Trident Warrior 2011 (TW 11) came to a conclusion after members
completed all 70 of their planned experiments which involved testing new
technologies, tactics and procedures August, 1 aboard USS WASP (LHD 1).
Trident Warrior's goal is to assist the war fighter in combating the
ever present threats of terrorism on the high-seas and in the cyber
common unmanned surface vehicle patrols for intruders during Trident
Warrior 2011. The experimental boat can operate autonomously or by
remote. The Trident Warrior experiment, directed by U.S. Fleet Forces
Command, temporarily deploys advanced capabilities on ships to collect
real-world data and feedback during an underway experimentation period.
(U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Scott
While operating off
the coast of Virginia, July 25 to August 1, Sailors from Wasp and
engineers from United States Fleet Forces Command and Naval Postgraduate
School, Monterrey, Calif. conducted research and experiments ranging
from testing artificially controlled unmanned surface vessels to sensory
inter-operability between joint military aircraft.
"This was the best Trident Warrior we've ever had," said Mr. Brad
Poeltler, deputy director of Trident Warrior-Fleet Experimentation. "The
data that was collected was phenomenal and I believe it's going to take
us in a direction far exceeding our expectations."
During their time aboard Wasp, the ship's crew worked with TW11
engineers to conduct explorations into the feasibility of using a
computerized 'brain' to enhance vessels that could be used to protect
ships within foreign harbors and ports.
"We are implementing the same 'brain' that the Mars Exploration Rover is
using to do this," said Poeltler. "The 'brain' will control all
functionality of the vessel while simultaneously providing it with
concise computations on how to assess and engage a possible threat to
the ship it is protecting. We've also prepared this mechanism on a
variety of small boats to see whether it will be practical to employ
lethal or non-lethal applications later this year."
As to the "brain's" ability to function only as a singular module, the
system will allow itself to be used on multiple platforms in a form of
sequencing called "Sliding Autonomy."
"This technology will provide better efficiency when safeguarding
assets," said Poeltler. "Four boats equipped with the 'brain' will be
able to communicate with one another that there is a target in the
vicinity. The first boat will challenge [the target], if it doesn't
think it has a high chance of defeating the threat, it will communicate
with the next vessel in line to move in and do its job and so forth."
Executing this exercise wasn't just about applying weapon systems to
ships traveling on the oceans; it also gave an opportunity for all
services to build upon existing systems.
"We've looked at the possibilities digitally connecting aircraft with
their own unique brand of data collection abilities and called the
method 'Netted Sensors," said Poeltler. "We've used the E-2C Hawkeye, an
airborne command and control center with a very unique long range
surveillance radar, and coupled it with the existing real-time visual
optics of the Predator, an unmanned aerial vehicle."
By enveloping these two systems together, it will not only bring about
effective command and control for the troops on the ground, but will
provide the commanders a better picture of what's going on in the battle
space, therefore eliminating the need to wait on information that is
hindered by each system's own technical limitations. We want every
platform to become a sensor, and every sensor a platform to engage
situations before they become a threat.
experiments completed, Poeltler and his team of scientists have already
begun the planning stages of Trident Warrior 2012 and beyond.
"We're already taking all the data that we've collected and are in
beginning stages of processing it," said Poeltler. "We'll make an
analysis and then determine what works and will make recommendations to
our superiors. I believe that we are in store for a good time."
Assisting the Trident Warrior staff to complete these tasks was a team
effort for many Wasp Sailors. For the crew, this was chance to show off
their ability to interact in the joint environment.
"Wasp was a great platform to host this evolution," said Poeltler.
"Everyone from the commanding officer on down did everything in their
power to ensure that we had what we needed, when we needed it. The
professionalism that the crew conveyed was astounding and I can't wait
to come back."