Army wants soldiers to carry more technology, less weight

Army wants soldiers to carry more technology, less weight

The Army yesterday chose two lead integrators for concept development under the Objective Force Warrior program. Their mission is to reduce the weight of a combat soldier's load from 100 pounds to less than 50 pounds by 2008.

Eagle Enterprise Inc. of Westminster, Md., and Exponent Inc. of Menlo Park, Calif., will each receive $7.5 million for the concept development phase. The program covers work on multifunction sensors, networked communications, positioning navigation, and unmanned air and ground systems.

'These agreements mark a major milestone for Army science and technology,' said A. Michael Andrews, deputy assistant secretary of the Army for research and technology. 'Our goal is the most survivable and lethal force in the world.'

Andrews said the program aims for a 40-pound fighting load in all terrain and weather conditions. Ultimately, he said, each soldier's equipment should weigh no more than 15 pounds for greater agility than combat forces now have.

Concept development is the first part of a two-phase program. In the second phase, the Army will select one of the two contractors to complete Objective Force Warrior designs and integrate the program's technologies and subsystems.

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