The Navy Is Testing An Augmented Reality Gunner’s Helmet Straight Out Of ‘Star Wars’

Gear
Lt. Steven McGhan demonstrates GunnAR developed at the Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center Pacific.
Photo via DoD

This high-tech helmet looks like something torn from the inside of Tony Stark’s Iron Man armor, or maybe the gunner bay of the Millennium Falcon, but don’t be fooled: The U.S. Navy’s latest gadget could revolutionize the way American warships engage the enemy — and it’s coming to bridges sooner than you may think.


The U.S. Fleet Forces Command plans on testing the experimental new Unified Gunnery System augmented reality helmet, known as GunnAR, during the Navy’s annual Trident Warrior exercise in June, Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command, officials told Defense Systems.

The Navy has been experimenting with increasingly more complex heads-up displays for years, but the GunnAR represents a leap forward for Naval command-and-control architecture, feeding information directly from a vessel’s gunnery liaison officer and weapon system into a digestible, easy-to-analyze visual medium for a naval gunner engaging the enemy.

“The gunner’s mate has a problem when the shipboard environment is noisy or busy. There is a lot of confusion and a lot of noise when they are firing on targets,” Battlespace Exploitation of Mixed Reality Lab director Heidi Buck told C4ISR.net in January. “The gunner’s mate hears the firing commands from someone, who is hearing them from the radio, and those commands are coming from the bridge. So it’s like playing telephone with guns firing and wind blowing.”

The concept, which first received in $100,000 in prototyping funds in March 2016 and will be tested aboard the USS Bunker Hill and USS Theodore Roosevelt during Trident Warrior, was dreamed up by Lt. Robert McClenning to solve exactly the problem Buck described. From Defense Systems:

McClenning, a training officer aboard the guided-missile destroyer (DDG 101) USS Gridley, said the way the information sharing and authorization to fire is currently done--via decades-old radios and sound-powered phones–is hard to hear the chatter over the din of machine guns and through the required ear protection.

His concept, GunnAR, is an AR overlay placed onto helmets manufactured by industry partner, DAQRI, an AR technology company based in Los Angeles, California. SSC Pacific and DAQRI have entered a collaborative research and development agreement to further explore and develop this technology, Navy officials said.

The Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center Pacific first unveiled the GunnAR for Office of Naval Research officials and weapons industry representatives last December, and scientists recently showed off the GunnAR system at the 2017 WEST exposition in San Diego in February. But with testing by battle-hardened sailors and Marines under real-world circumstances during Trident Warrior in June, Buck guaranteed that the Navy would observe a “more mature capability” soon enough.

The FBI is treating the recent shooting at Naval Air Station Pensacola, Florida, as a terrorist attack, several media outlets reported on Sunday.

"We work with the presumption that this was an act of terrorism," USA Today quoted FBI Agent Rachel Rojas as saying at a news conference.

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"Kim Jong Un is too smart and has far too much to lose, everything actually, if he acts in a hostile way. He signed a strong Denuclearization Agreement with me in Singapore," Trump said on Twitter, referring to his first summit with Kim in Singapore in 2018.

"He does not want to void his special relationship with the President of the United States or interfere with the U.S. Presidential Election in November," he said.

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(U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Vaughan Dill/Released)

The three sailors whose lives were cut short by a gunman at Naval Air Station Pensacola, Florida, on Friday "showed exceptional heroism and bravery in the face of evil," said base commander Navy Capt. Tim Kinsella.

Ensign Joshua Kaleb Watson, Airman Mohammed Sameh Haitham, and Airman Apprentice Cameron Scott Walters were killed in the shooting, the Navy has announced.

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The Pentagon has a credibility problem that is the result of the White House's scorched earth policy against any criticism. As a result, all statements from senior leaders are suspect.

We're beyond the point of defense officials being unable to say for certain whether a dog is a good boy or girl. Now we're at the point where the Pentagon has spent three days trying to knock down a Wall Street Journal story about possible deployments to the Middle East, and they've failed to persuade either the press or Congress.

The Wall Street Journal reported on Wednesday that the United States was considering deploying up to 14,000 troops to the Middle East to thwart any potential Iranian attacks. The story made clear that President Trump could ultimately decide to send a smaller number of service members, but defense officials have become fixated on the number 14,000 as if it were the only option on the table.

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This article originally appeared on Business Insider.

SIMI VALLEY, Calif. – Gen. David Berger, the US Marine Corps commandant, suggested the concerns surrounding a service members' use of questionable Chinese-owned apps like TikTok should be directed against the military's leadership, rather than the individual troops.

Speaking at the Reagan National Defense Forum in Simi Valley, California, on Saturday morning, Berger said the younger generation of troops had a "clearer view" of the technology "than most people give them credit for."

"That said, I'd give us a 'C-minus' or a 'D' in educating the force on the threat of even technology," Berger said. "Because they view it as two pieces of gear, 'I don't see what the big deal is.'"

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