US Army futuristic glasses endure tropical weather test in Puerto Rico

The US Army said in a statement that its ‘mixed reality’ glasses were tested in a tropical severe weather test by the 3rd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment at the Training Center. Ready Consortium of Camp Santiago in Puerto Rico.

Soldiers tested a helmet-mounted Integrated Image Intensification System (IVAS) with advanced sensor matching capabilities, similar to features found on the latest generations of sightlines Night and other image enhancement optics.

This is the first time a platoon from a Ranger regiment has taken the military form factor of IVAS into its steps and tested how the goggles increase situational awareness during land navigation. , quick target collection and whole mission assignments.


“In my opinion, nobody in the Army trains harder than we do,” said Brian Hayman, a sergeant in the 3rd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment. “If one unit is going to put this system to the full test, whether it’s good or bad, it’s going to be the guys out here.”

Hayman explains why his Soldiers were chosen for this mission. “The Ranger Regiment has a unique mission mindset, where our boys, from skill level one through senior enlistment, are trained by the very best,” he said. “Our captains have countless overseas deployments and they are trained by people who have countless overseas deployments, and all of that richness diminishes.”

Courtney Bacon's photo
Courtney Bacon’s photo

The Rangers tested their ability to navigate over land, rapid target acquisition, and review after action in progressive exercises that culminated in a move-to-contact event and a mid-level raid. team. The land navigation feature stands out as a favorite in the group.

“Traditionally, you have five points and you are spending time drawing them on the map,” says Hayman. “A lot of people make the mistake of drawing maps. With IVAS, mistakes are eliminated by simply entering a 10-digit grid into the system and then the programmed route is shown to you. You never have to stop to check a map or anything like that because, with the push of a button, you have an arrow at the bottom of the screen and you go the arrow to your point, so no accidentally drift left or right. You never use the compass, and even if you do, you look up and it’s at the top of the strip. That’s what helped me a lot, overall. ”

With intuitive access to navigation tools, preventing them from having to stop and fumble with the compass to re-evaluate their position discreetly in the dark, Rangers has implemented a navigation lock on land. significantly faster than the Army’s requirement for a traditional five-point course.

“The military standard is to find four out of five points in five hours,” says Hayman. “I believe last night, almost 90% of the boys got five points within an hour, hour and 15 minutes max.”

“Last night’s land navigation was too easy,” said the Chief of Staff. Jake Croxdale. “Navigation with the guided arrows is extremely intuitive, because I would just click where I want to go, the arrow pops up and I move out. Being able to access maps at the touch of a button instead of having to look down at my phone or paper allows me not to stop as much as I normally would and ultimately execute faster. ”

The IVAS observation display provides maps, compasses, and navigation tools at the touch of a button, not just to individual soldiers, but also enables the connected communications needed for planning, building, and construction. Build, share, and execute routes at the team, squad, and platoon level elements.

“Navigation over land is easy, but so is planning a route and sharing it with my friends,” says Croxdale. “I created a route and blew it up and it worked super fast. We had problems with other products where the connection was not good, but as soon as I sent it to them, they had it and we were able to move out. ”

While taking a shared route, each Soldier can also see the location of the others in their selected element. The ability to see the positions of other Soldiers while moving over land is a benefit lauded by all levels of leadership on the ground when conducting experimental operations, from platoon leader to lieutenant sergeant. squads to platoon captains.

“I have the command and control aspects of my job as a platoon leader, so the icons on the map of where everyone is on the battlefield at any given time is extremely in my favor,” said Lieutenant Luke Huen. “Instead of having to forward a person to get their exact location, which can change in seconds, I can just push a button and I know exactly where they are. It removes all the guesswork. I think it’s the best feature so far. ”

Huen recognized information visibility as an advantage at his operational level, and platoon sergeants and captains echoed his sentiments as well.

“The good thing about being able to see where people are is that you know where your frontline tracks are,” says Hayman. “If I were providing fire support and dispatching two assault teams, especially in wooded places like we were last night, I could look on my map and see and then give more precise commands. I always know where all my boys are.”

Croxdale added that the situational awareness provided by IVAS allows him to accurately track all eight members of his squad in real time so he knows exactly where each member of his squad is. , with just one cursor move. He explains that their current tools aren’t carried by everyone on the team, so the increased visibility allows him to make more informed tactical decisions as a team member. leader.

