VICKSBURG, Miss. -- The U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center held a Multi-Domain Operations Joint Technology Demonstration, August 7, 2019, at the Coastal and Hydraulics Laboratory in Vicksburg, Mississippi, showcasing more than 18 ERDC MDO technologies.
The event titled, “Engineering the Theater to Win during Multi-Domain Operations – Anywhere, Anytime,” was structured around the ERDC’s role during the World War II D-Day invasion and illustrated how the organization continues to develop and deliver solutions that support the Warfighter and Department of Defense today. The exhibition demonstrated how multi-laboratory, multi-disciplinary teams can engineer solutions needed to succeed within a single domain or over multiple domain boundaries such as sea-to-land or land-to-air.
By studying the past, researchers are able to define the future. “The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ research and development mission has supported the military since World War II,” said Nick Boone, technical director at ERDC’s Geotechnical and Structures Laboratory. “Few people know that we enabled critical operations at D-Day such as the amphibious landings at Normandy.
“We continue to advance the state of the possible by developing modern methods to cross these boundaries.”
“Our flumes tested float bridges 80 years ago, and today they evaluate the limits of the Improved Ribbon Bridge,” said Dr. Ty Wamsley, director of CHL. “Today we simulate complex projects.”
ERDC simulation tools allow virtual mission rehearsal in all domains to identify operational challenges. Ship simulation gives commanders insight into the realm of the possible with regards to navigability of the landing sites, allowing them to better assess risk with more accurate Go/No-Go thresholds determined through simulation. Once on the ground, the Autonomous Navigation Virtual Environment Laboratory is an interactive, real-time engineering modeling and simulation software tool built specifically to assist in the research, design, testing and evaluation of intelligent ground vehicles.
However, simulation isn’t the only tool ERDC researchers are using. CHL researchers have developed the Mini-Robotic Submersible Dredge that provides organic capability to deepen ports or establish "duck ponds" if a beach landing location is insufficiently deep, mud-flats are encountered or world-class ports need improvement. If ports are damaged due to degradation or kinetic attack, CHL’s Multifunctional Assessment and Reconnaissance Vehicle I can provide hydro-surveys of damaged port facilities where the MARV II can navigate more rapid and rough waters potentially encountered at bridge piles or river sites. And GSL’s robotic Mine Clearing Line Charges provide unmanned capability to explosively breach minefields without placing Soldiers at risk if enemy obstacles such as minefields are emplaced to control troop movements.
ERDC researchers have also turned their eyes on the sky. “Eventually the sea and land domains will be difficult to maneuver through, so modern methods to open the air domain are needed, such as expedient airfield damage repair, sight selection of helicopter landing zones and other ways to get our forces to the fight through the air,” said Boone.
"I can’t think of any other organization that possesses the talent and capability to not only understand the problem, but to also recognize the speed needed to turn it around and provide a solution that is easily implemented in the field," said Col. Marc Hoffmeister, assistant commandant of the U.S. Army Engineer School.
Hoffmeister, along with guests from Army Futures Command (Maneuver Support, Sustainment and Intelligence); the 416th Theater Engineer Command; the 7th Transportation Brigade (Expeditionary); the British Army; the U.S. Army Program Executive Office, Combat Support & Combat Service Support; and the U.S. Marine Corps participated in discussions concerning technology gaps, joint doctrine, training and collaboration to deliver technology to the Warfighter quickly and at all levels.
“ERDC continues to deliver solutions that will help us win in Multi-Domain Operations,” said Boone. “We did it in World War II, and we know we can do it again, because we have great engineers and scientists on board to make it happen.”
“ERDC laboratory researchers can adapt their knowledge to solve problems of national interest,” said Wamsley. “We discover, develop, and deliver new ways to make the world safer and better every day.”