Better Connections for Better Decisions
Fischer Connectors’ Defence Solutions Help Connected Soldiers Make Better Decisions Faster
OADA in a nutshell
Soldier modernisation programs take on new urgency as funding priorities shift and operational demands increase. Fischer Connectors is laser-focused on the challenges posed by resource constraints and changing operational environments. Its defence connectivity solutions offer new capabilities and innovative, economical approaches to help soldiers and commanders at every level make better decisions faster – when observing, orienting, deciding and acting (OODA) in unforgiving operational environments.
There is no doubt that military forces worldwide are adapting their equipment and operating models to new levels of operational intensity. As the US Army Vision describes, forces are refocusing on “high-intensity conflict […] in dense urban terrain, in electronically degraded environments and under constant surveillance”. 1
Today’s modernisation efforts are increasingly focused on optimising the ability of individual soldiers and small units to share and process information using advanced digital technology. The digital “revolution in military affairs” is happening as four key technologies have matured: artificial intelligence, augmented reality, miniaturised inexpensive sensors and efficient wearable power supplies. These four critical technologies create unprecedented demands for connections capable of handling massive amounts of data with minimal power and weight.
The four revolutionary technologies are evident in the US Army’s Integrated Visual Augmentation System (IVAS), recently approved for production. IVAS needs all four technologies to deliver its full capability, and the rush is on for effective, modular solutions to complement the massive latent capability of this new system. In the US, Army acquisition authorities are searching for soldier modernisation solutions including “body-worn systems, hand-held devices, smart lightweight electronic components and information processing to increase soldier manoeuvrability and protection through on-soldier sensing, remote sensing and knowledge management.” 2
But what advantages will these revolutionary technologies bring on the battlefield? Unlike a new warhead with easily measurable qualities like accuracy or penetration, soldier-worn systems require a different yardstick. These systems connect soldiers with many types of information, and their advantage is measured in the quality and speed of decisions – those made by individual soldiers, and by commanders at every level. To take full advantage of revolutionary technologies, soldier-worn technology must collect and distribute information – that is, this technology must gain and maintain “connectivity” at each stage of the decision-making cycle.
Fischer Connectors is meeting these new requirements with solutions that enhance connectivity at every phase in the decision-making cycle – observing, orienting, deciding and acting (OODA). Soldier-worn technology has to contribute to rapid information processing, and Fischer Connectors provides the products to move information swiftly, reliably and with minimal power and size.
Soldiers operating in dense urban environments need more than their own eyes to observe and detect threats. Observations from unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), sensors, advanced optics, even satellite imagery and video are now available at the lowest levels of the chain of command. How can these sources be sorted, integrated and processed to understand the environment, without overwhelming the observer? Too many devices, connected in a web of cables, make tactical observations more difficult for soldiers in fast-changing situations.
Fischer Connectors contributes to efficient tactical observation through a large variety of ultra-rugged, compact and easy-to-use connectivity solutions. Fischer Freedom™ connectors and cable assemblies offer the latest technology, with enhanced interaction design, integration capability, and plug-and-go functionality. The Freedom technology allows soldiers to connect and route observation devices in any direction, ensuring that external cables always run straight to the device. Straight connections allow soldiers to manage more devices with lightweight, uncomplicated connectors. Straight connections mean shorter cables, fewer tangles and better usability because equipment is lighter and faster to set up.
Which observations require immediate attention? Which must be reported, and which can be ignored? Unless the soldier can orient rapidly and accurately, observation data – and expensive sensor equipment – can be wasted.
Fischer Connectors helps soldiers orient efficiently on tactical threats by providing reliable power and data connections to the new Wearin’ tactical hub. Using military-standard Fischer Connectors solutions and the lightweight, body-worn Wearin’ hub, a soldier can move data efficiently from multiple sensors and communication devices onto the End-User Device (EUD) for processing and evaluation. Fischer Freedom™ connectors and cable assemblies deliver rock-solid power and data connections with IP68-level sealing, while eliminating key codes and delivering 360º mating freedom.
