US Army developing enhanced battlespace awareness for dismounted soldiers

8 January 2015 (Last Updated January 8th, 2015 18:30)

The US Army Natick Soldier Research, Development and Engineering Center (NSRDEC) is developing a fully integrated, mobile platform that will provide organic and shared sensor information to dismounted soldiers at squad level.

Sensors

The US Army Natick Soldier Research, Development and Engineering Center (NSRDEC) is developing a fully integrated, mobile platform that will provide organic and shared sensor information to dismounted soldiers at squad level.

The NSRDEC team conducted an experiment by integrating full-motion video (FMV) sensing sources into the Nett Warrior system, which supports advanced navigation, friendly force tracking, command and control communications, and other sensor-fed information portrayals to soldiers on the ground.

Undertaken at Fort Benning, Georgia, US, the experiment was aimed at achieving successful integration and transition of the FMV information portrayal concept into the Nett Warrior system.

In addition to developing components that integrated with Nett Warrior's software architecture, the team linked video feeds from squad-organic sensors, including the dragon runner 20 unmanned ground vehicle and the cargo pocket-intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, as well as an overwatch capability from Raven unmanned aerial vehicles.

The team developed and incorporated a mobile, plug-in software application, called the tactical video viewer, into the Nett Warrior platform.

The application auto-populates what sensor feeds are available and links users to the source's live video feed, enabling Nett Warrior to act as a full-motion video server that rebroadcasts video streams on demand to other soldiers in the squad.

"Soldiers at the small unit and company levels can be viewing the same emerging battlespace picture."

NSRDEC Warfighter Directorate Mission Information team leader Dr David Darkow said: "Soldiers see a moving map application that displays blue (friendly)-force tracking, C2 (command and control) information and full-motion ISR video feeds.

"Instead of just following dots on a map, soldiers at the small unit and company levels can be viewing the same emerging battlespace picture."

The tactical video viewer is scheduled to move to the Nett Warrior and Project Manager Soldier Warrior platform, where it will be optimised for soldier performance before deployment.

According to Darkow, more work is needed to expand integration and control of battlefield sensors. This will augment the tactical information portrayal for dismounted soldiers in austere environments.


Image: US Army researchers are working to bring full-motion video sensing sources to the Nett Warrior system. Photo: courtesy of David Kamm, NSRDEC.