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October 30, 2004

A little more about the CETS.

Today the Armorer is going to go to Andersonville. Before I head out, however, I thought I would clean up a loose end regarding the Cost Effective Targeting System (CETS) that I mentioned in a previous post. Dave, the Heartless Libertarian and serving soldier, makes this comment to that post:

Looks like a neat and potentially very useful system. One thing I'd do, (besides painting it green/tan): put some sort of protective covering on it. Not bullet/shrapnel proof, just something to protect it when PVT Snuffie bangs his rifle/web gear/elbow on it, so it's not knocked off zero.

Well, as the week goes on, I've learned more about it, and done a little poking around - making sure I'm not posting anything that isn't already on the 'net and giving away info that isn't mine to give! That's why my postings from Benning will probably develop themes over time, rather than dump info out in a rush - because I am making sure everything stays kosher, for the soldier, my client, the Army, and my employer! And you bet that's selfish. I like my current job and the salary and don't want to be asking people if they want fries with that or not...

Sooo, let's expound on Dave's thoughts. The CETS we have here is a developmental version, that has the rough performance of the objective version, which you can read about here. What we are doing here is using this version to test the concept in a real-world but low risk environment (in terms of getting troops killed - it's still high-risk of failure for the intstrument and it's designers!), seeing how troops use it and like it, testing the C4ISR (Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance ) architecture (i.e., all the other gizmos and data paths it has to work with) and as importantly, see how, under the stress of a problem-solving environment, the troops adapt and modify their use of it.

All that information feeds back into the development process for integration into the evolving final product. And can kill it, if it fails miserably and/or the troops don't see a use for it. All of this will help speed the getting of good things in the hands of troops, and as a side benny, provides work to keep the Armorer off of welfare.

Dave was talking about a cover. As I mentioned in the earlier post, the CETS wasn't complete in the picture, not having its Low Power Uncooled Infrared camera (LPUIR) camera installed. Dave will be happy to note that it does have a cover. The off-the-shelf rifle sight does not - but then it doesn't in normal usage, either, and, as the link to the developer's site shoes, it will all be a single lens in the objective system.

There has been one slight problem (and maybe, Dave - they DO need a ballistic cover, at least during Drivers Training!) the drivers of the vehicle when entering the woods, tend to forget the turret up there, and trees can be hard on the optics.

But that system has to be able to operate in a wooded environment - so that has to be accounted for in the overall design and in the training of the soldiers in the use of the gear, which is all a part of the data-gathering and analysis during these development spirals.

Here's a picture of the sensor when completely assembled and ready for use.

Another view. In that picture you can see some of the antennas and aerials used for some of the other systems. More on that later.

Off to Andersonville.