Since 9/11, much of the nation’s diminished sense of safety led government officials to toughen homeland security using new measures of policy, procedure, and technology. As for the latter, Saalex Solutions, Inc., in partnership with the U.S. Army, has just completed the acceptance testing of a prototype system known as the Multi-Spectral Ground Truth Monitoring System or MSGTMS.
Unlike other remote or unattended ground sensors (UGS or “Ugh”), the MSGTMS is not itself a long-standing system, but a system’s analyzer for measuring the performance and reliability of other UGS devices. As such, the MSGTMS must surpass the minimum performance standards of other systems and provide a record of data to be collected during side-by-side test operations.
How does it work? In many respects, the MSGTMS behaves and performs like a full-time remote sensor device. It has all the acoustic and seismic measuring and recording instruments needed to qualify as an UGS, but is intended for short-term deployment. The hardware consists of eight sensor assemblies, one mounted camera with visible light and infrared (IR) capabilities, a weather station, and two computers installed with the necessary software for viewing data. For easy deploy-ability, a government furnished vehicle houses the two computers, while the sensor assemblies are each provided with a travel case.
The purpose of the UGS or remote sensor is to detect approaching personnel, vehicles, and weapon threats, and to alert the designated authority. It is not just a military concept. “Permanent acoustic and seismic detections are also appropriate for protecting remote installations, such as cell phone or radio towers, weather stations, fire look-outs and radars,” says Michael Ramey, Saalex/MSGTMS lead project engineer.
Saalex developers believe that the MSGTMS’s performance has the comparability to qualify other UGS systems, and the potential to stay upgraded with technology. As motion detectors and surveillance systems become more acute and reliable, the MSGTMS will need to stay on top of these developments and integrate the technology as it is improved and becomes more readily available
When asked to summarize the project, its program manager, Jeff Angcanan, had this to say: “The performance of the MSGTMS has met and exceeded the customer’s expectations. I give credit to the MSGTMS team for making this exceptional achievement happen.” The system acquires and displays the necessary target data, it is easy to use and quick to deploy, and it is largely composed of commercial-off-the-shelf products, which are easy to replace and maintain.