Story by Petty Officer 1st Class Stephane, Belcher, NMCB 5
The U.S. Navy Seabees with Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 5 employed the Instrument Set, Reconnaissance, and Surveying (ENFIRE) kit to streamline field operations during their second Command Post Exercise (CPX-2), Dec. 7.
The new kit replaces outdated surveying methods for acquiring technical data to improve battlespace awareness and facilitate development of engineering designs and drawings. In addition, the functionalities allows for ease of information transfer from the field to the higher command.
“Overall, the ENFIRE kit provides comprehensive, modular engineering reconnaissance capabilities,” said Lt. Diep Nguyen, NMCB-5’s technology insertion officer. “This enables us to leverage advanced optics and GPS functionalities which negate traditional, labor-intensive data acquisition methods.”
For expeditionary military units, like the Seabees, which often perform road, bridge, river, tunnel, water fording, and ordnance reconnaissance, the modular kit allows for units to adapt it to mission-specific requirements.
The kit improves on safety and efficiency of traditional surveying methods by allowing more remote information gathering. Suppose the troops come across dangerous grounds or suspected improvised explosive device infested areas, they can survey the width of roads, height and arch of bridges, and even collect information about ordnance from afar.
“It really modernizes our capabilities, you know, because we’ve traditionally been limited to non-electronic analog tools,” said Engineering Aide 2nd Class Nathan Schafer. “And now we have these really precise electronic pieces of equipment that can give us more accurate measurements, faster, more efficient, and it allows us to compile all of the data directly from the equipment into reports, which we can send up faster.”
The ENFIRE kit was commissioned and vetted by the Army Corps of Engineers, an organization with a long history of field engineering and reconnaissance. By utilizing this system, Seabees can learn and improve on required capabilities and facilitate ease of joint-force operations.
“The training and the way it is designed for use are all created by the Army,” said Schafer. “So it’s cool that we get to use it. We have that cross branch compatibility to be able to work with them.”
During CPX-2, from Dec. 7 to Dec. 11, the Seabees simulated several expeditionary operations simultaneously. One of the functions consisted of constructing a bridge, where they were able to use the ENFIRE kit to capture field data without exposing themselves to enemy fire.
NMCB-5 is homeported in Port Hueneme, California. During the homeport phase, the U.S. Navy Seabees train on high-quality construction, expeditionary logistics, and combat operations to support U.S. and partner nations and deter aggression.