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Future Force Warrior (previously known as Objective Force Warrior) is now scheduled to be the third capability upgrade phase of the Land warrior System (formerly known as Land Warrior Block III). Future Force Warrior (FFW) is designed as an integrated “system of systems”, as part of the army transformation to a soldier-centric force which will complement and fully integrate with the Future Combat Systems (FCS).

Two uniform systems are under development. The Future Force Warrior system will be available for fielding to soldiers in 2010. The Vision 2020 Future Warrior system, which will follow on the concept of the 2010 Future Force Warrior system, 10 years later. General Dynamics Eagle Enterprise unit is the technology integration team leader for FFW, Currently in detailed design phase. The current program will be followed by prototype development and demonstration and non-competitive system development and demonstration phases FFW program is scheduled for completion by the year 2010 and worth between one to three billion US$ over a ten year period.

The latest version of FFW suites were put to a test during a series of exercise conducted with current forces, through the summer and autumn of 2006. These tests highlighted the maturity of some systems which were not performing satisfactorily with earlier Land warrior type systems, currently deployed with units of the 4th Stryker Brigade Combat Team at Ft. Lewis Wash. At the recent exercises the system’s computers were used with two ‘off the shelf’ applications which added functionality and value for the users. The computing platforms used with the FFW system supports standard Windows-based applications which contribute to rapid learning curve, especially by young soldiers. For basic position location and mapping functions, the systems uses CERDEC’s Command and Control Mobile Net-Centric Computing System (C2MINCS) framework. Memory joggers were also used for quick recall of complex and infrequently used tasks. Lessons learned during these tests are planned to be introduced as retrofits into existing systems, such as Land Warrior

Fires, rout and target planning functions were provided by the FalconView mapping software. Both applications were mastered by the users in a matter of hours. Ease of route planning by the use of FalconView allows for more rehearsal and time of mission preparation. All soldiers have the ability to navigate using either the Leader or Soldier system; this results in the reduction of breaks in contact during movement and allows for any soldier to lead the movement if needed. Normal movements to the objective were almost cut in half, because the soldiers could monitor their location and route over the goggle mounted display and did not have to stop for map checks. Furthermore, team leaders did not have to continuously look for others in their team because they had their icon present and could talk to them.

With the system maintaining constant tracking of locations and fire directions of each warfighter, FFW could assist soldiers in he prevention of potential fratricide situations in combat. Furthermore, the support by fire leader can track all movement of the assault element by icon in the event of normal fire control standard operating procedures failing. Both applications could also be integrated with the Multi-Function Laser (MFL) providing soldiers the ability to transmit locations of hostile targets by lazing, eliminating the need to estimate distance, elevation and direction to the target.

Therefore, the FFW element can instantly ‘close the sensor to shooter’ loop, transmit the enemy location immediately, without unnecessary movement or use of voice that may compromise their position. Such integration will allow the soldier and Small Combat Unit (SCU) to link to any platform. During the recent exercises, teams successfully transferred target data digitally from the FFW team directly to the US Air Force F-16s and A-10 fighters, mediated through Tactical Air Control (TAC) personnel. Links between SCU and Army Apache helicopters are scheduled for demonstration in 2007. Fire planning services are supported by the ‘Barebones’, a version of a USAF targeting application known as ‘BareBack’. The system simplifies and streamlines the complex preparation of fire support missions. Operated in synch with FalconView, these applications prepare a shared database of targets and fire plans that can be used and monitored by all participants.

The employment of voice communications in addition to SA picture allows all soldiers to participate in the command and control of all missions by having the ability to listen to all traffic and view icons of sub-tasks being conducted within the squad. This allows less dissemination by team leaders which equals less unnecessary movement and quick, more fluid patrols. Such systems usually provide infantry team leaders with a ‘Birdseye View’ of the area, showing the targets, supported forces, lines of fire and potential conflicts.

FFW is designed to provide ten-fold increase in lethality and survivability of the infantry platoon. Such dramatic increase will be achieved by enhanced situational awareness, precise and effective firepower and netted communications, far better than current standards for tactical communications. Individual dismounted soldiers will get direct access to network-centric information and access any relevant service required and made available for their mission. Another key issue resulting from this process is to lighten the soldier’s load. From over 100 pounds currently carried by combat soldiers, to around 45 pounds.

The Land Warrior basic unit will be a four men strike team, provided with an independent intra-team and squad and platoon communication. The squad will have communications and command and control facilities to manage multiple strike teams including coordinated, multi-directional assaults. The squad will operate three strike teams, a squad leader, a system’s squad leader and a situational awareness and effects non-commissioned officer (NCO). The unit will also have provisions to control direct and indirect fire by their own unit as well as adjacent formations. The unit will be self-sustained for 24 hours and will also carry additional supplies for further 48 hours on a manned/unmanned “mule”. Squad level firepower will also include 81mm and 60mm mortars and new support weapons.

The warfighter integrated individual combat system will comprise weapon system, protection suite, navigation, and information processing and communications systems. The program supports both individual and unit level operations, with increased lethality, survivability, communications, and responsiveness. Future Force Warriors will initially use existing individual weapons, while current squad weapons will be replaced by a new XM-307 Individual weapons will be equipped with advanced fire control, optimized for urban combat, and enable to synchronize direct and indirect fires from Future Combat System such as NLOS-LS and JCM missile, precision mortar, artillery support and more.

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