In DTI’s October issue, Christina Mackenzie, Nicholas Fiorenza and I put together a look at the biggest soldier modernization programs being undertaken by our NATO allies, from the French Fantassin à Equipements et Liaisons Intégrés, which is about to be deployed to Afghanistan; to the German Infanterist der Zukunft, which has already been deployed; to the Spanish Combatiente del Futuro, which is currently being threatened by budget cuts.
One of the programs that didn’t make the piece was Canada’s Integrated Soldier Systems Project (ISSP), which should see a request for proposals hit the streets some time this fall, according to Canadian officials. Following that, a contract award is anticipated in early 2013 and equipment deliveries are expected to begin in the summer of 2014.
Department of National Defense spokesperson Lindsay Hughes says the Canadian military—much like its American cousin—has had about enough of developmental technologies, and “is focused on equipment and technologies that are currently available on the market, or are soon to be made available on the market.”
Also like its American and European counterparts, the Canadian system aims to provide the soldier with “an integrated suite of equipment that includes electronic devices, sensors and individual equipment,” Hughes says, “including network-enabled communications for voice and data; orientation and navigational aids for complex terrain; an integrated power and data infrastructure; interface to sensors such as laser range finders and thermal imagers; visual and auditory displays; and digital maps. ISSP will provide integration of communications, command and situational awareness across the soldier network.”
As for the constantly morphing U.S. modernization kit, yesterday PEO Soldier rolled out the latest version of its Nett Warrior wearable communication suite, which has ditched some of its bulky 20th century radios in favor of an Android-powered smart-phone type device -- though the Army steadfastly refuses to call it a phone. Then there’s the service’s Army Expeditionary Warrior Experiment happening right now down at Ft. Benning—which I’ll be bringing you on-the-ground coverage of soon—which is also testing smart phones, as is the Army’s Network Integration Experiment down at Ft. Bliss, which we’ll be bringing you plenty of coverage of next week at the AUSA show here in D.C. Lots going on in this area, but for now, click on through to see what our allies are up to.