Surface Forces: August 6, 2003


The use of a suicide bomb against the USS Cole in 2000 finally motivated the U.S. Navy to take port security more seriously. A careful examination of the security situation revealed that the major problem was information, coordination and the speed of response. After several years of work, the navy is rolling out IROS3 (Integrated Radar Optical Surveillance and Sighting System). Using many inexpensive video and night vision cameras, along with ships radar, to constantly acquire information on what's going on all around the ship, and making all of it available to one sailor manning a single console. The console operator also has control over the automatic cannons that are normally used for final defense against cruise missiles. Any sailors standing watch with weapons are also reachable by the console operator. The system can link sensors and weapons on other ships as well as those ashore. The IROS3 software emphasizes speed in detecting intruders and immediately sharing that information with other ships or shore stations in the network. This thus provides a wide, and layered, defense for ships in port. IROS3 is still undergoing tests. 


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