The key to victory on any battlefield is knowledge — knowing where friendly forces are, where the enemy is, where the enemy is headed — and being able to share that information with friendly forces. It’s what the Pentagon calls "situational awareness."
General Dynamics Decision Systems in Scottsdale is developing a personal electronics system that will make future U.S. soldiers more situationally aware than ever before.
Called the Land Warrior system, it will allow soldiers to send and receive information from command posts and other soldiers throughout the combat area.
The technology will "enable the Army to field the best-informed, best-protected, most effective soldier ever," said Mark Fried, general manager of General Dynamics Decision Systems.
Land Warrior consists of a weapons system, a helmet assembly and protective clothing.
Through the helmet-mounted display, which looks like a pair of high-tech goggles, the trooper can see computer-generated graphics, digital maps, intelligence information and troop locations. The system is connected to the global positioning system, allowing the soldier to know his exact location.
Soldiers also can see images from a night-vision thermal sight and video camera mounted on their guns. This allows the soldier to point the gun around the corner of a building, see what is down the street, and even fire the weapon without ever being exposed to enemy fire.
Included in the system are GPS positioning units for each soldier, radios and computers, all combined in a lightweight unit.
The displays and images that appear in front of the soldier’s eyes can be controlled from a menu pointing device located on a chest strap.
Also, soldiers transported in a Stryker combat vehicle can plan their mission, recharge batteries and receive updated information en route.
The initial version of the Land Warrior system could be ready for combat as soon as next year.
Under the initial $59.9 million contract, the company will deliver 28 soldier systems plus 64 vehicle integration kits, which will attach to the Strykers and link the soldiers with their commanders. The cost of the program if all options are exercised could reach $791 million for 50,000 units.