Сюжет "Бури в пустыне-2" (рассказик такой смешной) принимает реальные очертания
Military palmtop to cut collateral damage
19:35 09 March 02
Exclusive from New Scientist Print Edition
In the Afghanistan and Kosovo conflicts, military mistakes led to
air strikes against the wrong buildings, against civilians or on
friendly forces. One cause of such tragedies is misinformation
from the battlefield - perhaps because troops transmit the wrong
target coordinates, or are simply misheard.
To address the problem, the Pentagon has commissioned a
new battlefield targeting system based on a raft of sensing and
communications technologies, controlled by a hand-held Pocket
PC. It will go into service with US Special Forces in 2003.
The super-palmtop will combine laser rangefinding, GPS
satellite positioning, a satellite phone and text messaging.
Called JEDI, or Joint Expeditionary Digital Information, the
system will be controlled by Microsoft's Windows-CE operating
The Pentagon wants JEDI to help simplify the way soldiers send
target coordinates and other vital information from the battlefield
to control centres. "It has to be designed so it's easy to use,"
says Peter Batcheller of Booz Allen Hamilton, the technology
development company based in McLean, Virginia, that created
the system. "Troops can't call up an IT desk if it goes wrong."
JEDI is used in conjunction with laser rangefinding binoculars. A
soldier spotting a target vehicle will use the binoculars to get a
reading on its position, speed and direction of travel. This data
is then collected by the Pocket PC, while the soldier identifies
the type of vehicle by pointing to simple icons on the screen.
The palmtop codes the information into a short text message,
which it sends via the Iridium satellite mobile phone system to a
forward headquarters or to a waiting attack aircraft.
This is both more accurate and quicker than the current way of
working, which relies on soldiers calling in the coordinates by
radio and describing targets verbally. Slow response speeds
can cause problems.
For example, fast-moving mobile rocket launchers can be
missed by strike aircraft because they have gone by the time
the attacker gets to the scene. "It can take as much as 30
seconds to a minute to get a message for a target with the
current voice system," says Batcheller.
12 second reboot
In recent US Army tests, JEDI target messages were sent and
received in as little as 3 seconds. Its simple, icon-based
software also reduces the risk of inaccurate information being
called in, cutting the chances of attacks on the wrong target.
If the Windows-based machine crashes, says Batcheller, it can
be rebooted within 12 seconds. But can a Pocket P - -more at
home in a Starbucks coffee bar than on the battlefield - handle
JEDI is a lot more robust, he says. To test quite how much the
gadget can take, the Army had a game of football using a JEDI
as the ball - and it worked just fine afterwards.