Soldiers' equipment is the broadest concept that includes a very extensive set of systems. "Shopping" at a large defense exhibition in order to gather information for such an article could lead to writing an entire encyclopedia. Omit here weapon and sights and focus on the latest systems of the "future soldier" - navigation, protection and special equipment - which were shown at the latest showrooms and shows.
In fact, most of the “future soldiers” cannot be said to be “future”, because they are already part of the “present”, since here and now they serve in many armies of the world. The military and industry have quite seriously changed their approach to soldier equipment. The systems offered today are less and less patented and more and more ready to accept other components, following the concept of open architecture.
Rheinmetall received a new order from the Bundeswehr for IdZ-ES combat equipment, which will bring the total number of platoons equipped with this system to 158
Rheinmetall supplies the German Bundeswehr with the IdZ-ES (German acronym for Future Soldier - Extended System), for which it received another order this summer. The contract for 310 million euros will allow the German army to equip 68 infantry platoons in addition to the kits supplied to equip 90 platoons. In addition to the German order, Rheinmetall Canada is supplying its Argus system to the Canadian armed forces as part of an integrated soldier system project, while an unnamed foreign buyer has adopted the export version of the Gladius IdZ-ES. Building on the experience of developing such a system, Rheinmetall presented the new Gladius 2.0 gear at DSEI, which is available in three configurations: light, basic and advanced. As the Gladius equipment is aimed at the export market, it was based on the concept of functional flexibility, so now the new system, for example, does not depend on the radio (the IdZ-ES kit is compatible only with the Thales Solar 400 radio) and four radios: Elbit PNR 1000, Harris 7850 Mobile, Rohde & Schwarz MR3000 and Thales Solar 400. The basic version includes a small personal computer (PDA) with a 5-inch screen (usually requirements determine the finished commercial product), a radio station, a headset and night vision goggles with augmented reality function to track your powers. While there are XNUMXM Peltor, Nacre or Invisio headsets to choose from, other headsets can also be used.
For the export market, Rheinmetall developed the Gladius 2.0 suite based on open architecture. It may include various radio stations and systems supplied by government organizations, which maximizes flexibility and modularity.
The Gladius 2.0 does not have an electronic backpack like IdZ-ES equipment or the original Gladius system. The Rheinmetall Tacnet Soldier battle management system is loaded into a PDA-type computer, and since this software has an open architecture, it can combine information from all available sensors, providing a general operational picture. The battle management system (SMS) Tacnet Soldier can be used down to the company level and interface with two other software options, Tacnet Vehicle and Tacnet Command Post. If the vehicle of the potential customer is already equipped with a SMS, there are two options to choose from, either change the SMS and install Tacnet Vehicle or develop an interface, which the Bundeswehr did with its IdZ-ES equipment. The advanced version includes a tablet with a large display and a communications kit that includes a second radio station for exchanging voice messages and data with higher echelons. The light version includes only a radio station and a headset; for example, the hands of an arrow are free to work with weapons, since the GPS function built into the radio station will provide it with coordinates and it does not need to be distracted by other devices. New equipment can be powered from various sources of energy, including solar panels. Rheinmetall has included a nano-UAV PD-2.0 PRS Black Hornet 100 nano-PRN Black Hornet 2 from FLIR / Prox Dynamics in the prototype Gladius XNUMX outfit.
Following the trend, Safran based on Felin V1.3 has developed an export version of NeoFelis combat gear, which has increased functional flexibility and less weight
The French company Safran, working on a future version of the equipment FELIN, developed an export version, giving it the name NeoFelis. The total weight of the new version, which is a further development of the Felin V1.3 system, has been significantly reduced, while the duration of work from one charge has increased significantly. The first step was the introduction of a single combat vest with protective plates and a MOLLE unloading system (Modular Lightweight Load Carrying Equipment - a lightweight modular system for carrying equipment) and built-in cables, although in the future the wireless version is also considered. The main computer, worn on its side, has become lighter and smaller, while lithium-ion batteries with high specific energy and capacity guarantee a duration of up to 72 hours. The equipment is offered with the RIF NG radio station, however, the NeoFelis system is also open for other solutions. As for the man-machine interface, it can be implemented through a conventional smartphone, because such systems are part of the life of modern soldiers born in the digital age. A proprietary application has been developed for operational management, which includes the tracking function; The application is easily modified to the needs of the customer. The equipment also includes wrist watches that can lead a soldier along a planned route without having to look into a PDA or smartphone; other information is also displayed on request.
