RFID Enhances Traceability of U.S. Naval Assets Returning to Repair Sites

The U.S. Navy is using Alien Technology Corp.’s (Morgan Hill, Calif.) Alien Gen2 RFID readers and tags as part of its ATAC (Advanced Traceability and Control) program. The ATAC manages the movement and tracking of Navy and U.S. Marine Corps retrograde materials from overseas back to Naval Aviation Depots and commercial vendor repair facilities in the United States.

As proven in field trials involving materials returning from Iraq, the use of RFID technology and Alien RFID products enable the Navy to substantially reduce the costs and improve the performance of its retrograde materials management operations compared to traditional barcode technology.

“The Navy’s ATAC RFID initiative demonstrates the effectiveness of advanced RFID technology in global logistics environments, and underscores how easily RFID can be leveraged for virtually any military inbound or outbound shipment process,” said Barry Holland, chief logistics officer, v.p. for operations of Science Applications International Corp. (SAIC), a Navy and DoD contractor. “Alien RFID tags and readers have been a vital part of the ATAC RFID implementation from the start and we’re please to continue to be collaborating with Alien in the production rollout.”

Each year, the Naval Inventory Control Point (NAVICP) ships more than 500,000 failed parts, worth approximately $25 billion, from locations overseas through ATAC facilities around the world, either to warehouses run by the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) or to any one of more than 100 contractors enlisted to effect repairs.

The ATAC RFID field trial implementation was conducted SAIC over a seven month period to track broken aircraft parts from the Al Asad Airbase in Iraq to ATAC facilities in Norfolk, Va., as well shipments as between ATAC facilities and the Defense Logistics Agency’s depot in Norfolk.

Alien RFID tags were applied at the item and case level and Alien RFID readers were employed to interrogate the tags and confirm the shipment and receipt of tagged items. During the trial, automated receipt information collected via RFID scanning identified 355 shipments accounting for $12.6M where no POD information was captured in the system of record.

Based on the results of this trial, the Navy’s RFID Implementation Plan was recently updated to include the passive RFID-enabling of the ATAC automated information system. Starting in FY08, the Navy plans to implement RFID within ATAC and partner with DLA for tracking at the Defense Depots. Beyond FY08, the Navy will continue to expand RFID capabilities to other ATAC sites and connected repair facilities to complete a “closed loop” tracking capability for these critical assets.

Alien products being used in the ATAC RFID implementation include Alien 96-bit RFID tags and Alien ALR-9800 Enterprise RFID Readers.

Source: Alien Technology

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