During SOF Week, Thales showed their Soldier System concept. They’ve got quite a bit of experience working on various Future Soldier programs throughout NATO but rather than showing an entire system, they were discussing individual systems which can be used alone or all together.
Rather than concentrating on PPE, they are offering an ecosystem which will work with any equipage to make command and control and sensors more useful to the individual Soldier. This allows them to be more adaptive to a wider range of customers, particularly those who are looking for niche capabilities or do not want to make a wholesale change.
We’ll start at the top and work our way down.
Quad Night Vision Goggles – These should get a lot of notice, if for no other reason than aesthetics.
However, there are other reasons to take note. First, it’s 100 grams lighter than other systems on the market. Second, it has a 126 degree field of view. Their main competitor has a 97 degree FOV. But, you’ll have to wait. Final versions won’t be available until 2025.
Heads Up Display – It’s a simple monocle device to display data from the End User Device.
IS1500 GPS Denied Navigator – Currently at TRL 6, this device utilizes bread crumbs and can reference them to correct errors.
Gun Shot Detection System App – Compatible with ATAK, it displays information from the gunshot detection system.
Pre-Shot Detection System – Although they didn’t go into details, this system looks for potential shooters.
XTRAIM Sight – The XTRAIM weapon sight we previewed at SHOT Show is now in production.
The operator can select direct view, full IR view, and outline mode. XTRAIM offers 500m target recognition with 250m PID of a man sized target. Those ranges are extended to 600m and 320m respectively when used in conjunction with a 3X magnifier. Here’s what the screen looks like in outline mode.
It features an uncooled sensor with 12 micron pitch and 640×480 resolution. Additionally, the operator can configure it in conjunction with a clip-on night vision (I2) sight.
Sophie ULTIMA handheld thermal imager – They displayed one other item. Although not worn on the Soldier, the Sophie ULTIMA handheld thermal imager is a cooled, 4-in-1 handheld target locator weighing 5.5 lbs. It can identify a tank at 6 km at night and at 7 km during the day.
In addition to a day capability it adds MWIR and their patented VisioLoc system offers GPS-denied Cat1 targeting. The VisioLoc Resilient Positioning Navigation (RPN) system uses an embedded goniometer combined with Geographic Information System (GIS) data. You use the camera to capture three points of interest and the system will determine your geo-location within five minutes.
Development of these systems continues, with new capabilities constantly under development. We will keep you posted as additional information becomes available.
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