new applied sciences for dismounted troopers

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Developments within the dismounted soldier programs of a number of international locations have been revealed on the SAE Media Group’s Future Soldier Expertise Convention in London in March 2024, with explicit emphasis on system integration, mounted/dismounted interoperability and the introduction of revolutionary and disruptive expertise. Because the finish of the convention there have been contract awards which have confirmed undertaking intentions briefed by completely different audio system.

UK

The British Military has two separate however linked programmes: dismounted shut fight (DCC) and dismounted situational consciousness (DSA). The latter covers communications and battle administration programs (BMS); the previous addresses all the opposite parts.

Talking on the convention, Colonel Paul Cummings, DCC portfolio chief on the UK MoD Defence Tools and Help (DE&S), recognized a number of main tasks to improve or substitute DCC capabilities.

The Virtus built-in helmet, physique armour and cargo carriage system together with the tactical ballistic plates is to be recompeted, though Col Cummings didn’t anticipate any nice modifications within the basic designs. Nevertheless, a selected focus of this undertaking is an effort to offer higher becoming for feminine personnel. Col Cummings famous that as a result of girls have been now eligible for all shut fight roles and since in future the gear shall be issued to all consumer teams, good becoming for each female and male bodily traits was essential.

Following on from Mission Hunter, the latest acquisition of latest Different Particular person Weapon (AIW) for the Military’s Ranger Regiment and for the Royal Marines, Mission Grayburn will tackle the substitute of the prevailing SA-80. Mission Hunter resulted within the number of the Knight’s Armament Firm (KAC) KS-1, along with superior sights and a suppressor.

The idea part for Grayburn will start in latter a part of 2024, with engagement with business commencing in the direction of the tip of the yr. Col Cummings famous that the general requirement was for 170,000 weapons throughout UK defence and it was seemingly that there could be completely different variants of the weapon with commonality of operation. He stated that the purpose could be to attain a procurement mannequin that resulted in a gentle move of latest weapons annually, growing a relationship with producers that “permits us to discover upgrades, expertise insertions and different developments. I’d not count on the 170,000th weapon to look precisely like the primary”.

On account of the event in the usage of uncrewed aerial autos (UAVs) in Ukraine and their growing ubiquity each for surveillance and to ship results, in widespread with different international locations the Military can be focussing on counter-UAV (C-UAV) capabilities in its revitalised Land Floor Based mostly Air Defence (L-GBAD) programme.

Col Cummings outlined the plans to offer C-UAV at part degree. The Military has not too long ago acquired the SMASHX4 Good Weapon Sight which gives a hard-kill functionality. That is to be adopted by a detection and non-kinetic functionality which shall be often called Electro-magnetic Detect and Defeat (EMDAD).

SMASH X4 present process testing in Israel. The British Military has not too long ago acquired the SMASHX4 Good Weapon Sight which gives a tough kill C-UAV functionality, and is now in search of a soft-kill functionality beneath the Electro-magnetic Detect and Defeat (EMDAD) initiative.
Credit score: Smartshooter

On the finish of March 2024 the MoD issued a young discover for EMDAD, which shall be procured beneath a multi-year, multi-supplier framework settlement, with the purpose of deliveries commencing by the tip of July 2024 for trails and analysis. When talking on the convention Col Cummings emphasised that the programme would embrace “catalogue of choices to satisfy new necessities or threats as they come up. It is not going to be massive portions of a single system as we’d like to have the ability to defeat the most recent or theatre particular threats. The framework will permit us that agility with slightly however typically method.”

Whereas the UK’s DCC stand appears to be making progress, the image on the DSA entrance is much less rosy, with the programme described by Lt Col Gareth Davies, SO1 Fight Methods and Bearers as “not in an incredible place in the intervening time”.

He described DSA as “an Official Delicate meshed radio community with chest mounted gadgets offering voice and information communications for dismounted infantry. It would present the inspiration for the ‘Soldier as a Platform’ system upon which all subsequent parts of the built-in soldier system shall be constructed”.

It is a description that might apply to most dismounted soldier programs, and as in different programmes DSA consists of a communications system and a headset, and for commanders an finish consumer system (EUD) and a soldier digital structure.

