Navy Brings Smartphones Aboard Carriers

By Eric Beidel
Continuing the military smartphone trend, the Office of Naval Research recently announced that deployed sailors and marines will be using the devices aboard aircraft carriers.

The service members will be able to use the phones to navigate their way around a carrier, as well as locate and track anyone on the ship in real time, officials said.

ONR has funded the Precise At-Sea Ship System for Indoor-Outdoor Navigation (PASSION) system, which uses wireless technology for internal and external surveillance of ships and aircraft. The initial concept was demonstrated on a carrier in April. Since then, researchers have shown the ability to load the technology onto a smartphone instantly, allowing users to monitor Wi-Fi signal strength and send alerts through text or email.

“An aircraft carrier has 5,000 sailors, more than 2,000 compartments, 75 aircraft and countless high-value assets,” said John Kim, ONR program officer for navigation and timekeeping. “To know where they are at all times, especially in emergency situations, is extremely beneficial.”

PASSION is being tested for Nimitz-class ships to assist with force protection, maintenance and damage-control response. Eventually the system will be put to use aboard other ships and aircraft that require crews to track personnel and property, officials said.

“We can get a map from a ship’s logistics office and then build the map on the smartphone on the fly without human interaction,” Kim said.

A final evaluation planned for next year will demonstrate how the system would work aboard a ship at sea.

Topics: Infotech, Science and Engineering Technology

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