Chapter III. Technology Transition
Army Science and Technology Master Plan (ASTMP 1997)


1. Technology Transition

The basic strategy of the Army Science and Technology Program is to transition technology into operational systems to be prepared for future conflict. Because of significant changes in the world security environment over the past several years, the Army is currently focusing on building a smaller, power projection Army. This "new" Army will capitalize on America's technologies to improve critical areas of development such as protecting the individual soldier and improving battlefield mobility and information management.

Key to this strategy are the Technology Demonstrations (TDs), Advanced Technology Demonstrations (ATDs), and Advanced Concept Technology Demonstrations (ACTDs) that exploit technologies derived from applied research (6.2), which in turn build on new knowledge derived from basic research (6.1) programs. These TDs, ATDs, and ACTDs provide the basis for new systems, system upgrades, or advanced concepts which are further out in time. The critical challenge is to tie these programs together in an efficient and effective way.

Technology demonstrations are not new. What is new is the scope and depth of the technology demonstrations, the increased importance of their role in the acquisition process, and the increased emphasis on user involvement to permit an early and meaningful evaluation of overall military capability. The following sections provide an explanation of TDs, ATDs, and ACTDs, as well as Systems/System Upgrades and Advanced Concepts.

a. Technology Demonstrations

The primary focus of technology demonstrations is to demonstrate the feasibility and practicality of a technology for solving specific military deficiencies. They are incorporated during the various stages of the 6.2 and 6.3 development process and encourage technical competition. They are most often conducted in a non-operational (lab or field) environment. These demonstrations provide information that reduces uncertainties and subsequent engineering costs, while simultaneously providing valuable development and requirements data.

b. Advanced Technology Demonstrations (ATDs) - Current

Within each Army Mission Area, specific ATDs are being structured to meet established goals. Detailed roadmaps to guide their progress are being developed, as well as exit criteria to define their goals. ATDs are risk reducing, integrated, "proof of principle" demonstrations designed to assist near-term system developments in satisfying specific operational capability needs. The ATD approach has been promoted by the Defense Science Board and the Army Science Board as a means of accelerating the introduction of new technologies into operational systems. They are principally funded with advanced technology development (6.3) funds. ATDs facilitate the integration of proposed technologies into full system demonstration/validation (6.4) or engineering and manufacturing development (6.5) prototype systems. As such, they provide the link between the technology developer, program manager, program executive officer, and the Army user. The criteria for establishing an ATD are:

The Army currently has 23 ATDs which have been approved by the Army Science and Technology Working Group (ASTWG). These ATDs are identified in Table III-B-1, along with the primary Army Mission Area each supports. All ATDs are discussed in the applicable Chapter III section. More detailed information including exit criteria for each ATD can be found in Volume II, Annex B. Science and Technology Objectives (STOs) for each ATD are located in Volume II, Annex A.

Table III-B-1. Current Advanced Technology Demonstration

c. Advanced Technology Demonstrations (ATDs) -- Completed

Seven ATDs were successfully completed in FY96. Table III-B-2 provides details on the results of these ATDs, addressing the product, warfighting capability, and transition of the technology. Additionally, a brief description of these ATDs follows:

Table III-B-2. Completed Advanced Technology Demonstrations

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Advanced Airdrop for Land Combat ATD (93-96). This ATD demonstrated the Guided Parafoil Air Delivery System (GPADS), an autonomously guided, high altitude, offset airdrop system for precision delivery of military equipment, vehicles, and supplies. The GPADS provides the warfighter with a new capability--the ability to autonomously deliver payloads weighing up to 21 tons accurately (within 100 meters of the target) and from high altitudes (25,000 feet) and offset distances (12 miles). This capability greatly increases both the survivability of the delivery aircraft and the accuracy of the delivery, thus increasing time to operational readiness on the drop zone and the likelihood of mission success. The new technologies leveraged included ultra-large ram-air canopy designs, staged-reefing, and opening techniques; automated guidance and control on non-powered gliding accelerators; and automated soft landings.

Advanced Image Intensification (AI2) ATD (93-96). This ATD demonstrated the next generation of night vision goggles, which enhance operational effectiveness/safety and reduce pilot workload. The AI2 ATD exploited technology advanced in display and intensifier technologies, image intensification, optics, and human factors research. The results of this ATD were to provide significantly increased visual acuity and field of view, integrated symbology, and improved user interface.