Among the new products offered by Safran for their NeoFelis outfits, we see wristwatches that allow the soldier to navigate and check the location of his colleagues without looking at the PDA screen
Military equipment is also equipped with the army of Singapore, whose advanced combat system ACMS (Advanced Combat Man System) was developed in the past decade by ST Kinetics. The company currently offers for export an advanced version called ARIELE (Army Individual Eco-Lightweight Equipment - Army Individual Eco-friendly and Light Equipment), which includes several new, as well as already familiar, but significantly updated systems. Let's start with the sensors and individual equipment. A new transparent helmet-mounted display SHADES (Shielded Advanced Eyewear System) was developed, which, in addition to displaying messages, can provide the soldier with augmented reality, for example, the positions of his forces, and also allows you to control wireless weapons modules. SHADES is equipped with an automatic brightness control system, which ensures optimum visibility of the superimposed information. The second system in this category is ARCTIC (Adaptive Real-Time Core Temperature Intelligent Cooler - Adaptive Smart Temperature Controller in Real Time), which regulates body temperature through active cooling. The cooling effect is also enhanced by such subsystems that work in combination with ARCTIC, such as elements of clothing and protective equipment, for example, a unloading vest and covered with a special composition of uniforms; these systems use passive cooling technology.
ST Kinetics, Singapore, is currently offering its Ariele soldier equipment, which, among other things, includes various subsystems of protection, uniforms and power generation
The kit includes a GEAR (Garment Engineered by Advanced Research) garment set, designed using modern materials, and a PACK (Pouches And Carriage Kit) unloading kit, based on a high pressure injection frame, which provides maximum stabilization of the loads carried by the soldier and, in addition, has an active ventilation system. The Singaporean equipment also includes a new PROTEC (Personal Reinforced Outer Tactical Equipment Carrier) body armor with new PLATE (Personal Lightweight Armor Technology) bulletproof inserts, providing better ergonomics and reduced weight with an increased protected area. The Soldier Enhanced Sensing Equipment (SEXSE) physical condition monitoring system monitors vital data such as heart rate, skin temperature, heart rate variability, respiratory rate and galvanic skin response, and detects the onset of fatigue. This system can also perform data analysis after completing a combat mission; the data is displayed either on the display or transferred to the cloud storage via a mobile gateway. Most of the above systems will not function properly without an adequate power source. To this end, ST Kinetics has developed the PoEMS (Power & Energy Management System), which optimizes energy consumption, while the POWER (Portable Watt-hr for Extended Range) fuel cell has a specific energy 1,6 times that of the most best lithium-ion batteries. In order to further increase the level of the fighter's power-to-weight ratio, the ARIELE equipment included the BRACES system (Bionic Regenerative Active Energy System), which transforms the soldier's movements into electrical energy. An hour of movement can provide an average of 6 watt-hours of electricity, which can be used to wirelessly charge batteries via the charging pad.
