC Soldier Center, presented “Building a more lethal Soldier today” at the Warrior’s Corner. Their presentation focused on Soldier Lethality, one of the Army’s six modernization priorities.
“What we’re trying to do across the portfolio is reduce the burden on the Soldier,” Tamilio said. “We’re working to increase performance and increase lethality for Soldiers.”
Tamilio leveraged a new virtual Soldier touch-screen display to introduce Soldier capabilities that align with Army priorities within a five-year timeframe. The capabilities include: a 40 percent lighter helmet; enhanced night vision goggle-binocular; integrated visual augmentation system; next generation rifle; next generation optics; lightweight torso protection; physical augmentation; close combat assault ration; squad operations advanced resupply; dismounted Soldier robotics and autonomous systems; and comfortable, lightweight boots.
The CCDC centers and labs work closely with the Cross Functional Teams that were created to support the Army’s modernization priorities.
“From an S&T perspective, we are the organization that drives the execution of the work that is being done in support of the modernization priorities, and the focus that has been given to them has been led by the Cross Functional Teams,” Wins said.
Other topics featured at the Warriors Corner included a presentation on the Next Generation Combat Vehicle from Brig. Gen. Ross Coffman, director NGCV Cross Functional Team, Maj. Gen. Brian Cummings, PEO Ground Combat System and Jeff Langhout, director CCDC Ground Vehicle Systems Center.
CCDC’s Ground Vehicle Systems Center leads the development of technology for the NGCV effort. The center is working on the next generation of ground vehicles that are not only more lethal and survivable, but also smaller, lighter and more fuel efficient. Key areas of research and development include: power architecture, protection, vehicle electronic architecture and autonomy.
John Willison, CCDC deputy to the commanding general, participated in a discussion on the CP16 Army Civilian Career Program. Willison is the functional chief representative for the Army CCDC CP16 program, which includes the Army’s 18,000 scientists and engineers (non-construction).
Willison discussed the importance for engineers and scientists to stay technically relevant and be able to adjust to changing challenges. He also noted the importance of recruiting students as early as possible in high school and that CCDC’s recruitment strategy includes the opportunity to contribute to a greater purpose.
“We know that if we hire someone into our space, it will take between five and ten years to turn them into a subject matter expert,” Willison said. “When they come in they have a foundational, technical understanding but likely don’t know much about the Army problem space or the Army solution space or the capabilities that we are developing unless they’ve had some relevant experience.”
The U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command (CCDC), formerly known as the U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command (RDECOM), has the mission to lead in the discovery, development and delivery of the technology-based capabilities required to make Soldiers more lethal to win our Nation’s wars and come home safely. The command collaborates across the Future Force Modernization Enterprise and its own global network of domestic and international partners in academia, industry and other government agencies to accomplish this mission. CCDC is a major subordinate command of the U.S. Army Futures Command.