The US Army has awarded a contract to Raytheon for the development and production of a new 6.8X variant of the Advanced Field Artillery Tactical Data System (AFATDS) to help enhance operational capabilities of dismounted troops in combat zones.

The $81m contract has a performance period of two years, and can also be extended for a further additional year at a cost of $18m.

Raytheon Network Centric Systems business C4I Systems vice president Kim Kerry said that the system would bring the network to the battlefield and front-line personnel, providing them with complete and accurate information about their environment.

"Soldiers in the line of fire will be able to select the right weapons for the right targets at the right time," Kerry said.

"Soldiers in the line of fire will be able to select the right weapons for the right targets at the right time."

According to the company, the new version will provide the ground forces with general and fires command and control capabilities, from mission planning to execution stage, while focusing on improving and simplifying the user interface.

AFATDS is an integrated fire support command and control (C2) system designed to create a common operational picture from multiple sources, enabling planning, coordination and control of mortars, close air support, naval gunfire, attack helicopters, offensive electronic warfare and field artillery cannons, as well as rockets and guided missiles in the battlefield.

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By GlobalData

The system will deliver up-to-date battlefield information, target analysis and unit status, combined with target damage assessment and sensor operations to commanders during combat.

The net-centric battle command system provides processing capabilities for the ‘fires warfighting function’, which is used by all armed forces and is also installed on the US Navy’s LHA/LHD Class big deck amphibious ships.

More than 5,100 systems have been received by the army from Raytheon to date, which also provides full lifecycle support starting from development phase, stringent government testing and field support services.