Within 4 – 5 years, LW will be enhanced by the Ground Soldier Systems ( ) to become part of the Future Combat Systems ( ). will utilize many technologies developed and demonstrated during the Future Force Warrior advanced (FFW) technology demonstration program. represents the future evolution of , introducing the future programmable radio (JTRS manpack), load carriage integrated with body armor and electronics and the ability to employ “netted lethality” by enabling individual warfighters to remotely direct weapons launched by other small unit members, or by network accessible joint platforms, beyond line of sight. Part of the program will be the integration of XM-104 weapon’s fire control systems and sights, with the commander’s and grenadier’s weapons. Within 10 years, one of the GSS objectives is to reduce the soldier’s fighting load by 50% and integrate it with all combat platforms. Currently in early evaluation phase, the program is scheduled to transition into system development and demonstration by 2008.
The new wearable radio introduced by ITT is optimized for the dismounted soldier. Weighing only 1.2 lbs, the UHF radio transmits an average 5 watt power; the radio provides a range of 2 km in open area and 1 km in urban environment. It supports communications of voice, data and video, transferring up to 2.6 Mbps over a 1.2 MHz channel. The radio is simple to operate and supports dismounted soldiers with voice connectivity to Combat Net Radios (CNR) and FBCB2 situational awareness, as it automatically generating position report, without the need for an attached PDA.
Fuel cell technology is one of the promising directions for portable power sources. At AUSA 2006, the Army Research, Development and Engineering Command (REDCOM) demonstrated the Ultracell methanol-fueled soldier fuel cell, one of the systems pioneering this field. The system provides up to 20 watts of continuous power for 9 hours. The system feeds on lightweight fuel cartridges. Such fuel cells can power a dismounted command post or be used to recharge exhausted batteries forunits. Unlike generators it has a low acoustic signature, but current systems still produce a significant heat.