Army matches industry's wares

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — The show floor at the Association of the U.S. Army's winter symposium is always loaded with some of the most cutting-edge information technology, weapons, vehicle and aircraft displays.

But in addition to the likes of Lockheed Martin Corp. and Northrop Grumman Corp. showing off their array of products and solutions, this year's Army displays were equally high-tech.

Retired Army Gen. Gordon Sullivan, AUSA's president, said he is not surprised. "It's a convergence of thinking over the last 10 to 12 years," Sullivan said. "The Army displays are very encouraging.... [We] see the technology, doctrine and leadership development pieces all start to come together."

The Army's Training and Doctrine Command had displays and virtual reality-like demonstrations that focused on planning, operations, rehearsal, and training and simulations. It also featured the latest information on its University of IT.

The Army Materiel Command's displays and simulations had graphics that looked like the latest video games, and included:

* The vision dome — a virtual reality theater that enabled the audience to see future vehicles and weapons systems in development.

* Omni-directional inspection system — a low-profile robot that maneuvers under vehicles and is used for homeland defense missions.

Also on display were unmanned ground combat vehicles, including a hybrid electric model, from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency.

Despite the increasing numbers of Army personnel deployed worldwide, Sullivan said attendance and the number of displays at this year's show were both up from last year.

"It's worked and that's attributed to the leadership of the Army," Sullivan said. "This is viewed as a meaningful week in the life cycle of these organizations and it will continue to be so."

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