Army Land Warrior System Almost Ready
The Army is about to deploy the Land Warrior System. It sounds quite amazing.
For more than a decade the Army has been trying to put together a wearable package of computers, radios, lasers and other high-tech gear to help infantrymen better pierce the fog of war. The technology has always been a little too buggy, the equipment too heavy and cumbersome to use under the stress of combat. But proponents think they’re getting close with a system that Stryker troops are testing at Fort Lewis. If the soldiers and their commanders like it, they might take it with them to Iraq next summer, officials said.
The package, called the Land Warrior System, takes much of the communications, computing and targeting power that’s on a Stryker armored vehicle and puts it into the hands of each infantryman who runs down the ramp. “Most of us who have been in the Army a long time have been through the evolution of the next whatever — it doesn’t really change what we do, but it’s just a little better, a little faster,” said Lt. Col. William Prior, who commands the battalion training with the system. “This is much different. … It has the potential to change the way we fight.”
The monitor in the eyepiece is no larger than the average lens in a pair of glasses. But up close it’s the same as looking at a 16-inch computer monitor, said Staff Sgt. Ruben Romero, who is collecting feedback from soldiers training with the system.
The computer’s 2 gigabyte flash memory can hold maps, satellite imagery, mug shots of insurgents, routes to an objective — a whole library of information that a squad or platoon leader might need on the ground.
The system’s GPS and radios report each wearer’s position on a map that’s visible in the eyepiece, and on digital maps at the battalion headquarters or higher up the chain of command.
A video camera mounted on the soldier’s rifle has thermal sights, a laser range-finder and 12-power magnification. Soldiers can aim their weapon with the helmet-mounted eyepiece, allowing them to see around a corner without exposing their bodies to fire.
“We’ve had a lot of success with soldiers being able to engage targets 450 meters out without any problems, 400 meters out without any problems, using their day video sights,” Romero said.
When I left the Army in early 1992, GPS was still a novelty item. In Desert Storm, our entire artillery battery had two. Now, they’re going to be organic to the individual soldier. And without bogging him down. Truly extraordinary.
via OTB roving correspondent Richard Gardner