Sensors move up to the front line in Afghanistan

Devices on vehicles and aircraft prevent life-threatening accidents

The Army is increasing the use of sensors and introducing other technology advances to its logistics operations in support of troops in Afghanistan, reports Antonie Boessenkool in Defense News, summarizing a presentation last week by the deputy chief of staff for Army G-4 (Logistics).

The Army is making greater use of sensors on vehicles and aircraft in Afghanistan, said Lt. Gen. Mitchell Stevenson, the deputy chief of staff for the Army’s G-4 said at the Defense Logistics 2009 Conference in Arlington, Va. The devices are installed on vehicles and aircraft to alert operators to the health of the vehicle or when a part needs repair or replacement before it fails, Stevenson said.

In some instances the data received from such devices has prevented helicopter crashes, he said.

The Army also is making key changes to the way it delivers supplies in the mountainous terrain of Afghanistan, Stevenson said. The traditional way of dropping supplies using Global Positioning System technology to guide the parachute to a specific location is problematic because the mountains can interrupt the GPS signal, he said. To remedy this, the Army is testing a method for aerial “free drops” of supplies without parachutes at a lower altitude than the 15,000 feet allowed by the existing Joint Precision Air Drop System.

Stevenson also said the Army is exploring ways to coordinate logistics operations with coalition partners in Afghanistan to gain greater efficiencies.

To smooth the transfer of logistics operations from Iraq to Afghanistan, the Army Materiel Command has established a Responsible Reset Task Force, reports Sean Gallagher in Defense Systems. The goal of the task force is to extract a large volume of supply material located in Iraq as efficiently and securely as possible.

To assist in the effort, the Army enlisted the support of contractors. One of the contractors, CACI International Inc., is helping the Army address security threats to supply chain operations. The contractor looks at the logistics, cyber and information technology components of supply chain operations and makes recommendations for technology implementations and new management processes needed to tighten security.

About the Author

William Welsh is a freelance writer covering IT and defense technology.

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