Warfare Center of PC Using Cutting Edge Laser Technology

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PANAMA CITY BEACH When base officials aren't blinding you with science they're on the cutting edge of laser technology.

The Naval Surface Warfare Center recently ordered three new 3D lasers to help maintain their Mine Resistant Ambush Protected Cougars, or MRAPs.

This amazing technology has only being used in a few place throughout the country.

The Naval Surface Warfare Center of Panama City calls it geometric exploitation.

The process of using this laser to capture dimensions of any three-dimensional object.

For the past 18 months, the base has been partnering with government contractor SAIC to develop 3D parametric models of MRAP Cougars for the Marine Corps, including the Cat 1, Cat 2, A 1, and A 2.

The MRAP vehicles have been used in both Iraq and Afghanistan, and each has more than 3,000 parts.

This new technology will help identify those parts for modification and continued maintenance.

NSWC-PC Project Engineer Randy Whitehead explains, "It's because of our excellent work in the past with the mine rollers, and just the customer being pleased with the work that we do in Panama City that they've come back to us, to ask us to support this work as well."

Project leaders at the Warfare Center of Panama City are so comfortable with this laser technology, they've now ordered three of their own for the base - a survey scanner, a blue light scanner, and an arm scanner.

Each laser's market value is between $80,000 to $150,000, costing the department about $250,000.

SAIC Employee Evan Hart says, "This lets you capture a lot of data really quickly, especially on more detailed parts where something like a tape measure isn't necessarily going to do the job."

The lasers work with point-cloud data.

This one contains 460,000 points on a four inch line.

It pulses sixty times per second.

A laser this complex can actually be bought just right off the shelves, and can scan anything as complicated as the MRAP we just saw, or someone's hand.

Depending on the amount of detail in the parametric models, the process could take as little as a day or up to a week.

The base believes the three-lasers will save a lot of money.