When I was active duty, and shortly after my first tour in Afghanistan I was selected to represent the SEAL community at Crane for the SOPMOD kit update. It was a great experience and a real eye opener as to what technology was available and what was in the RDT&E phase. The next decade or so will bring some significant advancements......
1st Line Gear:
We'll see smart uniforms that integrate armor into the entire uniform package (especially IED defense). They will include integrated solar cells for re-charging on the go, material that will encourage coagulation to stop bleeding AND nano technology built in that will blend to any environment.
2nd Line Gear:
You'll see bio enhancement packages that add strength, endurance and prevent injuries. Imagine a brace like DonJoy engineered with enhancements that allowed the Warfighter to run faster, farther with more weight and be less prone to injury. The same nano camo will cover everything. We'll see continued advancements in synthetic polymers and energy absorbing materials that allow for much lighter armor plates ("feather-weight plates"). Helmets will now come standard with fully enclosed (environmentally controlled) heads up displays in both Thermal, IR, and 3-D. They will have built in comms and be capable of on demand Google Earth, drone feeds as well as be interconnected with other Warfighters camera systems and receive target imagery from Intel.
3rd Line Gear:
The days of carrying 120lb ruck sacks are behind us. The new Warfighter will be much lighter, stronger and equipped with an extremely light 3rd line. Small packs will carry rations, water and light weight overnight gear. Solar cells built into the uniform will not only act as a power source but they will provide heat on cold nights or cooling in hotter climates ( I know of one program that is already working on this).
Sound a bit far fetched? Who would have thought unmanned drones would be monitoring battlefield fifteen years ago? We have an excellent viewership at Kit Up! and it would be great to your comments.