SF units to get latest Land Warrior kit

Ravage

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http://www.armytimes.com/news/2009/11/army_landwarrior_110909w/

Special Forces units will soon receive the Army’s latest version of Land Warrior gear.

Beginning next fall, equipment officials plan to outfit a Special Forces battalion with the service’s wearable command-and-control kit designed to help small units see through the fog of war.

Equipment officials do not know yet which SF battalion will get the high-tech equipment.

Land Warrior, which allows combat leaders to track the locations of their men and view maps and other tactical information through a tiny, helmet-mounted computer screen, is currently in Afghanistan with 5th Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division.

The latest version of Land Warrior will feature satellite communications to supplement the system’s current digital radio network, officials said.

“Probably the biggest change we are going to have for the Special Forces variant is going to be an over-the-horizon capability, so we are not restricted to line-of-sight” communications, Col. Will Riggins, who runs Project Manager Soldier Warrior, told reporters at the Pentagon on Oct. 27.

The controversial program made history in the spring of 2007, when 4th Battalion, 9th Infantry Regiment, decided to take it to combat in Iraq after Army budget officials earlier that year cut $300 million from Land Warrior earlier that year, essentially killing the program.

Land Warrior’s performance in Iraq was a “tremendous success,” Riggins said. But it still has its challenges, and adding satellite communications to the system won’t be easy, he said.

“When you go away from line-of-sight communications to over-the-horizon communications ... you don’t have the same amount of bandwidth,” Riggins said. “One of the things we will be working with the [Special Forces] unit on is to see how we can smartly choose what goes over the line and how often it goes over.”

Reliability will also have to improve.

The Land Warrior systems in Stryker units are never too far away from support technicians who can fix any problems that arise, he said.

“It needs to function for long periods of time when soldiers are out on multiple-day missions away from having any technical support,” Riggins said.

The Army approved an additional $102 million to buy the 1,000 sets of Land Warrior needed for 5-2. The Stryker unit deployed with those systems this summer to Afghanistan.

The Army recently awarded General Dynamics, the company that makes Land Warrior, a contract with a potential price of $50 million to continue the technical support it is providing for 5-2’s systems. However, the Army did not restart the Land Warrior program but chose to continue to refine the complex system as it develops the next generation of digital soldier kit known as the Ground Soldier System.

“Land Warrior is being used right now as a bridging strategy until we get Ground Soldier System,” Riggins said.

GSS is scheduled to be ready for fielding to an infantry brigade combat team by 2012. The next step will be a limited-user test late next summer when infantry units will evaluate three separate prototypes made by General Dynamics, Raytheon and Rockwell, Riggins said.

The plan is to have infantry units evaluate each prototype on its own merits and select one or two prototypes that will enter operational testing, Riggins said.

“We think we are going to have a big increase in capability” with GSS, he said. “The three vendors we are working with have the opportunity to bring in the latest technology, the latest processors. It’s not just about computing speed; it’s also about power efficiency because batteries add weight to the overall load.”

Weight is a key concern and equipment officials hope to improve that, Riggins said.

Now, Land Warrior gear weighs about half as much as the system 4-9 first began working with in 2006.

“The current configuration of Land Warrior is about eight and a half pounds,” he said. “I will tell you that that is still too heavy, and we need to do better.”

The Land Warrior variants that will be issued to SF will be basically the same version 5-2 currently uses, aside from satellite capability, Riggins said.

In addition to the helmet-mounted display, which resembles a tiny computer screen, Land Warrior features a microcomputer processor for storing maps, mission-specific imagery and graphics. The navigation system allows a leader to track his subordinate leaders’ positions, which appear as icons on a digital map.

The digital, voice and text radio lets leaders send e-mails and talk to anyone wearing Land Warrior.

So far, Stryker units have chosen to issue Land Warrior down to the team leader level in the squad.

Special Forces teams will use it differently, Riggins said.

“This will be a new use for Land Warrior,” Riggins said. “We have fielded it to team leader and above [in infantry units]. With Special Forces, because of the unique way they operate, we will be fielding it to each member” of the 12-man teams.
 

TLDR20

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Good luck getting me to carry all that heavy stuff on top of all the other heavy stuff I already need to carry.
 

w45vaa

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Humans are more important than hardware...

Just something else to take up room in the TRICON....


Yep.

AS someone else said,some technology is a good thing. Too much is a goatscrew;just more to go down just when it is needed the most. Christ,as it is now, how many troops rely on GPS,and dont know how to use a compass??How many remember or know how to use Morse code/SSB? The military,not just the Army, is trying too hard to make the ground soldier obsolete,and it just wont ever happen.

