Where do you put the batteries?

#1
There was a TV programme about 10 yrs ago IIRC all about a multi-million pound project to put an electronic soldier in the field. A couple of squaddies tested it and it was w*nk. Even when they turned the gps in the helmet thru' 180 degrees part way through...

Today i got this via "Government Computing" so if they got it, presumably it's dead news - question is it sounds like the MkII of the original but does any of it actually work or is it still a case of addinbg 10kgs extra kit as well as spare ammo, batteries, ammo and rats.

And what happens when the batteries pack up? Is there a wind-up handle!

Troops test Fist IT
18 January 2005

Digitised infantry soldiers have been running round Salisbury Plain to test a new integrated battlefield system

The UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) has completed its first major testing of a system aimed at digitising battlefield operations.

A total of 70 troops belonging to the Princess of Wales Royal Regiment took part in the first tests of the £1.5bn Future Integrated Soldier Technology (Fist) programme on Salisbury Plain. The soldiers represented the organisational structure of an infantry company.

According to an official statement, the trial demonstrated "significant time reductions" in completing tasks such as navigation, locating casualties and communication of tactical information.

The troops were put through a number of scenarios including night patrol, rural fighting and urban assault. Their effectiveness was compared with the performance of a conventionally equipped infantry company. They were given prototype Fist equipment including radios, computers, Global Positioning Systems (GPS), weapon sights and cameras. All the equipment is linked together under an integrated system.

An MoD spokesperson told Government Computing News on 18 January 2005 that analysts will now evaluate the information collected.

"The next stage is to look at the information that we have gathered as part of these trials. We have a huge quantity of information to assess. Building on this trial we will look at the requirements for what technology is needed," said the spokesperson.

"We need to see whether we are in the right area as far as the equipment goes. It's not necessarily the case, for example that GPS technology will be used. We will have to see whether it is up to the task."

The MoD is working with supplier Thales to conduct the assessments of the technology, which are due to last until 2006. Once the £26m assessment phase is over, there will be a further tendering process to chose a supplier for Fist.

The MoD is likely to run another trial of the Fist technology at the end of this year.


Source: Kable's Government Computing
Publication date: 18/01/2005 11:39:50
Anyone had "hands on"?
 
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#2
I can't wait to see the headlines when this all goes wrong: Fist Fücked!' etc etc etc
 
#3
*bing*

Process Shoot at armed baddie has caused a General Protection Fault at address AE15,0000.0091. Press trigger to attempt operation manually or any other key to die in a hail of well aimed machine gun fire.
 
#5
Do you suppose that there will be a helpdesk?
 
#6
Just an idle thought of course but as they've spent 26m so far just on initial assessments (and as it will now obviously work first time 8O ) and intend to spend 1.5billion overall (for that read about 4.5 billion if it ever becomes a reality) perhaps that's why we need a "smaller and more flexible army"?

Perhaps one of the PWRRs will be reading this on his head-up display in the middle of the Plain and would like to reassure us all it's money well spent?
 
#9
given prototype Fist equipment including radios, computers, Global Positioning Systems
Unicom with a Battery pack?



This is all very well n good... robosquaddie, etc, but Why?! just more crud to go wrong, more crud to need inspecting, more crud to need servicing, more crud to need replacing...technology just for the point of technology.


Bring back the SLR, all is forgiven.
 
#11
Rgtl_Stick_Insect said:
There was a TV programme about 10 yrs ago IIRC all about a multi-million pound project to put an electronic soldier in the field. A couple of squaddies tested it and it was w*nk. Even when they turned the gps in the helmet thru' 180 degrees part way through...

Today i got this via "Government Computing" so if they got it, presumably it's dead news - question is it sounds like the MkII of the original but does any of it actually work or is it still a case of addinbg 10kgs extra kit as well as spare ammo, batteries, ammo and rats.
That's just the way technology works; it gets smaller all the time.

It's also the way research rather than development works.

Research is "Hmmm. How can we make navigation easier / faster / more reliable for the infantry".

Development is "Here's £30 million, we've decided that the infantry need head-up displays, go and make us some".

Example of how research works: you reckon that Head-Up Displays for infantrymen might be helpful. Given that you can't just walk into Maplins and say "right, I'll have a platoon's worth of head-up displays and wrist computers, please", you generally have to build your research kit first. If it was easy, or possible, you wouldn't need to research it, so the resulting research kit is likely to be cheap / cheerful (because your research will involve some blind alleys), bulky, and unrealistic. Oh, and it will break down a lot, have short battery life, and all the other issues that the program showed.

But! it can still do it's job, which is to show an infantryman what a head-up display looks like; and allow the user to say "I liked this, more of that please, oh and have you thought of X, Y, and Z?". It's a proof of concepts, not a trial of deployable kit.

Example of how development works: I worked for a radar firm. The RN said "we want a radar for our plane, go make it".