Some systems of command and control, power supply, as well as sensors that ST Kinetics offers for its combat equipment Ariele
Plates for body armor are a key component of any soldier outfit. Although we see progressive development in this area, which consists in maintaining levels of protection with a slight decrease in mass, revolutionary changes are not yet foreseen. One of the problems associated with the operation of ceramic tiles is their integrity. All ceramic materials are very fragile and prone to cracking during impact and falling, which often happens during normal daily operations. These cracks can adversely affect the performance of the plate when bullets hit it. Thus, it is extremely important to regularly check all the plates of the vest. One way to check is to use an x-ray machine. However, to do this, it is necessary to assemble the plates from the equipment kit, replace them with other plates, bring the checked plates for inspection to the appropriate laboratory and carry out the analysis. As you can see, this is a long and expensive process. To avoid such a procedure, Rheinmetall Defense developed a technology called Sensing Armor, which can be embedded in the plate itself, adding the entire 60 gram, and which allows you to check the plates at the unit level. From the physical point of view, the system adds on top of the plate a “protrusion” with the height of the entire 25 mm to which the measuring device is connected. It receives all information from the plate, its identification serial number and the state of the plate. If everything is OK with it, the green LED lights up, if the plate needs additional testing, then the yellow one. The device can store up to 3000 measurements that can be uploaded to a computer, where you can see the full history each plate, which allows to obtain logistic statistics, useful for operation and procurement. Adding the Sensing Armor system to a bullet-proof vest will inevitably increase the cost, but the elimination of the traditional methods of testing will quickly pay back all costs. In addition, with the introduction of this system will increase the safety of the soldier, since the plates can be checked in the unit at least daily. Currently, the Sensing Armor system is at the prototype stage, but it is planned to complete the development at the beginning of 2018. In the medium term, this technology can also be applied to vehicles and other reservation systems.
In order to simplify the testing of ceramic plates of body armor, Rheinmetall developed the Sensing Armor system, which allows you to quickly check the condition of the plates using a hand-held device.
Another key focus is head protection. Last year at AUSA, Ceradyne Inc. (part of the company ZM) introduced a new combat helmet Combat II Ballistic Helmet L110. The helmet is made of composite materials based on ultrahigh molecular weight polyethylene using a patented technology of seamless casting. It implements the well-developed geometry of the Ceradyne helmets, which allows you to move freely when wearing a helmet along with bulletproof vests with collars. Large size helmet weight is 1500 grams. The complete helmet, consisting of an outer hull, a damping system, mounts and soft padding, provides a higher level of protection, its ballistic V50 barrier against fragments with a 17 mass of gran is over 1000 m / s. whereas from the bullet caliber 7.62x51 mm - 731 m / s (V0 is 640 m / s). From the 9x19 mm bullet at 427 speed, m / s, the BFD (Back-face deformation - rear surface deformation) indicator is 25,4 mm. The L110 helmet is available in small, medium, large and extra-large sizes in black, green and brown.
The latest offer in the field of head protection systems is Combat II Ballistic Helmet L110 combat helmet from ZM Ceradyne, which provides a higher level of protection with its own weight 1,5 kg
It is also worth mentioning the hearing protection system. What is better, earbuds in the ear or outdoor phones, leave for another time, we confine ourselves to a description of several new systems of both types.
ZM Peltor has developed a new TER-200 EU ear protector category (TER means Tactical EarPlug). The kit folds into a sealed plastic case, which also works as a charger due to the separation with three AA alkaline (alkaline) AA batteries, guaranteeing up to 16 charging cycles; When placed in the case, the inserts are connected to the charger, the charging time is approximately one and a half hours. The case has a Micro B USB connector that allows you to connect the charger through the appropriate cables to a computer or wall outlet. In the case fit the charger, two liners and four pairs of nozzles; the whole kit weighs 272 grams. Each liner weighing only 4 gram is powered by a lithium-ion battery, ensuring its continuous operation for about 16 hours. An omnidirectional microphone and a small antenna are built into the insert, which allows you to receive signals from a TEP-LOOP-200 microphone worn around the neck. Laboratory testing shows that the attenuation coefficient depends on the type of nozzle used and the frequency. The average attenuation ranges from 34,9 dB for the ZM Ultrafit model to 40,4 dB for the ZM Torque model; the protection evaluated is 30 dB and 36 dB, respectively. Inserts are protected against water and dust according to the standard IP67; if necessary, you can order shields to protect against wind noise. The button on each insert allows you to turn it on / off and select between three volume levels. ZM Ultrafit nozzles are available in large, medium and small sizes. The TER-200 EU system is currently being commercialized.
Increasing attention is being paid to hearing protection and therefore ZM Peltor has offered new anti-noise inserts 3MTEP-200EU with active hearing protection and wireless connection to communication systems.
