Saturday, October 16, 2010

Slimmer, Trimmer US Army Land Warrior System Moves Ahead

A couple of years ago, it looked like the Land Warrior program was dead due to soldiers’ concerns that the equipment was too heavy and complex. However, after trimming down the system from 17 pounds to 7.2 pounds, the Army is moving ahead with the program.

While those efforts are underway, the US Army still owns more than 900 Land Warrior ensembles, 300 vehicle-integration kits, and related equipment as of October 2009. Now, a new set of contracts enables General Dynamics’ field service engineers to deploy with all Land Warrior-equipped units and provide support for housing, repairing and shipping spare and replacement Land Warrior gear worldwide.

Land Warrior uses computers, wireless communication, and global positioning technologies to link soldiers digitally on the battlefield. The Land Warrior system provides soliders with situational awareness, maps and imagery, and voice and text messaging capabilities. The system can store more than 600 images including photographs of targets and locations. The soldier views the maps and imagery through the helmet-mounted display, which is pulled down over one eye when needed. Each soldier wearing the system is represented by an icon on the map. Using drop-down menus, commanders can place virtual icons onto a map identifying known enemy locations or other information.
The Ground Soldier System will be one of the first systems to go through the new DoD process of competition in prototype. A total of 3 contracts were awarded, with limited-user tests planned for fall 2010. After the limited-user tests are complete, one or two developers will be chosen, and the system will go into low rate initial production and then do another operational test. The system is planned for fielding in 2012 to infantry brigade combat teams.

To learn more about the history of this program, click here.

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