I think this new "tech toy" is a bad Idea.
 

coastieaet

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SF units should be ghosts in the night...not tracked on a friggin flat screen tv by some command/control personnel. Just my little opinion.
 

car

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Not to stir up shit, but I find this ironic. The SF get the "latest gear," when USASOC (and, I'm sure USSOCOM) has an exemption to standard procurement policy - in other words, some cool guy finds something in a catalogue, he/they can get it, test it, and, if it works, get a bunch of it.

The irony is this - and here's where I stir the shit. I was in the first unit to wear ACUs into Iraq. I thought it was comfortable, but my biggest problem was with all the VELCRO. When I asked why, I was told, "Well, SGM, we asked 'special operators' what they wanted and this was their answer."

Now, you all know that I know who I'm talking to here, and you know who's talking.....all, I'm saying is that some fucking retired long-tabber (or two or ten) working in the Pentagon and/or Aberdeen "gave the OK" to the ACU, and we (mostly) live with it.

And, now, all this extra gear to give your commanders "battlefield awareness," is gonna be thrown on the backs of guys who 1) don't need to be found, 2) don't need any more shit on their backs.

Just kinda funny to me how things tend to go full circle wihtout the actual users having any fucking input at all. Yet we all get upgefukt all the same.

Like Bugs Bunny said, "Oh, the i-ron-y!"
 

QC

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Some time ago I had a word with a mate who was still in and said that the new NVG's and comms head sets must be pretty good to use. He said well ok, but have a contact at night and hit the ground, your NVG hits your nose and the comms gets all twisted and you spend a bit of time untangling yourself. Be better walking, he observed, with one hand straight out in front of you and your eyes closed.

Plus ca change plus ca meme chose.
 

pardus

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The thing that worries me is the ability of REMFs such as Generals and the POTUS for example to see exactly where you are on the battlefield and being able to direct you in real time, telling you what to do. I.E. "Soldier, walk around the corner and shoot that haji".

Fuck That!
 

demo18c

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The thing that worries me is the ability of REMFs such as Generals and the POTUS for example to see exactly where you are on the battlefield and being able to direct you in real time, telling you what to do. I.E. "Soldier, walk around the corner and shoot that haji".

Fuck That!

They have the ability now with..blank...and some do try to quaterback it but it is still the Troop commander/SGM that makes the decisions....This is from my CCIF experience where..blank..were stacked up. Its the same with our big brothers
 

LongTabSigO

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The thing that worries me is the ability of REMFs such as Generals and the POTUS for example to see exactly where you are on the battlefield and being able to direct you in real time, telling you what to do. I.E. "Soldier, walk around the corner and shoot that haji".

Fuck That!

A dual-edged sword, this is...

The big criticism that has emerged since the beginning of the Force XXI/Digital Army is "The Death of Augstragtaktik". That is - the stifling of initiative because commanders at higher echelons have the ability to command and control squads and platoons in real-time.

On the other hand, the requirement for precision munitions delivery is now regarded as both highly desired and necessary (especially in a COIN or low-intensity environment). That requires this degree of electronic sophistication. In some cases, this degree of precision is sufficient to mitigate higher-risk missions and get them approved.
 

Pete S

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Comms should be enough for command and control.
Me dreaming, I know.

Land Warrior may have a place with the mechanized infantry but in no way will that usefulness necessarily transfer to the light infantry crowd.
To few benefits for to many drawbacks.

Let SF try it.
At least they have more choice in the matter compared to other units.
 
7

7point62

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The enemy operates way below our technological threshold. I found in my COIN experience it was easier to kill them when we geared down and fought them at their level, adopting and improving their tactics. But...I'm for anything that keeps our people alive and contributes to the deaths of our enemies.
 

dknob

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Fuck man, I hated my life when I had a cable and PTT running from my left headset speaker to my MBITR, and my right headset speaker cable w/PTT running to my main radio, which already has a bunch of bullshit sticking out. Not to mention the mini-SAT I had in a make shift pistol holster on my thigh had it its own cable running up the side of me. I cant tell you how many times that shit got caught on something on the objective and completely ripped it out. I had a cluster fuck of cable entanglements down to an art form.

I couldnt imagine having somebody see me with all my gear rolling out and then saying: "Here Ranger, take this mini thermographic monitor, rifle camera, helmet mounted camera, mini computer, and this light emitting node over your eye." I might just kill myself.
 
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