AUSA Expo Shows Off Military Tech, Attracts Hopeful Vendors

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) - In the AUSA expo, groundbreaking tech absolutely litters the place.

We found a thermal camera that Flir claims they can install just about anywhere.  In fact, they've even adapted it into an iPhone add-on.

Meanwhile, drones, known as Unmanned Aerial Vehicles or UAV's, take up a lot of the expo floor.

It's drawing in new partners, like Troll Systems.  They make directional microwave antennae.

They've actually worked with TV stations making live shots for 30 years.

Now they're pivoting their focus to try and cash in on the drone boom.

Tom Perkowski of Troll systems says, "Antennaes like the one next to me here have really been used to increase the range of those UAV's, so they actually can go further away from their base station and be more valuable to their operators."

Automation definitely dominates here.

Over at the SCI booth, they work to make helicopters voice activated, just like a smartphone.

SCI's Mike Sedgewick says it'll make things easier on pilots, "Rather than pushing as many as 30 different commands into the keyboard to get an action on his mission display, he can actually just give a three-word voice command, and that same thing will happen."

But hi-tech warfare isn't the only thing on display.

There's also things like fire extinguishers and rope.  The military needs rope.

Among the mega-vendors, you find businesses like Ancra of Kentucky.  They don't have a huge military operation.

They hope the meandering military leaders  at AUSA look their way.

Ancra International's Andrew Hart says, "Anything we can do to get to these venues that we know are going to have a large military presence, we are going to do that."

Alongside the giant, swinging satellites and crushing war vehicles, you find a dream or two.

Ken Heckman of Grote Industries shows off a new LED light system, "It's fairly thin and flexible. one of the problems that you have with a standard dome light in a military vehicle, if that hits an IED, that dome light can become a flying projectile and hit somebody in the head. with this type of product, it doesn't matter, because it's essentially going to hit them, it's going to be soft, and it's not going to hurt anybody.."

This could be the big break.

Heckman notes, "A lot of the vehicle manufacturers attend AUSA, plus a lot of the people from DC, the Pentagon, and so on."

Among the missiles and missile launchers, a chance.

Heckman adds, "It's like anything that's new, you have to introduce it somewhere, and we believe AUSA is probably the single best format for that.