|U.S. Army Kraken (U.S. Army)|
As reported in a U.S. Army's press release, the Army is evaluating the development of a cutting-edge "Combat Outpost Surveillance and Force Protection System" (COSFPS) which combines radar, surveillance cameras, unmanned sensors, gunshot detection and remote-controlled weapons. The COSFPS is nicknamed "Kraken" after the mythological sea creature with many heads, and was evaluated in July 2011 as part of the Army's 3,800-Soldier-strong Network Integration Evaluation, or NIE at White Sands Missile Range, N.M. The exercise was designed to assess and integrate a host of technologies.
Kraken is an ISU-90 containerized system and includes the following hardware devices for detection: an Elta Ground Master Ground Systems Radar, or GSR, an STS-1400 GSR, L3 AN/PRS-9 BAIS Unattended Ground Sensors and five "Shot Spotters," sensors designed to detect direct or indirect enemy gunfire.
For assessment and identification, a series of 11 cameras are strategically aligned to cover a 360-degree view, including electro-optical/infra-red, low-light perimeter and Forward-Looking Infra-Red, or FLIR, HRC-X all-weather day and night thermal cameras; two of the cameras, a laser rangefinder and a GSR are rotatable atop a 10-meter mast.
Eight white and infra-red perimeter lights are included for night operations, two PRI Trap 250s are employed for defending and two laptops with two larger displays are included for command and control.
The radar on top of the mast can detect people at distances up to 10 kilometers and vehicles out to 20 kilometers. Also, Kraken has a second mid-range GSR which scans a full 360 degrees every second and is engineered to interface with video cameras, ground sensors and remote weapons applications. Kraken also contains a laser pointer/illuminator.
The cameras, radar and lights are fortified by seismic/acoustic sensors, infra-red or magnetic sensors engineered with sophisticated algorithms designed to identify targets such as enemy personnel or vehicles based on combined seismic and acoustic signatures.
Powered by a 10-kilowatt Tactical Quiet Generator, Kraken's two remote weapons stations can accommodate an M249 Semi-Automatic Weapon or an M240 machine gun.
Kraken's sensors and weapons are combined into a single, integrated system that can scan surrounding terrain for threats, alert Soldiers of potential imminent danger and provide them fires to respond. The individual technologies assembled for the Kraken are integrated through a government-owned, scalable and open architecture software called Joint Force Protection Advanced Security System, or JFPASS.
The JFPASS software enables data from all of Kraken's system components to be integrated via a standard protocol, fused and conditionally automated; the information is displayed on screens showing a Common Operating Picture, referred to as COP.
Kraken represents a partnership between the U.S. Army's Rapid Equipping Force and JPMG (Joint Project Manager Guardian). Specifically, it was co-developed by the Office of the Secretary of Defense Physical Security Equipment Action Group and the Joint Program Executive Office-Chemical and Biological Defense, with oversight by the Rapid Fielding Directorate, Director Defense Research & Engineering to address the issue of forces being at risk because current technologies, concept of operations, and policies do not provide a comprehensive, effective, and sustainable force-protection capability.
The U.S. DoD Joint Force Protection Advanced Security System (JFPASS) Joint Capability Technology Demonstration (JCTD) provides a real-time, integrated / interoperable, comprehensive land and maritime-based regional and local Force Protection (FP) system to counter threats. This is a precedent-setting solution to Joint FP that is sponsored by a Joint Science & Technology organization, the DoD Physical Security Equipment Action Group. The JFPASS JCTD integrates Physical Security and Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear, and Explosive systems through the application of an integrated Command and Control architecture and a fusion engine.
The next step for Kraken should be enhancing the platform to encompass larger areas of responsibility, linking up multi-service systems -- so that Air Force planes, for instance, can relay information to ground units seamlessly and accurately.
"While the sensor and device payload is impressive and probably offers the most force protection per cubic foot compared to any other system, the key is the integration standard, fusion and automation which reduces troop to task and provides increased situational awareness -- thus resulting in more reaction time for the warfighter," said Tom O'Neill, U.S. Integrated Base Defense Product director, Joint Project Manager Guardian.
"We've been able to positively identify targets before they got in range with weapons on our COP. They have tried to raid us multiple times, but we have been able to positively identify them and engage them before they got close. This is great for tracking the people coming in and out of your AO," said Pvt. James Benham, a forward observer who has been evaluating Kraken/COSFPS in a series of mock-combat exercises at a WSMR "Mountain Village" outpost.
"Kraken's six-kilometer continuous sweep can detect anything the size of a head -- including rabbits, deer or birds," Benham said. "The system also has an option where you can emplace sensor overlays. If I get a hit on a sensor, I am able to instantly slew my cameras to that location."