U.S. Army Natick Soldier CenterLead integrator: General Dynamics C4
According to Carol Fitzgerald, program manager for the FFW Advanced Technology Demonstration, FFW is spiraling mature components to enhance the Program Executive Office Soldier’s Land Warrior system, designed for Stryker and current force interoperability.
“FFW will transition to the PEO Soldier in fiscal year 2008 to support the Army Requirements Oversight Council-approved Ground Soldier System – the next version of Land Warrior, which supports Future Combat Systems and future force interoperability,” she said.
FFW Systems participated in the experimentation of the C4ISR On-the-Move (OTM) program, run by the U.S. Army Communications – Electronics Research, Development and Engineering Center (CERDEC) leveraging an important Army field experimentation venue to assess multiple developmental technologies addressing future force network integration, including FFW.
“The primary objective for FFW in this year’s C4ISR OTM event was to demonstrate and confirm Soldier/SCU interoperability with the Army’s Future Force communication network and the integration of the Soldier Radio Waveform into our FFW system.” says Fitzgerald “We were able to accomplish this goal, while also running our system alongside the Future Force prototype and surrogate systems, fully integrated into the battle network of the exercise. This network interoperability allows soldiers to transmit voice and data, both with each other and with other units, greatly enhancing the situational awareness and combat effectiveness of our soldiers at a time when it is most needed.”
“FFW participation in this major Army experimentation venue helps the Future Combat Systems program address their risks of dismounted Soldier integration into FCS,” said Fitzgerald. “The FFW ATD is scheduled to conclude at the end of 2007, with participation in C4ISR OTM 07 and Air Assault Expeditionary Force/Spiral D serving as the culminating events.”
At the C4ISR OTM held in August 2006 at Ft. Dix, the FFW program successfully demonstrated network interoperability of the Soldier/small combat unit with the future force network. The FFW Technology Program Office delivered early prototypes of the “Increment 2” design, enabling risk reduction of the system that will continue to be enhanced throughout the remainder of the program.
The FFW Increment 1 capabilities demonstrated included: Small Combat Unit integration into the future force network via the Soldier Radio Waveform; demonstration of the Soldier Protective Individual Equipment System, an advanced body armor and load carriage system; demonstration of cooperative engagement/networked fires using digital target handoff and Non Line of Sight fire; demonstration of headgear thermal and Image-Intensification sensor fusion; demonstration of system voice control; and simulation of physiological status monitoring.
FFW Subsystems Demonstrated
As part of the test, the FFW lethality system was tested, utilizing a modified XM-104 fire control system that allows the SCU to conduct a “cooperative engagement” by sending target information from other soldiers to the grenadiers in near-real time and by using this information to ensure accurate aiming of the weapon. Also demonstrated was the FFW integrated combat ensemble, integrating the LW computer, navigation, power and soldier controls along with multiple software applications critical to advancing combat effectiveness. The combat ensemble also includes the new FFW integrated headgear system, which provides ballistic protection, integrated communications, sensor fusion and an advanced drop down eyepiece display providing the soldiers with maps, soldier and enemy positions, targets, mission plans and memory joggers.
Continued Development Outlined
FFW early Increment 2 capabilities were also demonstrated at the OTM program. These included: demonstration of Leader level Command and Control via FalconView (leveraged from the Air Force), system voice control, integrated Class I Unmanned Aerial Vehicle imagery, look-down display integrated into combat goggles, and advanced power management devices to extend mission duration; demonstration of Soldier level Situational Awareness leveraged from CERDEC’s Command and Control Mobile Intelligent Net-Centric Computing System program; Warrior Physiological Status Monitoring; and deeper integration of electronics into the FFW combat ensemble. Increment 2 is now underway with continued integration of advanced Soldier/SCU capabilities and will be demonstrated via combat exercises at the Air Assault Expeditionary Force (AAEF) Spiral C venue at Ft. Benning, Ga., this fall.