Lightweight Land Warrior gets second wind

DOD canceled Land Warrior in 2007

The U.S. Army is continuing the resurrection of its Land Warrior program, which was officially canceled by the Defense Department in February 2007. The program provides a package of technological tools for combat personnel, including computers, global positioning systems and radios.

The Army awarded a contract, valued at up to $50 million over three years, to General Dynamics C4 Systems for engineering and logistics support services for the revived program. The company announced the win Oct. 26. The technology is currently in use by the 5th Stryker Brigade Combat Team at Spin Boldak, Afghanistan.

The contract enables field service engineers to deploy with Land Warrior-equipped units. The contract also covers support for housing, repairing and shipping spare and replacement Land Warrior gear worldwide. The Army currently owns more than 900 Land Warrior ensembles, 300 vehicle-integration kits and other Land Warrior-related equipment.

The Land Warrior system consists of a computer and mouse/keypad unit, GPS, radio, and a flip-down monocle display and is designed to improve communications, command and control at the infantry level. DOD deployed the systems to Iraq in June 2007, despite the earlier cancellation. The Stryker Brigade was the next in line to get them.

Originally, Land Warrior was to be issued to every dismounted foot soldier but today is worn only by team leaders. The newer system has also gone from 16 pounds to seven pounds, improving its ease of use. The system's weight was one reason it had initially been unpopular with soldiers.

Positive features of the new system include the ability to get text messages through even with poor radio voice communications and the map feature, which visually displays locations of fellow soldiers, reported The Register, a U.K.-based publication.

Plans are for Land Warrior, which launched in 1994, to be integrated into the Future Force Warrior program. The FFW project seeks to create a lightweight, fully integrated infantryman combat system.

About the Author

Kathleen Hickey is a freelance writer for GCN.

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