Kraken provides intelligence and force protection
By Dialogo September 16, 2011
The U.S. Army is evaluating a cutting-edge force-protection system which combines radar, surveillance cameras, unmanned sensors, gunshot detection and remote-controlled weapons.
The 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, service officials said.
The Combat Outpost Surveillance and Force Protection System (COSFPS), nicknamed “Kraken” after the mythological sea creature with many heads, was evaluated in July as part of the U.S. Army’s 3,800-soldier-strong Network Integration Evaluation (NIE). The exercise was designed to assess and integrate a host of technologies.
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 (JFPASS).
“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, Integrated Base Defense Product director, Joint Project Manager Guardian.
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 (COP).
“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 area AO [Area of Operation],” said Pvt. James Benham, a forward observer who has been evaluating Kraken/COSFPS in a series of mock-combat exercises at a White Sands Missile Range “Mountain Village” outpost in New Mexico.
“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.”
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, Benham said.
“The remote weapon’s stations have night capabilities with a thermal digital zoom,” he added.
Kraken – which is described as an instantiation of the JFPASS software – was begun as part of a US$ 30-million Joint Capability Technology Demonstration, O’Neill explained.
Initial fielding of the Kraken is planned for the first quarter of fiscal year 2012, O’Neill added.