Land Warrior System to Improve Soldier's Ability on Battlefield
By K.L. Vantran
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, March 25, 2004 Although the complete Land Warrior System - a modular, integrated fighting system that includes everything an infantry soldier wears or carries on the battlefield - is not due to be fielded until 2007, troops in the field already benefit from several of its components.
Spc. Akili King, representing Program Executive Officer Soldier, demonstrates the Land Warrior System, a modular integrated fighting system that includes everything an infantry soldier wears or carries on the battlefield. Photo courtesy of Program Executive Officer Soldier
(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.
The goal of Land Warrior, said Army Col. Ted Johnson, project manager for Soldier Warrior, Program Executive Office Soldier at Fort Belvoir, Va., is to improve a soldier's ability on the battlefield. This, he added, includes enhancing a soldier's mobility, situational awareness (command and control and communications), lethality, sustainability and survivability.
The original intent, said the colonel, was for Land Warrior to be fielded as a head-to-toe system, but that process has changed.
"A lot of it has to do with 9/11 and the advent of combat operations (in Iraq and Afghanistan)," said Johnson. "What we're doing now is spiraling out individual things if we can. If something is ready now, we'll get it to the force."
Examples include personal protection body armor, lighter-weight helmets and the commander's digital assistant, which provides situational awareness and mission planning capabilities.
"The close fight can now be prosecuted without worrying about having all small- unit members within sight or shouting distance," said Johnson. "(With the CDA) they know where they're going, they know where you are, and you know where they are."
One of the system's achievements, said Army Lt. Col. Dave Gallop, product manager for Land Warrior, is how it has been leveraged to Stryker Force capabilities. The Stryker, the combat vehicle for the Army's interim brigade combat teams, is a highly deployable, wheeled armored vehicle that combines firepower, battlefield mobility, survivability and versatility, with reduced logistics requirements.
"We've optimized Land Warrior for Stryker operations," Gallop said. "It can do operations away from the Stryker, but it's at its peak performance when it is working based out of a Stryker."
While the Land Warrior System has proven its functionality, the challenge is making the system "rugged enough" to sustain the rigors of battlefield operations, Johnson said.
"(You) have to make sure the cables and connectors you design are able to handle the stresses and strains of the 180-pound, 19-year-old private who is busting down doors, taking prisoners, getting in and out of combat vehicles, rolling in the dirt, falling into the dyke and scrambling up the other side soaking wet," said Johnson.
"The challenge is making the system rugged enough, reliable enough, durable enough to be out there in the streets of Baghdad, or in the hills of Afghanistan in January with two feet of snow, or in Haiti with the humidity and mugginess."
A prototype for the Land Warrior System is scheduled for testing in October.