Wearable neck microphone developed by ZM Peltor, complete with ZM ear plugs TER-200 EU, can be connected wirelessly to various communication equipment
At the Eurosatory 2016 exhibition, the French company Elno presented a demo of headphones that provide surround sound perception. Over time, the modified product was called Hoplite. First of all, due to the conductivity of the cartilage tissue, sound is transmitted through two conductors on the inside of the headphones, which also makes it possible to use the ear plugs to combat the loud sound. In addition, Hoplite headphones are equipped with an active noise cancellation system that can significantly reduce the noise level, especially at low frequencies. Each headset is equipped with two microphones that allows you to catch sound from different directions. Further, due to the Hoplite software, the surroundness of the external sound is restored, providing the user with spatial perception. Comfort was one of the main areas of development, so gel pads were added to the design, plus a flexible microphone with interference suppression, mounted on the left or right so that you can get a device for both right-handers and left-handers. Hoplite headphones can be connected directly to most military radio stations and intercom systems, as well as to direct-dial telephones. Headphones are powered from the radio, from the intercom system or built-in batteries. The Hoplite system weighing 500 grams is available in a standard headset configuration, with each headphone attached to the outer rails of a combat helmet. The delivery of the first sets is scheduled for the end of this year, and the output to the specified output volumes by the middle of 2018 of the year.
External hearing protection systems tend to impair acoustic orientation, but Elno’s Hoplite headphones provide full surround sensation at 360 degrees, transmitting sound through cartilage tissue
There is still an acute problem of providing a soldier with sufficiently accurate coordinates in areas with no GPS signal, for example, in built-up areas, tunnels or caves. The Israeli company Elbit Systems recently introduced the SmarTrack device, which became part of the Dominator soldiers' equipment. A product with 150 grams allows the commander to accurately track the movements of his subordinates, even in the absence of satellite communications. The system includes a radio frequency transceiver that allows data to be transmitted over a secure radio channel through the use of a patented technology, a GPS / GLONASS receiver plus interface connectors for transmitting local data. Inertial sensors based on the technology of microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) with nine degrees of freedom can achieve an accuracy of less than three meters in the absence of a satellite signal, for example, inside buildings, and the height is determined by a high-precision barometric altimeter, which provides ZD positioning. With a SmarTrack device, you can work from 4 to 100 people in one network, the relay system increases the range to seven kilometers. The device is capable of transmitting operational control information, as well as physiological indicators.
To ensure reliable navigation and orientation in areas with no GPS signal, the Israeli company Elbit Systems has developed the SmarTrack system, which guarantees the accuracy of the 3 meter and weighs only 150 grams
In response to these needs, Raytheon UK has developed a sensor positioning and navigation system DNPS (Dismounted Position and Navigation Sensor). Not much is known about the DPNS system. It is based on a set of sensors embedded in a low-profile sensor, which is currently installed on shoes. According to Raytheon UK, these sensors do not accumulate errors over time, the deviation during the owner’s movement is insignificant, which allows achieving accurate ZD positioning and navigation in the absence of a GPS signal. Even without detailed information, we can safely assume that MEMS accelerators are used to navigate X / Y axes, a MEMS barometer shows elevation differences along the Z axis. Accuracy is provided by proprietary algorithms developed by Raytheon, which use characteristics and features gait person.
The sensor of positioning and navigation DPNS (Dismounted Position and Navigation Sensor), developed by Raytheon UK, not only provides the coordinates, but also allows you to establish communication through tactile feedback
The DPNS sensor is equipped with Bluetooth wireless technology, used to connect with various devices, such as PDAs. The Raytheon system can determine if the owner remains motionless for a certain period of time (user configurable) and send an automatic warning over the radio network. The sensor also features vibration (tactile) feedback, which can be used to exchange basic messages based on a consistent code. There is no need to use other devices, for example, PDA, the signals are sent through a personal radio station. Wearing two DPNS devices, one on each leg, allows you to get two-way communication and improve accuracy by combining data from each sensor. The system has an open architecture and therefore can be integrated into various geographic information systems, including Android Tactical Assault Kit applications. At the moment, the DPNS device is mounted on shoes using belts, but other solutions are being considered. DNPS is still considered an experimental program, so the company does not provide information on batteries, autonomy, size and weight.
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