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  SoldierMod Volume 11 - May 2013
Volume 11 Articles

Country flagImproved Communication =
Improved Capability

Ross Jones, Programme Leader for Dismounted Soldier Systems, DST Programme Office, UK MoD, on the current research to deliver dismounted capability to the UK soldier

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There are many critical factors that affect how a soldier is able to carry out their duties in the field. From the load they carry to the flexibility of their armour. But there is one area that is receiving particularly close attention from research facilities across the globe right now, and that is communication.

Comms technology is still very much on the steep ascent of the development S-curve which we see in our everyday lives with the smartphone you have in your pocket or that new iPad you’re still trying to justify buying. Comms tech for the dismounted soldier is no different.

Ross Jones is Programme Leader for Dismounted Soldier Systems in the DST Programme Office for the UK MoD and is currently working on a research project that incorporates C4, Lethality, ISTAR, Mobility and Sustainability to deliver dismounted capability to the UK soldier.

Soldier Technology spoke to Mr Jones to tell us more about the current research.

Q: What is the current position of dismounted soldier systems that triggered the research?
A: Current operations have seen a significant improvement in the capability of the UK dismounted soldier. As we look to draw down from current operations and align ourselves to future plans and structures it is essential for us to learn the lessons and conduct research to close any gaps in the future capability requirements.

Q: What areas is this research covering?
A: There is research being conducted covering all aspects of the dismounted soldiers capability, from his comms and sensors to his survivability. All aspects are being considered, especially on how they all work together as a soldier system.

Q: How are you carrying out the research?
A: The research is being conducted mostly through teams of industry and academia, to ensure we draw on the best in class of UK and international expertise. Some aspects will be conducted in government but it is very much a partnership to ensure the best output for our armed forces.
Q: When and how do you expect to deliver the results?
A: Results will take the form of anything from reports to technical demonstrators, dependant on the needs of the military customer, and are currently planned to be delivered over the course of the next 5 years to meet a variety of military decision points, but will also go out longer term to ensure we are prepared for future challenges.

Q: What results are you expecting to see, if you have any expectations?
A: Ultimately the results will culminate in the improved capability of UK dismounted soldiers, to be better able to deal with the challenges of future operations. Being able to monitor this improvement to ensure we invest in the right areas will be key to achieving this.

Q: What technologies do you expect will be/would you like to see deployed as a result of this research?
A: We are always looking to improve our comms network, and would like to get to the point where we have the optimal network down at the individual soldier level which has the required bandwidth and latency, and is scalable, modular and affordable. This will be the backbone that will enable a number of capabilities required both now and in the future.
It will enable the exploitation and experimentation of different technology insertions which are being developed such as blue force tracking, target hand off etc. and assess their impact on improving overall soldier capability.

Soldier communications technology research will be a core focus at Soldier Technology, the world’s only global soldier and marine modernisation meeting, taking place 11-14 June 2013 in London.

The event attracts 450+ soldier modernisation programme managers, prime contractors and equipment manufacturers annually. Soldier Technology will gather the key national programmes and their stakeholders mentioned above to drive innovation and export opportunities.

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