Fliers scout with GIS package

The Navy is installing a geographic information system on notebook PCs in E-2C Hawkeye
early warning aircraft to overlay map data on targets in real time.

Co-pilots in two Navy squadrons started using the Joint Tactical Information
Distribution System (JTIDS) Moving Map Tactical Information Display System (JMMTIDS) in
late March, said Cmdr. Kevin T. McCarthy of Airborne Early Warning Squadron 113.

JMMTIDS overlays maps, images and 3-D digital terrain elevation data on tactical
displays. Pilots generally rely on radio reports to receive such data.

“This is a phenomenal upgrade” over previous systems the Navy has used, said
Capt. Mike Mauer, former head of the initiative. The service previously didn’t have
access to such photographic and satellite images, he said.

JMMTIDS can supply color contours of the land according to altitude, grade and incline,
and it can depict lakes, rivers and roadways, Mauer said.

The crew of the E-2C Hawkeye has used the GIS during exercises and scenario training,
McCarthy said.

Software development cost the Navy about $360,000 through a fixed-price contract with
Anzus Inc. of San Diego. The Navy will deploy JMMTIDS overseas soon, McCarthy said.

Development and deployment of JMMTIDS will be cost-effective and significantly less
expensive than other options the Navy evaluated, Mauer said.

Anzus worked with NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory to develop the software, Navy
officials said.

They used C++, Visual Basic, MapX 3.0 from MapInfo Corp. of Troy, N.Y., and a Defense
Department Global Positioning System navigation database.

Anzus also developed the diagnostic software for maintaining JMMTIDS.

MapX is a Microsoft Windows Object Linking and Embedding custom control that lets
developers embed commercial software in mapping applications.

JMMTIDS displays the real-time target data using a wireless data communications system
on the aircraft. It runs on Pentium notebooks that meet the Navy’s Information
Technology for the 21st Century initiative systems specifications.

The notebooks have 128M of RAM and run Microsoft Windows NT Workstation 4.0. Power
supply plug-ins protect computers from power spikes, service officials said.

Meanwhile, an East Coast squadron is almost ready to start using JMMTIDS, said Cmdr.
Randy Bannister of the Airborne Early Warning Wing for the Pacific Fleet.

As many as 11 squadrons could use JMMTIDS in coming months, Mauer said. “Our goal
is to make it operational” for strike warfare, air defense and combat identification,
he said.  

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