Lt Col Davies defined {that a} complete experimentation programme “has taught us quite a bit” however it had equally thrown up a number of challenges. Presently there have been two experimental variations of the DSA system, one utilizing meshed radio, a hub, an EUD and an influence supply, with the opposite utilizing an LTE smartphone and an exterior energy pack. He stated that opinions have been now divided as to which communications means to undertake, with each having benefits and drawbacks, and this was delaying the programme’s progress.

Lt Col Davies famous that the DSA requirement had been formulated a while in the past, so there was a problem in figuring out “tips on how to replace [it] to have in mind new expertise whereas concurrently proving the requirement is true”.

He added that an related problem was the dichotomy between a standalone undertaking offering situational consciousness (SA) and command and management (C2), and the mixing of different sensors and programs. Extra capabilities have been regularly rising that might use the hub or EUD and that required energy, however these weren’t a part of the essential DSA requirement though they did contribute to the soldier as a platform idea.

At current the plan is that preliminary operational functionality (IOC) will ship a standalone functionality and allow operation as singular firm teams. Integration of extra programs shall be added within the development to full OC and past. Nevertheless, that is one other side that’s beneath overview as as to if that is the best method.

This has all impacted the subsequent stage of procurement, Lt Col Davies stated, notably the radio competitors, and though the funding was allotted, approval to spend it had not been granted. “Now we have to work by means of all of those points”, he stated.

US

Lieutenant Colonel Christian Hasbach, product supervisor soldier manoeuvre sensors US Military, highlighted a number of capabilities of the US Military’s Nett Warrior system programme that had not too long ago been launched or have been imminent.

Amongst these was the dismounted operators fight equipment – extremely (DOCK-U) from Kagwerks, a chest mounted three-port hub and show mount which is EUD agnostic, MANET radio agnostic, accommodates a knowledge radio card, and gives on-body computation and a wi-fi private space community. He stated the impression of utilizing the DOCK-U was to cut back the general measurement weight and energy (SWAP) of the system and minimise cables and complexity for the consumer.

In an effort to keep away from customers always taking a look at chest-mounted EUD, a haptic-enabled wrist-wearable system is being added to Nett Warrior. Initially a Garmin Tactix Delta which is able to in future get replaced by a Samsung good watch, the system is built-in with the Android Tactical Assault Equipment (ATAK) software program with a plugin and through Bluetooth. It gives haptic suggestions notification of geofence alerts, chat messages, route navigation and emergency messages, and may present commonplace message responses to ATAK chat messages. Moreover it might probably present consumer physiological metrics, comparable to coronary heart fee, core temperature and warmth stress index, that may be fed again over the community.

Lt Col Hasbach additionally highlighted different ATAK plugins: Trailblazer, a route planning software; a radio over IP push-to-talk translator; Unmanned Methods (UMS) Instruments, which is an effort to create functions for controlling and tasking uncrewed platforms from Nett Warrior; and Tactical Readiness Asset Key-terrain Reconstitution (TRAKR), which allows personnel and materiel to be tracked in actual time throughout deployment outloads and was created in response to a scarcity of visibility in 18 Airborne Corps of the outload progress.

The android tactical consciousness equipment (ATAK), proven right here on a chest mounted EUD, is being broadly adopted because the BMS for dismounted use.
Credit score: USAF

He additionally famous the event of Foresight, a web-based dashboard that reveals on-soldier sensor standing, enabling commanders at platoon and firm degree to watch and diagnose personnel community, electronics and software program standing, plus location and physiological state.

Canada

The Canadian Military’s Particular person Soldier System Mission (ISSP) is getting into its third cycle of growth, constructing on the successes and classes realized from the earlier two cycles.

Main Gabriel Benoit-Martin, undertaking director ISSP, defined that Cycle 1, consisting of a radio, EUD, hub, energy provide and a proprietary BMS supplied a baseline functionality with over 4,000 programs fielded. It was a giant step ahead, he stated, notably in offering SA, however the system was not absolutely accepted by the sector pressure for a lot of causes together with weight, latency, cable administration, troublesome navigation software program and an lack of ability to interoperate with allies.