Bistatic Radar for Weapons Location ATD (91-96). This ATD employed bistatic radar (transmitter and receiver are physically separated) techniques to detect and track mortars, artillery, and rockets for the purpose of weapons location and classification (for counterfire) and fire registration (for battle damage assessment). Bistatic radar provides significant advantages over conventional monostatic radars, as indicated by the following: the covert passive receiver is difficult to locate and/or jam, is immune to Anti-Radiation Missile threat, and provides significantly enhanced crew survivability; its superior size and weight distribution provides improved mobility; high performance with respect to target throughput, electronic counter- countermeasures, multiple mode, and multiple mission operation is more affordable; there are more deployment options; and surveillance volume can be better tailored to the non-linear battlefield.

Combined Arms Command and Control ATD (CAC2) (93-96). The CAC2 ATD developed and demonstrated C2 functionality and shared situational awareness for brigade and below, including Armor, Aviation, Mounted Forces, and Fire Support. The ATD used a series of simulations to establish operational concepts. Initially, the focus was on the capability of the Bradley Fighting Vehicles, tanks, and attack rotorcraft to share a common battlefield picture. The ATD then expanded upon Combat Vehicle C2/Intervehicular Information System technology bringing in C2 contributions and needs from other combined arms elements. Simulation, modeling, and rapid prototyping of both the C2 functions and communications requirements was then integrated into Battlefield Distributed Simulation -Developmental (BDS-D) for user evaluation and evolution. Subsequent simulations linked fire support target reporting and handover, followed by hot bench testing of the concepts. The ATD concluded in FY96 with a field demonstration and a combined demonstration with the Battlefield Combat Identification ATD.

Crewman's Associate ATD (93-96). The Crewman's Associate ATD was a coordinated program involving several AMC MSCs, laboratories, and PM Abrams which demonstrated, through modeling and soldier-in-the-loop virtual simulation, advanced crew station concepts. The Crewman's Associate provided the embedded weapon system with a gateway to the digital battlefield by developing crew stations with user-friendly interfaces, movement-friendly input devices and automation. Technologies included helmet-mounted displays, programmable display push-buttons, three-dimensional audio, voice-activated controls, and expert systems. The Crewman's Associate crew stations increase the warfighter's situational awareness and increase the ability to operate and fight on the move. Crew stations also enable soldiers to quickly understand and easily react to the increased volume of data available from the advanced sensors and digital C2 system of Force XXI.

Off-Route Smart Mine Clearance (ORSMC) (94-96). This ATD demonstrated countermeasure techniques to neutralize off-route smart mines and focused on defeating smart mines, such as side attack. Advances in sensor and digital signal processing technologies have resulted in the development of a family of mines capable of identifying and attacking targets from ranges of several hundred meters. ORSMC provides the capability to neutralize this threat by using a remotely controlled vehicle to emulate the acoustic and seismic signatures of combat vehicles and spoof the mines into a premature launch. A low observable suite for vehicle protection against mines was also developed as part of the ATD. ORSMC enhances the survivability of combat and logistical vehicles in situations ranging from breaching operations to logistical resupply of heavy and light forces.

Remote Sentry ATD (93-96). This ATD demonstrated a compact, lightweight, affordable, integrated multisensor system capable of being implanted behind enemy lines to provide day/night, adverse weather, unmanned surveillance, and targeting information. Data is transmitted to friendly weapons platforms using smart data compression techniques. The system provides integrated, low cost imaging, which includes an uncooled thermal imager and TV as well as acoustic and other target cueing and position/location sensors.

d. Advanced Concept Technology Demonstrations (ACTDs)

The ACTD is an integrating effort to assemble and demonstrate a significant, new military capability, based upon maturing advanced technology(s), in a real-time operation at a scale adequate to clearly establish operational utility and system integrity. ACTDs are jointly sponsored and implemented by the operational user and materiel development communities, with approval and oversight guidance from the Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Advanced Technology (DUSD/AT).

The ACTD concept is a cornerstone in a procurement strategy that relies on prototyping and demonstration programs to maintain the U.S. military technological edge in the face of declining procurement budgets. ACTDs are a more mature phase of the ATDs. They are two- to four-year efforts in which new weapons and technologies are developed, prototyped, and then tested by the soldiers in the field for up to two years before being procured. This 2-year residual capability is a unique attribute of an ACTD.

ACTDs are not new programs, but tend to be a combination of previously identified ATDs, TDs, or concepts already begun. They include high level management and oversight to transform disparate technology development efforts conducted by the various military services into prototype systems that can be tested and eventually fielded. The ACTD becomes the last step in determining whether the military needs and can afford the new technology.