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Warfighters currently use a 10-pound handheld tablet and sensor to detect the source of radio waves they emit. Such emissions can be deadly if they are detected by an adversary.

A new system could be advantageous for both the Navy and Marine Corps because both services need to track their service members’ radio-wave omissions,

A new augmented reality-based system was designed for preventing service members from accidentally revealing their locations via electronic emissions. The system was demonstrated by a US Naval Information Warfare Center Atlantic team. 

The Spectrum Hunter system was demonstrated during an Advanced Naval Technology Exercise (ANTX) East in July in North Carolina. The capability is still in its prototype phase.

The technology is a radio frequency emission detection and localization device that uses an AR display, according to the service. It is a hands-free system which includes a geolocator receiver and a headset inside a helmet that allows warfighters to view RF waves on an augmented reality screen superimposed over heavy sunglasses.

The demonstration was the first time the system received limited field evaluation from other Navy laboratories and warfighters.

Improvements to the device’s usability are expeceted after engineers enable it with new hardware.

“We received positive feedback from the assessors as well as opportunities for growth,” said Jason Bartlett, a scientist with NIWC Atlantic. “While they were impressed with the software capabilities such as the augmented user interface, adaptability and potential for interoperability with other systems, they also pointed out the desire for increased durability and agility of the prototype.”

“Both the Navy and the Marine Corps have an own force monitoring [OFM] need,” Bartlett said, according to nationaldefensemagazine.org. “The system was initially to improve the OFM mission shipboard. One of the intended uses is for signature management to be a key element for survival in an increasingly difficult electromagnetic environment.”