I can think of better ways to spend this.....

From todays Sunday Times.........

June 30, 2002

Britain spends £1bn on robo-soldiers
Jonathan Leake, Science Editor
BRITAIN’S infantrymen are to be turned into high-tech “robo-soldiers” in a £1 billion project to create one of the world’s most technologically advanced armies.  
The scheme will see the army’s traditional helmets, uniforms and rifles scrapped. Instead, soldiers will bristle with gadgets including a gun capable of shooting around corners, a computerised helmet that can download maps, and a whisper-sensitive radio implanted in the ear that will remove the need for shouted orders.  

The officer overseeing the project, Lieutenant-Colonel Dave Stewart, said the move would be among the most significant in the army’s history: “The infantryman’s war is close, personal and very often violent, brutal and dangerous. This project aims to provide a revolutionary enhancement to his operational effectiveness.”  

The project, codenamed Fist (for Future Integrated Soldier Technology), aims to turn everything a soldier wears or carries into an “integrated fighting system” with every component linked to the rest. The first such kits could be introduced from 2008, with the whole army modernised by 2012.  

At its heart will be a computerised gun capable of firing grenades or bullets and equipped with a display screen enabling a soldier to aim it from around corners or over walls without exposing his head or body.  

The gun, equipped with laser rangefinders and thermal-imaging equipment, may even have voice controls and a radio link enabling it to be fired remotely from several feet away.  

The soldier’s helmet will include a pull-down visor capable of displaying aerial views of the battlefield with the soldier’s position and those of colleagues.  

A global positioning system and transmitter on his arm will keep commanding officers and fellow soldiers in touch with his movements and reduce the risk of his being mistaken for an enemy.  

The Fist project follows combat studies which show that the biggest problems for infantrymen are not fighting enemy soldiers but finding and identifying them.  

A senior officer said: “The figures show that 50% of soldiers get lost on their way to a battle, 10% of them so badly that they never find it. Moving across country or around urban areas accurately is vital.”  

Other figures show that even when soldiers do find the battle they can sometimes shoot their comrades rather than the enemy. Estimates from the second world war suggest that about 15% of allied casualties were caused by “friendly fire”. Such confusion — which is typical of all battlefields — often leads to soldiers not using their guns at all.  

Major Simon Johns, who analyses battlefield engagement and equipment capability at the MoD, said studies showed that only 25% of soldiers in battle fired their weapons. The rest spent their time running around looking for the enemy or taking cover.  

He said: “We could improve fighting effectiveness by an estimated 75% if we could enable them all to fire their weapons rather than worrying about surviving.”  

A key issue will be to equip soldiers for urban warfare. Studies show that modern conflicts increasingly take place in towns rather than in the countryside. Stewart said: “About 60% of the world now lives in towns and that is where the fighting happens. We need kit and training suited for that.”  

The decision over who gets the £1 billion contract is vital to Britain’s defence for at least two decades. Two British contenders, BAE Systems and Marconi, are up against Raytheon, an American-owned firm, and Thales, whose roots are in France.  

All four have spent months drawing up their vision for the project and trying to convince the MoD that theirs is best. Last week, however, none wished to discuss its plans in detail.  

A BAE spokesman said: “It is very tense. The future of a big chunk of Britain’s defence industry is at stake here.”  

Raytheon, which has a UK subsidiary with 2,000 staff, has promised that much of the work would be done in Britain.  

Some say that familiarity with home computing and video gaming will make it easy for future recruits to adapt, but others fear that the army will have to raise its recruitment standards.  

So MOD understand, what we want is the lightest kit, waterproof and rip proof, with trousers that don't wear out in 10 minutes flat. Decent webbing and a lighter more FOD resistant helmet.

We want a gun that works properly, with enough length to be outside the other teams bayonet reach. We want more GPS and a whole load of other stuff.

What we don't want, is to be implanted with christ knows what, or to have to "assimilate" a sh(tload of info, when we are getting shot at. Most of all, a boffins idea of "lightweight" is invariably not the same as mine.

The FIST system itself is nothing new, it seems the only new thing is that they've decided the gross amount of cash they plan to throw into it (before adding costs for working out that defence things never go to plan, more when they notice a load of critical faults only when everyone has been issued one, and more still when it's still complete pants and the MOD finally gets an expert to make it work as advertised, a decade or two late). The last time I heard the current UK system is completely unuseable due to being insanely large and heavy (the ones used in promotional pictures are mock ups of what they hope it will look like in the end). The American land warrior system looks like it does the job though, but do we really expect the UK to buy foreign superiority when there's a British, albeit rubbish, alternative?

