Navy-Marine Exercise Tests New Communications Gear

By Kennedy, Harold | National Defense, July/August 1999 | Go to article overview

Navy-Marine Exercise Tests New Communications Gear


Kennedy, Harold, National Defense


The U.S. Navy and Marine Corps are still completing their formal analysis, but preliminary findings are positive: Recent joint exercises conducted, in part, to test new technology selected to enhance the services' ability to operate littorally-meaning along shorelines-- and project power inland appear to have been successful, officials said.

More than 15 ships and 12,000 sailors and Marines this spring participated in "Exercise Kernel Blitz 99" along the coast of Southern California. The exercise was staged by elements of the Navy's Third Fleet, based in San Diego; the First Marine Expeditionary Force, at Camp Pendleton, and the Third Marine Aircraft Wing, headquartered at nearby Miramar.

The exercise was part of the Navy and Marine Corps' ongoing effort to improve their ability to operate in coastal regions of the world, where 70 percent of all humans live, mostly in urban areas. The services are training for a wide range of operations, including humanitarian assistance, disaster relief, peace keeping, peace enforcement, and traditional armed engagements.

Kernel Blitz included a technology demonstration called "Extending the Littoral Battlespace" or "Littoral Lightning." This demonstration was set up to field test the military utility of more than half a dozen cutting-edge technologies-many of them commercial, off-the-shelf products, such as digital, hand-held radios, palmtop computers and Global Positioning Satellite (GPS) equipment.

During the demonstration, these technologies were used to create a wireless, over-the-horizon network of digital data, voice and video linking individual Marines on the ground to the Third Fleet flagship, the USS Coronado, and Marine air units as far away as 300 miles inland. …

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