Exceeding Expectations:

Air Force and Army researchers and engineers linked arms recently to improve the interface between USAF tactical air control party airmen and the Army ground troops they support by testing a wireless network cursor on target computer architecture and a voice command target coordinate system. Working with the Army at Ft. Dix, N.J., were technologists from the Air Force Research Lab’s Human Effectiveness Directorate and Aeronautical Systems Center’s Special Operations Forces Systems Group. They were able to transfer data directly from Army squad or platoon-leader computers to TACP computers, enabling the TACPs to provide faster, more accurate targeting information to close air support aircraft. David Darkow, an ASC senior technical advisor, said that the use of the voice command system enabled soldiers and TACPs to keep their heads up during operations and dramatically cut time for target coordination. According to Darkow, “Data entry tasks that took 15 minutes were reduced to about 90 seconds.” Philip Brandler, director of the Army’s Natick Soldier Center at Ft. Dix., said the cooperation between Army and Air Force elements “exceeded my expectations” and he’s looking for even “more impressive innovations” in the future.