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Software helps put bombs on target



10/7/2003 - MAXWELL AIR FORCE BASE, GUNTER ANNEX, Ala. (AFPN) -- Since March 19, warfighters have dropped 21,300 munitions in Operation Iraqi Freedom. Tens of thousands more have been dropped or launched during Operation Enduring Freedom and that many more stand ready if and when the call comes.

To account for all the munitions the Air Force owns, ammunition troops rely on software Standard Systems Group experts here developed.

The Combat Ammunition System allows airmen to make sure the right munitions are in the right place at the right time, according to Frank Ruff, CAS program manager. CAS tracks shipments and provides planning data for warfighting scenarios while assuring that replacement munitions, whether for the security forces guarding the airplanes or the bombs being loaded on them, are ordered and delivered before they are needed.

"The system determines appropriate storage locations, assures incompatible munitions aren't stored together, and tracks net explosive weights to keep storage areas safe," Ruff said. "CAS also gives war planners the ability to play what-if exercises based on locations and availability of aircraft and munitions."

CAS not only benefits planners, but also the airmen strapping the bombs on their flying machines.

"The program is a good accountability tool, helping us keep track of requisitions, shipping and turn-ins," said Staff Sgt. Todd Davis, from the 2nd Munitions Squadron at Barksdale Air Force Base, La. "Using CAS makes our job easier and frees up time to do other jobs."

An upcoming improvement to the CAS program will soon make the users' jobs even easier, Ruff said. The upgrade moves the program onto the Web and will give worldwide visibility into the location and status of all munitions.

"Anyone with permission to view the data will be able to see where munitions are located," Ruff said. "The upgrade is also going to give the users -- the guys in the ammo dumps -- the capability to do almost all their tracking with hand-held work stations. These workstations will scan bar codes, track work orders and relay movements to eliminate dependence on paper products to direct and document daily operations."

The first phase of the upgrade was completed Sept. 30, and all bases should be loaded by January, he said. Future upgrades, released as technology and capabilities mature, will ensure the CAS program is a fully compliant, one-stop, munitions accountability and planning program, officials said. (Courtesy of Air Force Materiel Command News Service)