Cycle 2 was lighter, much less cumbersome and extra modular. It included a brand new radio, the Harris AN/PRC-163 which permits interoperability with safe Type1 networks and with the Canadian Mild Armoured Car (LAV); integration with a brand new laser vary finder; a smartphone-based EUD; and ATAK because the BMS. Cycle 3, which is now being fielded, gives a technical refresh and strikes to a industrial off-the-shelf (COTS)-based method, with a brand new hub; a brand new EUD, the Samsung S20 Tactical Version; a brand new L3Harris radio utilizing the Trellisware TSM MANET waveform; and can shortly embody a brand new battery. Maj Benoit-Martin stated that the adoption of MANET would alleviate among the communications challenges that had beforehand been encountered.

Canada adopted the L3Harris AN/PRC-163 radio (seen right here in US use) for ISSP Gen 2, giving entry to Kind 1 safe communications.
Credit score: L3Harris

Almost 3000 Cycle 3 programs are being fielded to gentle infantry, mechanised battalions and supporting arms in three completely different configurations of accelerating functionality: Soldier, Assaulter and Commander. Soldier consists of a radio, central battery, hub and headset and primarily gives safe however unclassified (SBU) voice communications and SA information upwards. The battery and hub might be discarded to cut back weight.

The Assaulter configuration, for staff commanders, part second-in-commands, and a few specialist roles provides an EUD giving entry to the ATAK BMS. Commander, for part commanders and above, provides entry to a second radio and Kind 1 safe communications, car integration, and connection to a number of equipment.

Main Benoit-Martin stated that the idea of employment for ISSP was nonetheless being developed as customers grew to become extra assured of the system and its capabilities. Expertise refreshment will proceed.

New Zealand

Lieutenant Colonel Paul Cocker, NZ Defence Pressure (NZDF), stated that the NZDF was constructing a unified digital spine for the NZ Military and that growing a soldier system was an integral and early a part of this. He described the prevailing system as “a greenfield” website, with a tactical communication and knowledge system (CIS) that had not been up to date since 2003, and through which info was handed “on the velocity of speaking”.

The NZ soldier system is predicated across the L3Harris Falcon IV radio household; the Systematic SitaWare HQ, Frontline and Edge C2 software program suite plus ATAK for battle administration and extra integration software program from Stauder; and headset and system connectivity options from Invisio and Glenair respectively.

Lt Col Cocker stated that with the arrival of the system work was persevering with on growing ways, strategies and procedures (TTPs). Other than the enhancements to dismounted planning and execution and tempo the advantages have been notably noticeable on the “1-up and 2-up” ranges of command. There was a major discount in cognitive load for commanders by means of the development in SA and the discount of the fog of struggle, he stated.

He famous that the NZDF had been a SitaWare consumer since 2009 and the software program supplied seamless vertical passage for information, however this was much less true for horizontal passage with allies. He noticed that it was essential to recognise that there could be trade-offs between the 2 approaches and to establish the interoperability factors within the community and the necessity for gateways.

The NZDF has adopted the entire SitaWare C2 software program suite, but additionally makes use of ATAK, leading to a necessity for software program gateways.
Credit score: Systematic

The programme is equipping one firm at a time, and Lt Col Cocker stated {that a} problem was deciding how the programme could be scaled throughout the fight and fight assist arms. The following steps within the programme may even embody mounted/dismounted integration with the NZ Military’s new Bushmaster autos and exploring joint and mixed networking.

Germany

There are two strands to the Bundeswehr’s dismounted soldier programme. The present system, the Infanterist der Zukunft (IdZ; ENG: Infantryman of the Future) is predicated on the Rheinmetall Electronics (RME) Gladius soldier system, which changed an earlier model from Airbus. It’s at present in its second technology (Gen 2), a model developed for the German contribution to the 2023 NATO VJTF activity pressure, often called IdZ-ES (Erweitertes System; ENG: Prolonged System) and particularly supposed for the System Panzergrenadier, the mixing of the dismount with the Puma IFV.

It’s a extra modular system consisting of a Tectonica Bantam USB energy and information hub; a Bren-Tronics energy supply; a Getac MX50 pill because the EUD; and a CeoTronics CT-MultiPTT 3C central operation and management unit that may concurrently co-ordinate as much as three impartial communication circuits, plus an extra press-to-talk (PTT) on the weapon. Communications are supplied by the E-LynX PNR-1000 for all customers plus the Rohde & Schwarz handheld radio as a rear hyperlink for commanders. The BMS is Rheinmetall’s TacNet software program, with a software program gateway offering the interface for the passage of knowledge between TacNet and SitaWare Frontline, which is employed by mounted customers.

