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Home | Programmes | Slovenia: Warrior of the 21st Century

Slovenia flagSlovenia: Warrior of the 21st Century

Incremental acquisition is the watchword of Slovenia’s Warrior programme, which in C4I terms, is maximising the use of existing equipment

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  Slovenia has no near term plans to update its night vision capabilities © AJB
  Slovenia has no near term
plans to update its night vision capabilities © AJB

Under the “Warrior of the 21st Century” programme, the Slovenian Armed Forces are rapidly modernising, acquiring significant chunks of transformational capability, integrating them within the soldier system today, while researching in parallel, other candidate domains for inclusion tomorrow.

“In one area [of capability], weapons are to some extent already finished,” explained Ales Lebar, Senior Adviser on the programme for the Ministry of Defence Logistics Directorate, Armament and Equipping Office, Military Technology, Research and Development Division. “We have bought a completely new range of weapons. Basically we have changed calibres.”

This new suite of lethality systems include the Beretta M92 FS 9mm pistol, and several weapons sourced from FN Herstal; the FN F2000 S 5.56mm assault rifle with a mix of Aimpoint sights, laser pointers and Acog optics and underbarrel grenade launcher; the Ultima Ratio Command I sniping rifle, some with integral silencer; FN’s .338 Lapua Magnum PGM Sniping rifle; the Hecate II 12.7mm rifle, the Para Minimi 5.56mm Light Machine Gun and 7.62 MAG general purpose machine gun.

New camouflage

Slovenia has now been working for almost three years on a project to provide a prototype urban and all purpose uniforms, together with the University of Ljubljana and University of Maribor. The Chief of General Staff gave the green light in March 2008 for 200 sets of the general purpose uniform to be produced for testing from January 2009.

Major Bozo Majcen, programme lead for the new uniform in the General Staff, explained that after the uniform completes its roughly eight-month assessment, the Army will make a decision whether to continue with development or begin a new project.

The material used is 100 percent cotton, ripstop material sourced from local firm Carinthia with IR protection included in the textile.

The Urban uniform is not being tested at the moment. Major Majcen explained that the pattern design was made by taking roughly 400 pictures of Ljubjana, Slovenia’s capital city and then computers were used to generate the best match in terms of colour and pattern.


“We made lot of progress in the last three years,” explained Matevz Ferjancic, Head S&T Defence Programmes, S&T IT Solutions and Services while discussing the progress of Slovenian Armed Forces in C4I. S&T is the industrial lead in the SAF’s work on C2 for the dismounted soldier. “The Army has moved from C4I experiments and the system is now pretty mature and it is being deployed. We have some milestones in January 2009 and afterwards they will equip all battalions in the Army’s 1st Brigade by the end of 2009.”

C4I is being extended down to the dismounted soldier by extending the existing IS PINK (Command & Control) activities with a new interoperable project, KISB, dedicated to dismounted operations, which was launched in 2006. KISB was designed to produce a C2 capability for a range of roles, including squad leaders, forward observers, Special Forces and patrols.

Initially only a rugged Personal Digital Assistant (PDA) device has been fielded with a moving map display and an integrated GPS. Discussing the navigation element Ferjancic said, “It replaced commercial GPS devices used by soldiers who bought them with their own money and instead used COTS commercial navigation software, sourced from Ozexplorer in Australia.”

The GPS chip is integrated into the PDA together with a digital compass. Optionally a Metrix Laser Range Finder (LRF) manufactured by the Slovenian firm Fotona, standard issue for the Slovenian army, can be connected to the PDA via a serial link to get measurement data from the LRF. In addition to C2 software, a mortar fire control programme has been implemented on the PDA. In communication terms the PDA offers many options. Ferjancic continued, “Inside we can put a GSM card, WiFi, Bluetooth and an installation of a military version of WiFi [Thales BattleLAN] is also possible.”

Systematic’s Pocket Sitaware software has also been used in the past but this is no longer the case. Ferjancic explained that Pocket SitaWare was determined not to be suitable for navigation. “We are now working on custom developed software that is not yet fielded.”

The PDA hardware is made by the Swedish company Login. The PDA’s battery can be changed on the fly without data loss and the device is also submersible and complies with IP67 environmental protection standard. Ferjancic commented, “We’ve heard comments from the military; ‘Why should we carry a big expensive brick, if we can use IPAQs and throw them away [when they break]?’”. Ferjancic has a simple answer to this: “Logistics, because then somebody has to bring in lots of IPAQs.”

  OTIS is designed to have a simple MMI
  OTIS is designed to have a simple MMI


One of the components of the KBIS programme is the Personal Tactical Information System (OTIS), a simple Head Mounted Display (HMD) based situational awareness system to display the C2 picture and share imagery. Ferjancic said “It’s a Helmet Mounted Display with embedded systems integrated into the plate carrier internally, and four buttons to control it, that’s it. We did an initial field test in August, in a MOUT training area in Slovenia. We envision that it is not something you would usually wear deep inside enemy territory. Instead you would use it for patrolling on Peace Keeping Operations while wearing ballistic protection.”

“The trick is to have a head motion sensor inside the helmet,” Ferjancic said. “If you turn you head to the right and you are looking through the HMD, you will see the compass turning to the right, and symbols will move into view, showing heading and distance [to friendly and reported enemy units].”

“We made the system really simple. The target was an almost no-button interface. If the soldier had to press a button then you were doing something wrong.” The system is only being issued to commander and team leaders within ten-man sections.

Communications Interoperability

A larger C2IS system is deployed in Infantry Fighting Vehicles within the overall IS PINK C2IS programme, which includes navigation, Blue Force Tracking, higher level C2 and data base functionality. Ferjancic adds, “The Slovenian Army is fully MIP compatible. We are fully MIP compatible with whatever we do.”

A dismounted version is also being developed aimed at company commanders that will use GD-Itronix’s MR-1 mini laptops, which will be integrated wirelessly with a number of vehicle’s sensors and weapon systems.

Slovenia currently has an eclectic mix of communication systems with the oldest being the Tadiran CNR-900 which equips most units, while the most recent one is the Harris RF5800V-HH hand held radio for dismounted troops. In the future, Thales BattleLAN could be installed on the new Patria AMV vehicles.

S&T were tasked with creating a bridging solution to enable the exchange of BFT information over these heterogeneous networks, sharing a Common Operational Picture on a Windows XP based platform.

“We are able to transfer the BFT information and some operational data over the old Tadiran radios in a type of an ad hoc Mesh network. We are providing a [software] abstraction layer for the radios. For the software engineer, it doesn’t matter which kind of radio the Army will be using. If they are using the Tadiran radios the pipe is thinner and if you are using the Harris radios the pipe is wider. It is very important that you adjust to the size of the pipe in your software, so that you don’t need to programme specifically for every type of radio.”

There are no current plans to equip every soldier with a ‘PRR’ class of radio. Other options are already available today and the flexibility of the system will allow additional systems to be added in the future. Ferjancic explained, “If the vehicle is somewhere close by, you can get data over the BattleLAN [military WiFi network] around the vehicle, if you have a radio you can get the data over the radio. And even if you don’t have these systems but instead have some other communication system that is integrated into the C2 system of the Slovenian army, you will still be able to receive the BFT information. All available data from the integrated systems is then collected and intelligently displayed in such a way that only the data that is relevant to the soldier is shown.”

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