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Next steps towards the Digital Brigade - Rheinmetall
to showcase GLADIUS 2.0 developments at Eurosatory

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As a user-centric soldier system solution, Rheinmetall's GLADIUS 2.0 already has a proven reputation, using open, modular and scalable architecture to provide unrivalled communications infrastructure in a range of conditions. Further developments - set to be showcased at Eurosatory - will guarantee even more of a decisive advantage. In addition, the latest iteration is another step forward in Rheinmetall's mission around the digitalization of the battlefield and creation of what it has dubbed a Digital Brigade' that it predicts is the future of the armed forces globally.

GLADIUS 2.0 demonstrates Rheinmetall's mission to create a user-centric system based on individual requirements, providing a modular and scalable architecture that can adapt according to mission profiles. An example of this is the use of different variants - Light, Flex and Multi-role - that allow for customization dependant on scenario, with the option of adding further accessories for specific missions and the possibility of future upgrades. This flexible infrastructure, allowing the system to react to needs of users and customise configurations accordingly, has long been an appeal of the system along with its open architecture that is further improved thanks to the addition of an Android-based version alongside the current Windows-based software infrastructure. In addition, the Tactical Core, a software product developed by blackned, acts as interoperable middleware to increase connectivity. Battle Management Systems (BMS) applications can offer expanded sensor-effector network functions and act as a human-machine interface. Such developments and attributes are key to Rheinmetall's role as the competence center for the integration of in-house solutions such as Battle Management System TacNet or external solutions such as the Tactical Core or Android Tactical Assault Kit (ATAK) software.

The latest GLADIUS 2.0 developments will be unveiled at Eurosatory, where potential customers can visit the Rheinmetall stand for live demos and information, as well as an insight into how GLADIUS 2.0 plays a key role in the next steps towards the digitalization and why soldier systems are a critical element on the battlefield of the future.

A proven system - made even more flexible

Rheinmetall has been implementing the networking of soldiers since 2006, with its latest developments to GLADIUS 2.0 designed to allow even more flexibility and situational awareness to the soldier on the ground. “We are able to incorporate and integrate all of the latest components and accessories available in the market into our open architecture. Beside our 15 years of partnership with the German Armed Forces, we are engaged in NATO and EU to push digital soldier systems forward”, says Rico Becker, Sales Manager Land C4I Systems. “The GLADIUS 2.0 system is a combat-proven system using established infrastructure but offers huge upgrade potential, with the capability of integrating additional components and systems, ensuring it is futureproof.” This includes the use of wireless technologies to reduce cabling, and integrating modern communication technologies like 5G with current tactical communication. It also allows the integration of body sensor systems to monitor the (physical) status and performance of the soldier as well as the integration of uncrewed solutions - both in-house and external - such as UAVs for reconnaissance and engagement of targets.

Creating a Digital Brigade

GLADIUS 2.0 is not just another system in its own right, but a key element when it comes to the digitalization of the battlefield, an area Rheinmetall is focused on as the future of armed forces across the globe. Its vision is of a digital brigade that interconnects sensors, systems and decision-making with the potential to expand to a fully digital military ecosystem. To achieve that, Rheinmetall has already started creating an interconnected infrastructure incorporating its Tactical Management System and the Tactical Core of blackned, for example, and is keen to work with other companies to integrate their assets into its digital brigade approach.

The creation of this digital infrastructure will help address the challenges of the battlefield of today, where information is key, and the faster that information is transmitted can make all the difference, explains Patrick Galler, Head of Digitalisation, Technology Management, Research and Innovation Management at Rheinmetall. He simplifies Rheinmetall's vision in four key words: sense; connect; automate and dominate. The interlinking of sensors, used to connect each system and each human together thanks to the Tactical Core, then enables the automations of certain elements, whether sensor-to-shooter or human-machine teaming, or through software application. “With this optimization, we can dominate the battlefield,” he tells Soldier Modernisation. In order to bring Rheinmetall's digital brigade vision to life, the company has identified a series of use cases or scenarios that will be showcased at Eurosatory. “We want to build up a partner network together with other companies to reach our goal and to showcase some kind of digitalized brigades - battlefield entities, vehicles, robotics, soldiers and so on - to show the benefit of the digitalization,” he said.

AI based sensor to shooter

AI-based image recognition and algorithms are used to analyse video streams sent from vehicles to determine type of vehicle and location. This will be forwarded to other connected systems, essentially providing sensor-to-shooter capability, explains Galler.

Embedded Simulation

This enables vehicle integrated simulation and training, explains Galler. “Our customers will use the original system and their original sensors, but they train to fight against synthetic enemies in a mission rehearsal or training environment.” This embedded simulation runs on the Tactical Management System, together with the Tactical Core, and can be supported by any vehicle.

Unmanned Control Service Application

Rheinmetall has developed an Unmanned Control Service Application, creating a middleware for controlling UAVs, UGVs, and even underwater robotics. This would allow uncrewed assets to act as loitering ammunition, becoming integrated into a mission in order to create a decisive advantage. This feature could be integrated into any digital system, according to customer requirements.

Decision Support Module

The Decision Support Module allows the identification of own and enemy troops and their positions, as well as analysis of the terrain, using AI to automatically select what optimal positions are, where to place vehicles, where to hide, and any other tactical advantages. This application can be integrated into any vehicle and soldier system.

The key, explains Galler, is that the applications do not work in isolation, but are seamlessly integrated into the overall system, making them invaluable to the dismounted soldier as well as to command hubs of operations. “We've seen a lot of applications which are helpful tools and helpful applications, but here we are working on new technologies, new applications, and digitalization, which will be seamlessly harmonised with the existing products and solutions. Within this framework, all platforms which support this are able to handle the attack application, the Unmanned Control Service app, can enable the Embedded Simulation or the Position Selection etc. And this is our approach to the Digital Brigade.” Perhaps most importantly, Rheinmetall recognises that it cannot do this alone, but only by bringing partners on board and working collaboratively will it be able to create the digital ecosystem it envisions. “Partnership is incredibly important. We recognise that not every customer wants to buy everything from a single source, so we have an open architecture to integrate, for example, other UAVs, UGVs, vehicles, sensors within our digital brigade approach. Around that mission of sense, connect, automate and dominate, we focus on use cases from our customer's point of view - scenarios where our open architecture means we can invite every partner or company who would want to join our family here.

Find out more at Eurosatory

With its vision going far beyond developments around GLADIUS 2.0 and into the future digitalization of the armed forces across the globe, Rheinmetall is keen to showcase its developments and mission. Visit the Rheinmetall stand at Eurosatory 2024 for demos and more at stand F115 in the outdoor area.

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