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Increase Lethality and Survivability with ARC4 RECON

By Stephen Andrew, Applied Research Associates

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ARC4 RECON's daytime display.

ARC4 RECON's daytime display mounts to a standard Wilcox dovetail mount like typical NVGs. When the mission requires NVGs, quickly detach the display mount and attach your ARC4 RECON-equipped NVGs in seconds.

Arctic to jungle. Day to night. Rescue to elimination. Training to combat. Every military mission requires multiple people to coordinate, communicate and execute their role effectively under high-stress conditions where a small mistake may result in injury or death.

The term “situational awareness” was forced into our lexicon the day we entered military training. There is good reason for this. Being aware of your situation is vitally important when the chaos of combat envelopes you.

Where is the enemy? Where is your team? Where is the original target location? Where is your air support? Imagine trying to figure all of this out while enemy rounds fly past you and the deafening sound of weapons void any verbal communication. Now, add limited visibility due to a desert sandstorm or a night mission under NVGs. For those tasked with executing combat operations, these challenges exist day-in and day-out.

The experience of NATO military personnel over the last two decades has contributed greatly to the call for advanced technology solutions that improve situational awareness for warfighters and commanders. As the U.S. Army states, “Success in combat demands a technological and human edge over future threats.”1 Applied Research Associates (ARA) has answered the call and delivered this edge with ARC4 RECON.

What is ARC4 RECON?

ARC4 RECON is an advanced augmented reality (AR) technology that delivers heads-up tactical situational awareness day, or night. At less than six ounces, ARC4 RECON utilizes a small processing node and a day or night display to deliver an augmented reality view to the human eye. The processing node is attached to the user’s helmet via typical helmet rails. ARC4 RECON offers both a day and night heads-up viewer that is easily interchangeable for day-to-night missions. The day viewer mounts to a standard Wilcox dovetail mount like typical NVGs. Additionally, the nighttime attachment can attach to currently fielded NVGs.

What is unique about ARC4 RECON?

With ARA’s patent pending C3D ring technology, ARC4 RECON provides clarity when you need it most. Think about a scenario where you are reacting to contact, and an enemy munition detonates, creating a cloud of dust. With ARC4 RECON, you never lose the position of your team or enemy. Even with fused thermal/I2 systems, you still have no idea who is who, and your situational awareness is still limited by your line of sight. ARC4 solves this problem.

ARC4 RECON's patent-pending C3D ring.

ARC4 RECON's patent-pending C3D ring allows the operator to clearly see the location of and their relative position to targets, friendly positions, aircraft and neutral assets. ARC4 allows you to operate covertly at night thanks to no backlight and the elimination of IR markers. Military Grid Reference System data has been censored in the image.

What integrations exist for ARC4 RECON?

ARC4 RECON is integrated with Android Tactical Assault Kit (ATAK) and can be integrated with other battle management systems to deliver real-time updates to the warfighter’s eye, eliminating the need to look down. This allows ARC4 RECON to seamlessly integrate with remote battlefield sensors, such as UAS platforms which allows the user to benefit from their product without breaking mission focus. In other words, they don’t need to look at their phone to see reported enemy locations or other sensor specific information.


It's never been easier to get eyes on a moving target. ARC4 RECON can integrate with unmanned aerial systems and other sensors to give you your moving target's position right to your eye.

What mission sets are ideal for ARC4 RECON?

Whether training, conducting reconnaissance or carrying out kinetic operations, ARC4 RECON adds significant value. Leveraging ARC4 RECON, personnel substantially increase their situational awareness to avoid potential mishaps. ARC4 RECON gives you the latest picture of the digital battlefield right into your eye. Has the target changed? Is there a new route? New extraction point? New threats? Is the UAS giving you new information? Day or night, by foot or vehicle, ARC4 RECON is ready for virtually any mission.

Is ARC4 RECON ready to be fielded?

ARC4 software was awarded a sole-source contract by the U.S. Army in January 2019 to integrate into current and future Army vision systems and Army vision device displays. ARC4 RECON is commercially available and can be exported to countries that adhere to applicable U.S. federal regulations. ARC4 RECON is currently being assessed by the U.S. military and global special operations units.

The consensus among war planners is the future of warfare will be about finding the technological edge that enables human warfighters to win. It is why we see massive investments in robotics, artificial intelligence and augmented reality. The technological edge for the warfighter means increased lethality and survivability. ARC4 RECON is the right technology to do just that.

About the author: Stephen Andrew is a former U.S. Army Green Beret. He currently serves as a Military Operations Specialist at Applied Research Associates.

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