The German armed forces, Bundeswehr, has placed a €370m order with Rheinmetall for its ‘Future Soldier – Expanded System’ (IdZ-ES) soldier systems.

The order will cover the supply of enough IdZ-ES soldier systems to equip 68 infantry platoons and more than 2,460 soldiers, Rheinmetall stated.

The modular IdZ-ES has been designed to enhance network connectivity for mechanised infantry platoons and their vehicles.

It features a battery-powered core computer, which can be worn on the soldier’s back and is therefore known as the ‘electronic backbone’.

The computer can be used to control devices and sensors carried by soldiers via various interfaces.

"The modular IdZ-ES can be used to control devices and sensors carried by soldiers via various interfaces."

It also performs a variety of functions, such as power supply management, access control and monitoring, navigation, reporting, exchange of reconnaissance and target data, processing sensor data, operator interfaces and visualisation as well as system configuration.

Using a manually operated control and display unit, a soldier can control command and communication systems.

Data regarding the current situation, the position of friendly forces (blue force tracking), the mission and system status are displayed either on a display unit or on the OLED helmet display.

The IdZ-ES is provided with ballistic body armour (Protection Class 1), an integrated ventilation shirt, and a modular harness for carrying ammunition and equipment.

In addition, a rifle-mounted push-to-talk button facilitates wireless communication even when the operator leader has raised his weapon.

The system can also be equipped with state-of-the-art optical and optronic devices.

German troops have been using IdZ-ES in Afghanistan since summer 2013.