Courtney Bacon’s photo

The Rangers were also shown briefly featuring the after-action assessment of the IVAS ability suite. It provides a detailed virtual “replay” of the executed scenario for use as an assessment tool in both drills and training missions.

“It was like watching tape, growing up playing football,” says Croxdale. “You can see where mistakes have been made. I can replay it, see what people are doing and say, ‘Hey, your dispersion isn’t good at this point in the situation’, and if they come back and ask it, I have tape to copy it. save it. ”

“It can be helpful, especially if you’re going into a place where there’s fire and mobility,” Croxdale added. “Not even just looking at walking and scattering, but to [review] a fire and maneuverability, which is definitely value added. ”

75th Rangers provided thorough and honest feedback on the fourth set of IVAS competencies, but the test could not have been conducted without support from the Army and National Guard testing communities family (ARNG).

“IVAS is an important system for the Army,” said Colonel Ben Patrick McFall, commander of the Yuma Proving Ground, Arizona. “But what I think is really important is the relationship between the PEOs, the PMs [program managers] and ATEC [Army Test and Evaluation Command] community testing. ”

“What really matters is the partnership we have that allows us all to work together with the sole benefit of supporting the warrior, so we find any point of failure first. when they do,” added McFall. “We are also extremely grateful to the Puerto Rican National Guard for their support of this effort.”

The Puerto Rico Army National Guard’s 191st Area Support Group increased logistical and installation support for the IVAS test event at the Joint Readiness Training Center. The Guards Squadron, commanded by Captain Noelia Roldan of the 292nd Combat Support Battalion, still has flexible and relevant changes, proving the team and its installation an ideally located asset for the community. Army test co.

Sgt. First Class Joshua Braly, who currently serves on the Soldier Damage Multi-Purpose Team, said he helped facilitate ARNG support because he has a personal relationship with the Guard.

“I am also a Georgia Guard,” Braly said. “IVAS is being designed for close combat and the Army National Guard is a big part of that, which is why I’m involved.”

Thanks to their connection to the Guard, Braly knew they could provide invaluable and versatile support that other locations could not.
“Given the challenges we faced with COVID travel restrictions, our usual approach to evaluating this type of equipment in Panama, Suriname, Hawaii, Guam, and hubs,” Braly said. other tropics trials”. “We contacted the Puerto Rican National Guard and they enthusiastically accepted. Not only that, but they also put soldiers on command to provide dedicated training areas, scope, and logistical support to our effort.”

In fact, IVAS has also taken advantage of National Guard installations and personnel support during many of its previous test events. In addition to the tropical test event in Puerto Rico, the Guard has supported several major IVAS Soldier communications events at Fort Pickett, Virginia, over the past two years; aviation platform integration was held at the Redstone Test Center in Huntsville, Alabama, using National Guard aircraft; and Vehicle User Study 3 will be held at Camp Roberts, California, in September 2021. Each of these events assesses the key areas needed to further develop IVAS for testing, integration and perfect in the future.

“The National Guard supported the evaluation and testing phase of this Army signature effort,” Braly said. “The versatility of ARNG vehicles and the support of personnel and equipment will continue to enable the timely and constructive testing needed to continue IVAS development, as well as modernization efforts.” other of the Army.”

The IVAS Tropical Weather Test was conducted by the 3rd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment and supported by the Puerto Rican National Guard. Without the involvement of either partner on the IVAS team, the trial would not have had such an impact.

“The IVAS testing team was impressed with the professionalism and quality of the feedback provided [by] “Rangers,” said Susan Fung, vice president of technology for the IVAS Project Manager. She assures them, “Your feedback is invaluable. We have provided daily updates to the team at the office and are certainly taking the details of your feedback and are working to incorporate them.”

Rangers have provided honest and factual feedback based on their years of operational and implementation experience, and are able to see the full potential of IVAS technology.

“The potential for this is unlimited, the ceiling is super high,” says Huen. “All of these people know that in the next five, 10, 15 years, we could see that this can be incredibly useful, especially in what we do.”

“The thought process behind the IVAS system is amazing,” says Hayman. “I think we are in an era where this system exists.”

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