The Marine Corps is acquiring a new battlefield situational awareness system—which
can be used both for combat and for training—to protect dismounted forces
The Combat Situational Awareness System (CSAS) could be used by Marines, soldiers
and special operations forces. The program is managed by the Army Simulation,
Training and Instrumentation Command.
Twelve CSAS prototypes were delivered recently to the Marine Corps Warfighting
Laboratory. The lab will use the systems to evaluate future Marine combat identification
and situational awareness needs.
The technology helps track and record training events and dismounted personnel
position location and status in near real time. It also provides an automated,
portable after-action review capability.
In addition to helping reduce fratricide, CSAS is expected to enhance en-route
mission planning rehearsal and the capability to identify, track, engage and
assess results against non-line of sight targets. The CSAS would improve training
fidelity, soldier safety and survivability for both live training and combat.
It also eliminates the logistics associated with having separate training and
combat systems. CSAS is compatible with both Miles 2000 and Miles XXI laser-engagement
instrumentation systems currently used in training exercises.
A second-generation CSAS is in advanced stages of development and is intended
to provide remote situational awareness capability for U.S. special operations
The CSAS program leveraged technology from the Lightweight Player Detection
Devices (LPDD), also an Army STRICOM program.
The CSAS combines radio-frequency, laser, ultra-wideband and digital Internet
communication technologies to achieve battlefield situational awareness with
global reach via satellite and ground communications.
The current generation of CSAS relies on off-the-shelf technologies, such as
portable rugged laptop computers, range and communication instrumentation tracking
and reporting systems.
The software allows the users to observe select training events or portions
of events. For example, they may view only fratricide events, vehicle events
or troops of different rank. The second-generation architecture will support
close air support operations. This makes the system attractive for embedded
A separate research and development effort is pending with the U.S. Air Force
Modeling and Instrumentation Agency to develop a Miles Instrumentation Transmitter
to ensure that the CSAS is interoperable with existing dismounted, ground vehicle
and airborne platforms. This will permit continued use of the Miles equipment.
The CSAS is developed and manufactured by a team led by Boeing, which also
includes Accu-Counter Inc., DRS Technologies, RapiTec Inc., Megaxess Inc., Time
Domain Corporation and Digital Wireless Corporation.—by Ron Henderson,
resource manager at Boeing Space & Communications, Orlando, Fla.