- First thing was an X-model; antenna, transmitter, receiver, and a big sod-off tape recorder. Got flown about and gathered lots of data on "what we will see", and let the physics boys figure out what equations to use in it.

- Next came the A-model; size of a bookcase, let us trial the processors that would turn radio waves into little symbols on a head-up display.

- Next came the B-model; size of a large briefcase, would fit into said plane (and mostly work), showed us where the reliability problems would be, essentially a pre-production model.

- Lastly came the production radar itself.

If you'd seen the A-model, you'd have laughed.

The mistake is to look at a trial with reliability issues, battery life issues, etc, etc, and say "it's sh*te, it will never work". That's not what the trial is for. It's there so that when MoD or Qinetiq want to put the kit out to tender, they know what they are asking for, and make up a decent specification. See the BOWMAN thread for why this is vital......

Rgtl_Stick_Insect said:
And what happens when the batteries pack up? Is there a wind-up handle!
Yes, it's the same as the hand generator for Clansman. Apparently, if you attach it to a Clansman NiCad cell, and wind for half-an-hour or so, it charges up the battery!

I'd just like to thank the Para who caught me with that one......
 
#12
Ubersniper said:
stickybomb said:
Do you suppose that there will be a helpdesk?

Yes but it will be outsourced to the country you are trying to liberate
I wonder what the IAs will be like...

Gun firing...gun firing...gun displays error message "there is a fatal exception error 176348 windows is now shutting down. Please press 1 to be connected to faults, 2 for impending death, or 3 for any other inquiry..." etc
 
#13
chimera said:
Ubersniper said:
stickybomb said:
Do you suppose that there will be a helpdesk?

Yes but it will be outsourced to the country you are trying to liberate
I wonder what the IAs will be like...

Gun firing...gun firing...gun displays error message "there is a fatal exception error 176348 windows is now shutting down. Please press 1 to be connected to faults, 2 for impending death, or 3 for any other inquiry..." etc
Yes, but that assumes that you'd be putting Windows into an embedded system. Noooooooo.............

It's a maybe for research kit (see above) in order to get something quick and dirty out for trials purposes, but the "real thing" would have to be, well, more robust.

Something nice and stable, like VxWorks, or any of the operating systems that go into safety-critical stuff like cars. Try googling "OSEK".....

BTW, my idea of a reliable system is one that runs for years without crashing. Windows doesn't quite fit the bill.

For the anoraks out there, this bloke's website is truly interesting; try this article to see what I mean:
http://www.leshatton.org/Documents/Hatton_Xmas1_03.pdf (warning - it's about 1.6Mb)
 
#14
GB

Thanks for the clarification. I'm genuinely interested in where this is going from two fronts - the technical aspects and in the extremely unlikely event of ever having to train with any of it.

I suppose my interest is also that having seen the programme about the research phase I was interested to know just what progress had been made in the dev arena. There's just this sneaking feeling that it still involves gaffer tape and that the training video stars Sly Stallone...
 
#15
Cynics the lot of you :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:
 
#16
Yes, but that assumes that you'd be putting Windows into an embedded system
It a good job then that we didn't put Windows XP as the base for the Fire Control Application for the RA then isn't it.

Oh no, sorry we did didn't we. Oh well there's always firing tables and the calculator on my mobile.
 
#17
Speckled_Jim said:
Yes, but that assumes that you'd be putting Windows into an embedded system
It a good job then that we didn't put Windows XP as the base for the Fire Control Application for the RA then isn't it.

Oh no, sorry we did didn't we. Oh well there's always firing tables and the calculator on my mobile.
At least it's Windows XP; anything before that is sh*te, IMHO.

My first programming was done on a Hewlett-Packard programmable calculator that Dad borrowed from a US Army nuclear gunner......

...said Redleg had programmed it up with all of his firing table equations. This in 1980 or so. Ooooh look, nukes going off according to Reverse Polish arithmetic!

Anyway, it seemed to be successful, because soon the US Army had a plug-in library module made (for the same model of calculator) that held all the firing tables for their Artillery, and started issuing them. About the same computing power as FACE, in a pocket calculator, only without needing a Landrover to carry it :)
 
#18
Just another bit of information with regards to Future Integrated Soldier Technology (Fist).....

Arktis UK are working with HMG on FIST, Webbing and Battlevests..... But then we all know what will happen, they will bring out good kit, the MOD will copy it, and issue W**K kit that look the same.

Regards
 
#19
thats good in theory
but how much kits been issued that seems to be the lashed up reseach version on the cheap
SA80 anyone?
 
#20
The HP calculator for artillery was an interesting procurement exercise.

The original development of artillery computer was started in the mid 60's and duly (10 years and megabucks later) produced a monstrosity complete with generator to produce the 3 phase power required.

Meanwhile in a US National Guard unit they realised:

It would be years before they got one
They weren't that good/reliable
The HP calculators were available and cheap enough for local purchase.
Unit members had them personally and knew how to program them

This was the time when civilian electronics moved ahead of military electronics and the gap has only widened since
 
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