Army, defense leaders showcase cutting-edge equipment for soldiers

New technology was front and center at the AUSA 2019 Global Force Symposium and Exposition at the Von Braun Center. (Source: WAFF)
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HUNTSVILLE, AL (WAFF) - New technology being developed by and for the Army took center stage in Huntsville this week. And a lot of the work is happening on Redstone Arsenal.

It was front and center at the AUSA 2019 Global Force Symposium and Exposition at the Von Braun Center.

The U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command, headquartered on Redstone Arsenal, talked about the Enhanced Target Acquisition Kit.

It's designed to take a soldier's existing equipment that they're already carrying and extend the capabilities.

"What we're able to do is take this 3D rail and with one click, no we have it locked it. Now we're able to take an existing weapon sight or one going through fielding and equip that to the system and now we have a thermal capable system.

It's important because a soldier is unable to see at night unless he has night vision technology or thermal technology and this is one of the capabilities we're able to leverage," explained Justin Novak with SMDC/ARSTRAT.

It's combined with tactical radio networks.

"It has a Galaxy S5 smartphone on it. The soldier takes the data from a tactical radio, sends it into the smartphone and then he's able to see that data on his helmet," Novak stated. "He's seeing an aircraft up behind him and he's searching for that target and now that he's found it, he's looking through the thermal weapon sight to be able to identify the target as either friendly or hostile."

Lockheed Martin talked about what they're working on with Space and Missile Defense Command when it comes to laser technology.

“We have a system on a striker vehicle and a system on an FMTV platform, both of which can achieve the mission of giving our soldiers an asymmetric advantage relative to the cost of defeating low cost proliferated threats and it’s here in Huntsville where this system is being developed and brought to life and being delivered in the next few years to the front lines for the soldiers who defend our freedom,” stated Tyler Griffin, Director of Laser & Sensor Systems.

Meanwhile, a a growing defense shared details of their multi-million-dollar expansion in Huntsville at AUSA.

BAE Systems' $45-million-dollar project will create hundreds of new jobs over the coming years.

Their new 83,000 square foot facility at Cummings Research Park will include space for engineering development, manufacturing and laboratories.

BAE says Huntsville continues to be a great place to attract talent to support the work they do.

"We do aircraft protection and our main customer, PM ASE, is here in Huntsville. We're on the THAAD program with Lockheed Martin and Missile Defense is here. We also do precision guided munitions so there's a lot of things we do for the Army that our customers are right here and we want to be next to our customers," said Paul Markwardt with BAE Systems.

When the new facility is complete in 2020, the company will have 250 employees at the site. Over the next five years, BAE Systems could have as many as 300-400 workers at that location.

Also at the AUSA event, Raytheon was successful in raising money to help soldiers and their families.

Raytheon hosted the "Take the Hole in One" challenge to bring awareness to the Army Emergency Relief mission.

It provides emergency financial assistance to soldiers, retirees and their families during unexpected hardships.

For every hole in one, Raytheon made a donation, raising $10,000 over two days.

"It compliments our mission assurance where we make sure our equipment works and now we're making sure the soldier can work worry free because they are fully supported by the efforts of AER. It's very important to our company because while we can have the best equipment out there, if the soldier isn't ready, the two don't work together. The two together are symbiotic," said Colonel (Ret.) Dan Kirby, Raytheon Program Director.

Raytheon presented the Army Emergency Relief with a check from the fundraiser. AER financial assistance offers interest free loans, grants and scholarships.

Copyright 2019 WAFF. All rights reserved.

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