Mr Happy

That didn't sound like a very realistic article to me (Sunday Times Childrens section?  Maybe the quality of writing has just dropped).  The weapon they're talking about exists and you'll see it in the next Bond movie (and on 1 in 4 US Soldiers everywhere from 2005) or so I'm told.  5,56mm +30mm +range finder etc.

I saw a BBC Science based program where they covered the Brit versions of the FIST kit, to be fair the kit the boffins were playing with were big and heavy and bulky because of the difference between a feasability budget and a development budget, something the C/Sgt liaison failed to appreciate when he gave his frank and career limiting opinion on the 'trials' when 'off camera'.  

The US Land Warrior stuff I've found on the www under "Objective Force Warrior" and there's something vaguely interesting about it below.  If you do read the article then make sure you read the last paragraph as that puts a few things in context.

ORNL helping make tomorrow's soldiers all they can be

OAK RIDGE, Tenn., Feb. 21, 2002 -- Arnold Schwarzenegger as The Terminator has nothing over the Objective Force Warrior envisioned by the Army and a team from Oak Ridge National Laboratory and organizations throughout the country.

The goal is to develop a high-tech soldier with 20 times the capability of today's warrior and to have that soldier commissioned by about 2010. With advanced technologies, the Army plans to create an overmatch and greatly minimize danger to its soldiers.

"With the Objective Force Warrior, the Army wants to stretch the bounds of technology but still have something that is feasible and can be built," said George Fisher of ORNL's National Security Directorate. "The Army wants an independent look into the future to see what emerging technologies and innovative combinations of these concepts might allow."

Because of ORNL's unique capabilities and its connections to industry, institutions and technologies, the Army has asked the laboratory to coordinate a unique visioning process.

"What we're calling 'the art of the possible' in enabling technologies will leverage the Department of Energy's considerable investment and technologies," Fisher said.

Concept design teams were composed of futurists, systems engineers, biologists, military experts, human factors specialists, writers and others of diverse backgrounds. The teams met late last year and submitted a proposed plan of attack to the Army in December.

Innovative technologies would allow a soldier to engage and destroy the enemy at longer ranges with greater precision and with devastating results, Fisher said. Technologies that would make that possible include better communications devices, advanced situational awareness software, chem-bio detection and protection, advanced weapons, and protective equipment.

Fatigues and the flak jacket of the past, for example, would be replaced by a system designed to protect a soldier and provide hemorrhage control in case a bullet penetrates. The helmet of the future warrior might be a sealed unit that contains communications, vision enhancements, a laser for target ranging and a heads-up display.

To provide a glimpse into the future, one of the panels submitted a hypothetical letter from a soldier to his parents dated Oct. 30, 2017.

In the letter, the young soldier writes, "My suit has the ability to stop a rifle bullet. It is made of a material that is as flexible as my football jersey but gets hard as steel when a bullet or knife is pushed into it. The material has some kind of chemical in it that lets fresh air pass through it but stops and destroys chemical warfare agents . . .

"If I do get injured, the suit automatically inflates over the wound, stopping the bleeding and applying medicine to the injury until our medic can come help me."

The letter continues: "Remember how you used to tell me that playing all those video games wouldn't get me anywhere in life? You have to see my helmet to believe it. It's like an IMAX movie right before my eyes."

The helmet of the future will allow a soldier to monitor power reserves, will show the range of an enemy and will provide an enormous amount of additional information, including the capabilities of the enemy.

While many of the technologies to make the Objective Force Warrior a reality are maturing today, several others, called "breakthrough technologies," have yet to be developed. These include advanced fuel cells, exoskeletons, directed energy lethal and non-lethal weapons, and lethal robotics. The exoskeleton would augment the strength of a soldier and enhance mobility, speed, endurance, range and load-carrying capabilities.
Personally I think Dave Stewarts done very well to have reached that rank since Annie Lennox left to persue a solo career.  
    Why not just by the yank kit if they get it to work
the only thing which bae/royal ordance make that i trust is that green plastic bag the rounds come in just right for a note book  or pair of socks
i would say that a lot more of our equipment is going to be bought from our euro counterparts, since when has new labour given a stuff about british industry.

Mr Happy

Gosh, that would be the third correct thing that the government will have done since they got in.

The first - pretending to be conservatives without making the same mistakes.

The second - not to fck up the economy


War Hero
Can you really expect to get a load of infantry to accept a "*******" from the MOD?

Oh they do already!

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