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The Mobile Detection Assessment Response System surveys the area around the Combat Center's Expeditionary Airfield, Feb. 6, 2014. The MDARS can be equipped with weapon systems and can be adapted to the needs of the Air Base Ground Defense.

Photo by Cpl. D. J. Wu

SPAWAR system provides security for Marines

6 Feb 2014 | Cpl. D. J. Wu Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms

Marines with Marine Wing Support Squadron 374 conducted Air Base Ground Defense training during their evolution of the Integrated Training Exercise with the help of a new unmanned ground device, the Mobile Detection Assessment Response System, Feb 6, 2014.

The MDARS, developed by the Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command, or SPAWAR, lends support for the ABGD with either user-operated or autonomous controls. It patrols its environment and constantly surveys the area for possible threats.

Though the SPAWAR team only spent a few days at the Combat Center during the ITX, they were able to demonstrate the MDARS’ capabilities for the Marine Aircraft Group 13 and MWSS-374 Marines.

“The system works really well in notifying my Marines if activity is detected,” said 1st Lt. Erin Mahonney, platoon commander, MWSS-374. “We had an unknown enemy in the area and I got to see what the system was capable of. I definitely saw what this system could be and how it can help us.”

The MDARS sees just as well at night as it does during the day. The system has an assortment of sensors, cameras and radar that can trigger a response on its own to alert the operator.

The goal of this new semi-autonomous system is to keep service members safe without sacrificing the security of an area. Although the vehicle is not meant for combat, it can be fitted with a variety of weapon systems to make it more capable of engaging potential combatants if necessary.

“MWSS-374 saw the interest in the system and wanted to see it fielded during ITX,” said Pat Culliton, project manager, Force Protection Systems. “We’re fielding the system here and showing what it can do for the ABGD.”

The SPAWAR team fielded two MDARS vehicles during ITX, one with weapons and one without. Both units were able to affectively assist in providing security around the airfield. They were able to detect enemy movements and deter advancement onto the airfield.
Despite the MDARS system’s limited involvement during the ITX, the SPAWAR team was able to showcase it’s capabilities and demonstrate how it can be utilized in an Air Base Grand Defense.

Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms