It looks as if high speed operators are about to go digital -- very digital.
According to PEO Soldier program manager for the Ground Soldier System -- the son of the cancelled Land Warrior program -- a Special Forces battalion will be outfitted with the high-tech network gear next year for use in combat operations. Col. Will Riggins said the unit is as yet unknown, but this time instead of each team leader getting the suite of gear, each SF team member will be issued the Soldier Warrior system.
"It'll be a new use for that system," Riggins said. "The suite we'll be giving them is pretty similar to what we've done for OEF."
So the operators will get a Soldier-worn computer packed with Army battle command software with an improved graphical user interface, a network-linked radio with an "over the horizon" capability -- in other words the Special Forces variant will have SatCom built in -- "so that we're not restricted to line of sight."
"One of the things we'll be working with the unit on as we begin to integrate into their formation is going to be how we can smartly choose what goes over the line and how often it goes over," Riggins explained, adding that operators won't have to wield that cumbersome weapon sight that's currently part of been cut from the Land Warrior suite.
"That was a big lesson learned is that right now the technology isn't ready," Riggins said. "The biggest reason is that right now we're restricted to cables," he explained, adding that PEO is trying to go wireless with all the LW components.
"Once we're there I think we're going to have another huge jump in capability," he said.
Riggins said the SF guys will get the same configuration that the Army's 5th Brigade of the 2nd ID in Iraq Afghanistan right now -- which is not too different from the 4/9 suite in terms of weight and complexity.
"We're not seeing any substantial change in the footprint or the weight of that system," he said.