A complete of three,600 IdZ Gen 1 programs have been supplied as much as 2020, and 900 of those have been upgraded to the IdZ Gen 2 commonplace by 2023. Talking on the convention, Sebastian Miekley, enterprise space coordination for digitalized land programs at Rheinmetall Electronics, stated that the improve of the remaining 2,700 Gen 1 programs was deliberate. He added that Rheinmetall Electronics was additionally engaged on its provide for IdZ Gen 3, which could embody modernisation of the C2 gear and the top system and improve of the optical and aiming gadgets, though he didn’t go into specifics.

IdZ Gen 3 is linked to the Bundeswehr’s Digitisation of Land Based mostly Operations (DLBO) programme, the purpose of which is to ‘allow network-centric warfare on the cellular tactical degree’, based on Dr Sebastian Gies, undertaking lead soldier system D-LBO, Federal Workplace of Bundeswehr Tools, Info Expertise and In-Service Help (BAAINBw).

The Bundeswhr’s IdZ Gen 2 has been designed for the System Panzergrenadier for mechanised infantry.
Credit score: Giles Ebbutt

DLBO will present a ‘sturdy, scalable, tactical IP community’ consisting of cellular tactical nodes (MTN) and cellular tactical purchasers (MTC), which is able to function agnostic and clear to the bearers and can embrace your entire pressure, with the prevailing System Panzergrenadier and IdZ an integral half.

Dr Gies stated that as a part of the DLBO growth course of the DLBO soldier system was nonetheless being outlined, however would encompass a helmet; ballistic vest; headset and listening to safety together with PTT; EUD; MTC core software program; a hub; energy supply; cabling; communications; and car connectivity. The system could be scalable, modular and might be tailor-made to the wants of the completely different branches of the Bundeswehr.

He defined that growth shall be in three levels: a demonstrator, a pre-production mannequin, and roll out. The demonstrator part will establish the optimum positioning for parts, refine variants and supply proof of precept of the design by means of laboratory and discipline exams. The previous happened in late 2023 and the latter is scheduled for July 2024, and Gies stated that troopers have been included within the course of from the start.

The pre-production part will check the refined design on an even bigger scale and expose any additional points. The system will then be fielded in several configurations for the completely different branches, and it’ll then be topic to additional spiral growth and functionality enchancment.

Gies stated that element distributors could be recognized through the pre-production part and it was seemingly that competitors would begin within the second half of 2025. Having stated that, in late April 2024 RME was awarded a contract value as much as EUR400 million to provide as much as 191,000 units of headset and listening to safety together with PTT, with 3M Peltor offering its ComTac VIII headset and CeoTronics its 1C and 3C CT-Multi PTTs. This would appear to preclude a contest for this ingredient of the system.

Hungary

The event of Hungary’s dismounted soldier system is a part of the Hungarian Defence Pressure (HDF) digital transformation course of, which embraces your entire organisation. Talking on the convention, Colonel Ákos Tajti, director, functionality growth workplace, HDF, stated that the HDF was nonetheless working to outline its wants, with doctrinal questions nonetheless unclear and the potential requirement as but not substantiated. He famous that integration with the Lynx IFV, which he described because the HDF’s flagship undertaking, was a key side.

He stated that system growth was continuing on two parallel tracks. An organization’s value of Elbit’s Torch-X system had been procured for experimentation, with completely different soldier and commander configurations. A dismounted BMS was a separate nationwide growth, and integration with the HUNTACCIS BMS undertaking led by the Hungarian HM EI consortium is key.

Persevering with strains of growth cowl dismounted software program (SA, BFT, power administration and radio connections); {hardware} (central unit capabilities); and car connectivity and integration with car system. Col Tajti stated that the software program needed to be as easy to make use of as potential with a ‘3-click’ rule, and with performance harmonised for the consumer position.

He added that there have been 4 areas of revolutionary expertise that the HDF was additionally addressing which might impression dismounted programs: autonomy, notably for UAS; power provide and administration, together with novel gasoline cells and hydrogen; positioning in a GNSS-denied setting; and synthetic intelligence (AI).

Giles Ebbutt

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