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U.S. Navy Tests Show Visible Assets' Readers, Tags Can Operate at Zero Safe Separation Distance to Ordnance

The results, the company reports, confirm that its RuBee tags can be installed directly on or built into explosive devices, and be combined with a variety of sensors, to help diagnose and manage the maintenance, use and decommissioning of munitions.
By Paul Prince
The Naval Surface Warfare Center's tests involved Visible Assets' Sidewinder (SW-121) and Blaster (Base-110) base stations, in conjunction with its Ranger reader antenna (RP-A351), handheld pRap reader (PRP-100) and 1T tag (TID-100-W-1T-S). "The 1T tag is our longest-range and most powerful active tag," says Stevens, who notes that the tag is currently available on the company's Web site, as model TAS-112-B-107-B.

According to a report issued by the Naval Surface Warfare Center, the RuBee base stations tested are capable of operating from power level 1 to power level 7. The highest power level was evaluated first, after which the power was decreased until a level was identified as achieving the goal of having a zero SSD from HERO Unsafe or Unreliable ordnance. Therefore, only power levels 7, 6 and 5 were evaluated.

Based on the HERO safety-evaluation test results, the report indicates, NSWCDD concludes that at power level 5, RuBee base stations with a Ranger antenna can operate safely at a zero SSD to HERO Unsafe or Unreliable ordnance, but the antenna terminals must not come in direct contact with ordnance. In addition, the pRap reader has a zero SSD from HERO Unsafe or Unreliable ordnance, and the 1T tags have no HERO restrictions. As such, NSWCDD recommends that the RuBee base stations be designed to have maximum power output at level 5. In the case of the operational use of multiple RuBee base stations with as many as two Ranger antennas, the report recommends that a minimum distance of 8 feet be maintained between two transmitting Ranger antennas in free space, as well as in confined electrically reflective spaces.

"All our products use the tested base station, Version 409, and as long as we lock down power 5, we meet HERO Zero specification," Stevens says. "This HERO Zero certification means we can be safely used in all of these SI [sensitive item] stores. We have a number of existing working installations in the U.S., at DOE, Australian Defense, and Special Forces in Abu Dhabi, UAE, but none have been HERO Zero-certified. We are starting our first HERO Zero installs as we speak, in both the Mid-East Gulf and Asia."

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