Currently, logisticians have no way of knowing if a weapon is dropped or subjected to temperature extremes unless it is manually tracked and logged. If there were a device that could monitor these environmental conditions and provide munitions professionals a truly accurate picture of the health and status of a weapon, the warfighter would be at a huge advantage. They need a device that can monitor these conditions not only in the depot, but as the weapon transits from the factory to the field — and all points in between.
Raytheon’s Autonomic Tracking and Response System (ATaRS) can do all of this. It is roughly the size of a mobile phone, weighs less than a pound, and can be inserted into munitions storage containers where it monitors environmental conditions such as temperature, humidity, shock and vibration. I think this system will be highly valuable for the warfighter.
ATaRS wirelessly transmits periodic updates to an asset management database, enabling logisticians to track the health and status of munitions and other assets throughout the life cycle of the weapon. This is data that we were never able to transmit in such a way before. Logisticians would be able to determine the health and status of munitions from a little black box instead of the current manpower-intensive inspection processes.
I don’t think ATaRS will ever receive the same press and excitement as the weapons Raytheon makes, but that’s OK by me. This little black box can extend the life cycle of weapons and give the warfighter one less thing to worry about. And at the end of the day, the only thing that really matters is helping the warfighter succeed.