A series of networked operational tests have been successfully conducted by the US Army on the first pairing of a common controller device with equipment being used by soldiers in the battlefield.

According to army officials involved in brigade combat team modernisation, the network capability is expected to prove critical in rural areas where vehicles cannot travel as well as when the brigade network is being established.

The common controller and man packable network interoperability and network evaluation experiment test is the first connection of the army’s common controller with equipment from the Land Warrior effort.

During the experiment, a robot was deployed by the common controller operator to perform reconnaissance around a building. With the help of the robot’s video camera, the operator observed a man exit a vehicle loaded with explosives.

The suspect’s image was captured by the operator and was sent, along with a text report, to a Land Warrior-equipped platoon, which in response set up a road block and captured the suspect.

The operator inside the networked vehicle could send the data and imagery to a remote tactical operations centre where commanders analyse and perform actions accordingly.

The common controller can control the class unmanned aerial system, the multifunctional utility / logistics equipment (MULE), the small unmanned ground vehicle (SUGV) and urban unattended ground sensors (U-UGS).