New Interconnect Technology for Modern Soldier Systems

Qwik Connect

Thales also has a successful family of lightweight surveillance and target acquisition systems

Civilian Applications

SuperFly night- vision goggle I/O to board jumper 

The clarion call has been, “reduce weight” when it comes to advanced soldier systems, but

named Sophie. The Sophie range, used extensively by French armed forces, features a high-resolution thermal imager, color daylight camera or optics, laser pointer and integrated GPS. In 2012, the Australian Army selected the Sophie MF system for its LAND 17 1B program in a full-scale

an alternative approach might be to develop technology that helps soldiers manage larger and heavier loads. Lockheed Martin has developed a hydraulic-

powered anthropomorphic exoskeleton called the Human Universal Load Carrier (HULC) designed to help users carry up to 200 pounds of equipment for extended periods. DARPA, in collaboration with Boston Dynamics,

effort to modernize indirect fire support. With its latest product, the Sophie Lite, Thales has shaved 2kg off the Sophie range with a product that weighs just 1.6kg, yet delivers comparable performance to earlier models. For Joint Terminal Attack Controllers (JTAC) - whose job it is to direct air strikes against the enemy - accurate target acquisition is particularly important. Being a JTAC is an incredibly skilled job and one wrong move could lead to ineffective fire or, much worse, a friendly fire incident. Pilots and JTACs must work closely to locate the enemy, choose the type of munition and then engage - often only using paper maps and a radio. L-3 Communications has developed the Remote Operations Video Enhanced Receiver (Rover) to improve coordination and target acquisition between air and ground units. The early Rover system included a receiver, antenna and rugged laptop that displayed sensor data from airborne platforms. The latest version is a pocket-sized edition called the Tactical Rover (e), which is interoperable with laptops or tablets, and is a fraction of the weight of original Rover devices. Similar technology is being developed under DARPA’s Persistent Close Air Support programme, which digitally links pilots and JTACs. Contractor Raytheon is currently flight testing the technology, with live fire tests expected in 2015 using an A-10 attack aircraft. DARPA claims the system could potentially reduce the time for calling in airstrikes from one hour to just six minutes. SOLDIER HEAD-UP DISPLAYS For years aircrews have been able to use the head-up display (HUD), a transparent screen which projects data and allows a pilot to fly without looking down at the instruments - hence the “head-up” moniker. A further enhancement of this technology has been the HMD, used by AH-64 Apache pilots among others, which projects information directly onto the pilot’s eye from a reticule attached to the helmet. Dismounted soldiers can also benefit from the greater situational awareness and information superiority afforded by HMD systems. The US, Spain, Malaysia, Singapore and Germany have all experimented with soldier HMD systems as part of

has also developed a four-legged robot called the LS3 which helps US Marines carry ordnance and equipment over rough terrain. But the applications for load carrying

technology is not strictly limited to the military. Firefighters for example, are actively pursuing civilian applications for exoskeleton technology. A wearable robot exoskeleton of this type would enable users to travel further, reduce fatigue and risk of injury. Heads up display technology, such as has been developed by the Osterhout

Design Group may be used to assist police, TSA and other security services implement facial recognition software crucial to protecting civilian populations from terrorist attacks. Perhaps the most familiar and immediately useful military technology already used on a daily basis by civilian populations, the Global Positioning System (GPS), is a US Department of Defense network of satellites, ground stations, and software interfaces. In addition to its role enhancing soldier

situational awareness,

the GPS has become a ubiquitous navigation tool now used by lost and confused husbands on a worldwide basis.

Qwik Connect n January 2015


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