Cable-free solutions can also be achieved by integrating the panel plug directly into the housing of wearable devices such as radios, bodycams, LEDs, and alert systems or biometric sensors. These wearables can be mated quickly and easily to ready-to-use cabled receptacles or receptacles with the new Quick Detach System fitted into the fabric of a smart tactical vest.
Keeping multiple devices in view and reliably connected through the hub allows soldiers to focus on the data – instead of on the devices and connections. Better focus can lead to faster, more accurate orientation to threats, maximising the impact of soldier-worn sensors and communication devices.
When the soldier and unit are correctly oriented, options have to be defined and a course of action selected. This takes fast, accurate communication within the unit, and between the unit and its headquarters, adjacent units and supporting elements.
Fischer Connectors’ Defence products add reliability and speed to military decision-making processes by keeping soldiers reliably connected to their communications and sensor suites. Shorter cables, a compact, efficient hub and tight power and data connections minimise “out of communication” challenges that slow decision making and add risk in tactical environments.
When a decision is made, soldiers need to be able to move, act and communicate rapidly and accurately. The new Wearin’ connected vest is a revolutionary step forward in connected soldier mobility because it minimises external snagging hazards and allows instant connection or disconnection of wearable devices. By using a single battery to power all the soldier’s body-worn technology, the Wearin’ solution lightens the soldier’s load, increasing agility and speed of movement. No soldier should have to think about connected devices when the time comes for decisive action, and the Fischer Connectors/Wearin’ solution – improved connectors, tactical hub, low-profile cables and optimised power management – is the ideal approach for helping soldiers act with maximum effect.
The next generation of soldier-worn equipment will allow individual soldiers to apply information and insight once available – if at all – only to higher commanders and staff. Keeping this information moving – rapidly, reliably and efficiently – is Fischer Connectors’ mission on the modern battlefield.
The NATO STANAG 4695-compatible Fischer UltiMate™ 80 (left) is ultra-rugged: high resistance to corrosion (500h salt mist), up to 10,000 mating cycles for the plug / 5,000 for the receptacle, random vibration 7.7 Grms, shock resistance (100 G), cable bending resistance (+/-45° for 5000 cycles), temperature (-55 °C to +135 °C), IP68 sealing 2m/24h even unmated. Delivered pre-cabled.
New at Fischer Connectors
Military OEM design engineers of wearable devices and tactical vests can simplify their designs and connectivity solutions with Fischer connectors and cable assemblies, which optimise soldier productivity at every step of the decision cycle – observing, orienting, deciding and acting.
The plug-and-go Fischer Freedom™ Series with 360º mating freedom has been specially engineered to optimise cable and power management. The panel plug can be directly integrated into the housing of wearables such as sensors, bodycams, LEDs, IR beacons, flash drives, etc. These wearables can quickly be mated to the ready-to-use cabled receptacle with the new Quick Detach System fitted into the fabric of Wearin's new connected vest (read SoldierMod V26).
Intermateable with other NATO STANAG 4695 connectors and compliant with both MIL-STD-810 and MIL-STD-202, the field-ready Fischer UltiMate™ 80 connector is exceptionally rugged by any market standards and provides environmental and mechanical performance and endurance that outperform by far other suppliers’ similar connectors. The new Fischer UltiMate™ connector in size 15 meets special power and high-speed data requirements for further design and technology developments with various contact layouts (up to 27 signal and power contacts).
The ultra-dense Fischer MiniMax™ Series pushes the boundaries of connector engineering in rugged miniaturization, high-speed data transmission, and sealing, with high-speed AWG24 Ethernet data transfer and enhanced IP68 sealing down to 20m/24h.
David Ptacek, National Sales Director and Ray Benson, Regional Sales Manager, Fischer Connectors, Inc., North & South America
1 “The Army Strategy” available at www.army.mil/e2/downloads/rv7/the_army_strategy_2018.pdf
2 US Army Devcom Broad Agency Announcement, March 2020. Available at www.dsjournal.com/2020/03/26/us-army-combat-capabilities-development-commands-soldier-center-issues-broad-agency-announcement-baa-for-basic-and-applied-research/
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