Marines test mixed reality ‘remote maintenance’ for battlefield repairs

Marines test mixed reality ‘remote maintenance’ for battlefield repairs

WASHINGTON — The Marine Corps is experimenting with mixed reality to use “remote maintenance” to connect expert technicians and Marines in the field repairing complex equipment.

Brigadier General Michael McWilliams, head of Marine Corps Logistics Command, told an audience at the Modern Marine Expo here Wednesday that the experiment began in March with units of the 2nd Marine Logistics Group, commanded by Marines at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. he said.

“The impact this has on the entire force is tremendous,” McWilliams said.

The move comes as the Corps seeks to push out smaller, more autonomous teams in the Pacific and other regions. And if something breaks, it’s up to the Marines on hand to fix it.

McWilliams said the plan is to promote remote maintenance operations throughout the unit at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, through the summer, and then expand to the entire Marine Corps.

By bringing depot-level experts on weapons systems and other equipment to work with Marines in the field, Maj. Gen. Keith Reventlow can deploy equipment where it’s needed most, without having to send it back to the depot for repair. He added that it can be put into operation.

Marines use mixed reality goggles worn by mechanics and technicians. That way, each person can “see” the same view, and experts can walk Marines through troubleshooting and repairing items, Reventlow said.

However, Reventlow pointed out that the Marine Corps is not the first to conduct remote maintenance. The Army has been assisting Ukrainian maintenance personnel during the war with Russia to repair systems at or near the front lines using remote connections.

The Navy also began testing remote maintenance for aircraft carriers in 2020, the U.S. Naval Research Institute reported at the time.

And in the conflict logistics environment in which Marines are expected to fight, sending supplies back may not be an option.

Obtaining repair parts and supplies to Marines is similarly difficult.

In recent years, the Corps has shifted its targeting and attack methods from “kill chains,” a linear step process of finding, tracking, targeting, and destroying a threat, to “kill webs,” which involve multiple shooters and sensors via a web. is moving to. For example, optimize your network to optimize the best weapon to attack your intended target.

“It’s like Amazon on steroids, and it’s deadly,” Brigadier General said.Gen. Philip Frietze, Assistant Deputy Commander for Combat Development and Integration

Logistics leaders are taking the same approach, but with beans, bullets, bandages and blood.

In 2023, when Frietze took command of the 1st Marine Logistics Group in the Pacific, the unit would build a sustainment network stretching from Darwin, Australia to the Philippines, using commercial, military, U.S. and partner supply points in the region. It was constructed.

Frietze said the website is currently sourcing emergency blood supplies locally rather than from outside the area.

At the same time, the web concept is aided by connecting data across the inventory, Frietze said.

Marines no longer go to their company’s gunnery sergeant to list their resupply needs, fill out requisition forms, and move up the chain of command unit by unit.

The Gunny is now equipped with a tablet that automatically supplies troops with the supplies they need and routes requests to the best suppliers on the web, similar to the “kill web” concept.

Todd South has written about crime, courts, government, and the military for multiple publications since 2004 and was a 2014 Pulitzer finalist for his co-authored project on witness intimidation. Todd is a veteran of the Iraq War.

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