The US Army has awarded a contract to Raytheon to provide engineering services in support of its Air Soldier System (Air SS).
The army’s Air SS is a flight crew life support equipment that integrates protective clothing, personal electronics and survival equipment.
As part of the programme, aviators will be provided with mission and survivable gear including wearable electronics.
The effort aims to improve mission effectiveness and survivability of aircrews operating the rotary-wing aircraft such as UH-60A/L and CH-47.
Under the contract, Raytheon is responsible for loading situational awareness and mission planning applications on commercial off-the-shelf phones and tablets.
Raytheon Intelligence, Information and Services business vice-president Matt Gilligan said: “We’re helping aircrews and ground forces better communicate and collaborate in real-time on the battlefield.
“Right now Blackhawk crews and dismounted soldiers rely heavily on voice communications during a mission, and when dynamics are changing in the air and on the ground minute by minute, that’s a huge challenge.”
The handheld devices will be connected through secure Wi-Fi for use by the aircrews.
Using the mobile devices, aircrews will be able to view and share information on weather, track friendly forces, and send or receive secure text messages when operating in air and on ground.
This increases situational awareness and enhances air-to-ground communication between combat teams even under changing circumstances.
The Air SS system was recently used by the Tennessee National Guard during Shaken Fury exercise held this year.
The exercise was conducted by the Federal Emergency Management Agency and involved testing a new piece of equipment provided by Raytheon.