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    Navy and Marine Corps Conduct First-of-its-Kind Reconnaissance near Okinawa

    In early June, Naval Facilities Engineering and Expeditionary Warfare Center (NAVFAC EXWC), 3rd Marine Logistics Group, Naval Mobile Construction Battalion FOUR (NMCB 4), and Underwater Construction Team TWO traveled to Ukibaru Island east of Okinawa to conduct a three-dimensional expeditionary reconnaissance—known as Poseidon Watchtower.

    Led by NMCB 4, the Poseidon Watchtower Exercise aimed to test and evaluate concepts for conflict contingency plans drafted by the Department of the Navy (DON).

    During the reconnaissance, Sailors and Marines used state-of-the-art LiDAR (light distance and ranging) equipment and bathymetry [depth] sensing equipment currently employed by Naval Expeditionary Combat Command’s (NECC) to evaluate tactics, techniques, and procedures when using remote sensing technologies. The remote sensing technologies generate accurate, three-dimensional geometry terrain and bathymetry models used to inform pier and airfield operations planning, collaboration, and decision-making process across the Navy and joint-engineering forces.

    Today, Navy port and airfield damage assessments are human-in-the-loop dependent, prone to human error, and can be very dangerous to conduct due to the location of the assessment and the amount of physical time required to complete assessments.

    After arriving on island, Sailors used the LiDAR to scan all areas of interest throughout the island, and noted any discrepancies between the satellite imagery and actual island terrain. Simultaneously, teams pulled accurate distance and elevations of the topography from the three-dimensional models captured by the LiDAR.

    The basic principal of LiDAR works similarly to sonar, where infrared light is emitted from the device and reflects off surrounding objects, and then returns to the device. By understanding how quickly the speed of light travels, the device can determine and record the distance of physical features of natural objects such as terrain, vegetation, man-made topographies such as existing roadways, port and airfield infrastructure. The device also carries a global positioning system which provides a geo-rectification (the process when a raster image is linked to coordinate system so that it can be accurately located on a map) for each point of data of the surroundings captured. In the near future, reconnaissance efforts like Ukibaru Island will offer the Fleet the ability to rapidly scan, render and publish site-specific data in a three-dimensional virtual environment using geospatial engineering equipment.

    Expeditionary three-dimensional virtual assessments provide Navy expeditionary and joint-engineering stakeholders an ability to escalate warfighter readiness by increasing the speed, efficiency and quality of site survey data collections that can rapidly communicate “know before you go” information. This information is then utilized by combatant commanders on spatial constraints, providing opportunities to utilize expeditionary sites to support expeditionary refuel, rearm, resupply, revive and repair operations.

    “NAVFAC EXWC, specifically the Expeditionary Programs Office, is partnering with NECC to meet the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command’s challenge to drive innovation and agility into warfighting logistics and engineering practices, and transition affordable and sustainable digital technologies to improve ways to rapidly connect people, ideas and information on a naval and joint-engineering enterprise-wide level,” said Alexander Viana, NAVFAC EXWC Expeditionary Senior Project Manager, Systems Engineering Division.

    In the near future, reconnaissance efforts like Poseidon Watchtower will offer the Fleet the ability to rapidly scan, render and publish site-specific data in a three-dimensional virtual environment using geospatial engineering equipment. Conducting a reconnaissance using remote sensing technology such as LiDAR, sonar and photogrammetry will minimize the redundancies for both travel and data, and will reduce the overall size of survey teams (which mitigates the need for additional troops to deploy), and provides both an affordable and suitable digital foundation for future model-based systems engineering requirements to support warfighting capabilities.

    “NAVFAC EXWC is on the cutting edge of adapting fleet integrated technologies,” said Petty Officer 2nd Class James Kuntz. “By placing these technologies into the hands of our Sailors, it greatly enhances the warfighters ability to support the fleet’s expeditionary needs. It takes exercises like Ukibaru Island to showcase the benefit of these technologies as they pertain to future fleet use—I know this because of the current expeditionary capabilities NAVFAC EXWC is generating across the DON. This command [NAVFAC EXWC] is more than capable of bringing its leadership and experience to the table both now and in the future, as the need for fleet integrated technologies expands to protect our nation from our adversaries.”


    About Naval Facilities Engineering Systems Command, Engineering and Expeditionary Warfare Center (NAVFAC EXWC):
    NAVFAC EXWC is a command of more than 1,300 dedicated federal employees, contractors, and military personnel who provide science, research, development, testing, evaluation, specialized engineering, and mobile logistics capabilities to deliver sustainable facility and pragmatic expeditionary solutions to the warfighter.

    For more news from NAVFAC EXWC, please visit or visit us on Facebook @NAVFACEXWC



    Date Taken: 07.27.2021
    Date Posted: 07.27.2021 17:19
    Story ID: 401856
    Location: OKINAWA, JP
    Hometown: PORT HUENEME, CA, US

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