Digitizing the Tactical Edge
Kwesst, the go to partner for soldier digitization. Soldier Mod talks to Rick Bowes, CD MA MBA, Strategic Advisor – Digitization and Counter-Threat Products
KWESST Battlefield Laser Detection System (BLDS)
Q: Soldier Modernisation has over the past years talked about 'the digital battlefield', which works through integrated systems; this has been slow in uptake but now we are seeing a real push with countries spending on systems, how do Kwesst view this and what hurdles will this overcome for front line units?
A: The real hurdle that KWESST sees with land digitization has been the ‘digital divide’ between the headquarters and mounted (platform) domains, and the soldier domain. Technology development is now at the point with handheld computing, miniaturized sensors, and evermore data capable handheld communications devices that the dismounted commander or operator can have the same (or better) level and quality service when it comes to real-time exchange of combat information and imagery.
Q: If we look at your product tactical edge, you use the term tactical IoT; if we look at developments of IoT it’s the co-ordination of many into different coordinated actions, how is this effective in the battlefield?
A: Every weapon, sensor, and device on the battlefield is either a producer or consumer (or both) of combat relevant data and information. Carefully husbanding and leveraging these data and information as actionable intelligence and/or targeting information lends toward greater soldier level lethality and survivability.
Q: Phantom is a unique product in many ways and has varied uses for smaller front line units. Could we discuss this and how it fits in terms of power usage, weight carriage and what it provides?
A: Our development path for Phantom will see it become a man-packable unit that is very economical in weight and power requirements. In essence, Phantom can provide a manoeuvre commander with a limited organic ability to better understand and utilize the tactical electro-magnetic (EM) spectrum to support an operational plan or scheme of manoeuvre. In a dispersed and high tempo operating environment, reliance on formation level EW capabilities to support one’s own tactical operations is not responsive. Phantom gives a manoeuvre commander EW capability at his/her fingertips.
KWESST's Integrated Fire Module for mortars and Digital Fires capability
Q: KWESST's BLDS is bringing laser tech in a lightweight format to off vehicle troops, this is quite a versatile piece of kit providing both defensive and offensive uses could you look at the reasons for its development?
A: The evolving nature of modern combat operations is experiencing a significant increase in the prevalence of laser-based targeting and laser-guided munitions capabilities. BLDS represents a new generation of laser warning capability that, when integrated with other systems on an armoured vehicle, can significantly enhance that vehicle crew’s ability to engage targets and protect itself against threats.
Q: Mortars are allowing indirect targeting from mortar systems as part of an integrated battlefield, this helps with both troop effectiveness and safety could you expand on this?
A: Mortars continue to be a vital indirect fire capability organic to small tactical units. Digitizing mortars (including the entire mortars team of tubes, fire controllers/observers, and fires direction centres) in terms of drastically reducing the time for a call for fire request to be executed, and in terms of increasing the accuracy of fall of shot, is proving to be a force enabler for many armies. Moreover, digitizing mortars also offers an opportunity to disperse the mortar tubes themselves, thereby realizing greater survivability from enemy counter-mortar fire.
Q: With a major contact just awarded by Canada could you expand on how you are looking to help develop their systems?
A: In a nutshell, KWESST is now at the forefront of supporting the Canadian Army in achieving its goals and objectives related to building a Digital Army.
KWESST Phantom™ Tactical Multi-Function Electro-Magnetic Spectrum Operations (EMSO) System
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