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Land Warrior wearable war-smartphone survives Iraq baptism

Txt-happy grunts in virtual-keyboard iPhone bitchslap

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It turns out that one of the most popular aspects of Land Warrior was text messaging. Rather than this being a matter of kids today being born2txt, this was because the radio net could get text traffic through even when voice comms were down. Unreliable voice comms have been the bane of infantry operations time out of mind - especially in urban warfare - and it seems that this feature saved a number of missions from being aborted.

Still, apparently soldiers - or anyway, Manchus - aren't natural iPhone lovers. Text-happy patrol leaders on the mean streets of Iraq wouldn't have anything to do with the original virtual-keyboard Land Warrior setup, and insisted on hardware buttons. Admittedly, the original Land Warrior didn't use a touchscreen, but a more cumbersome process where a chest controller moved a mouse across keys on the monocle display.

“They liked one that was similar to a BlackBerry style keyboard, about the same size, that had a USB interface that plugged right into the system," Showah told DTI. "Now not only does he have a mouse, but he can flip open a small cover and have a keyboard.”

Now the 4/9th are home after their long tour, all but the 37 of them who were killed (more than five per cent for a battalion at typical strength, and that doesn't include the wounded - it's always the infantry that takes the strain).

Meanwhile, Senators in Washington overruled the Army chiefs and kept Land Warrior funded; and a new unit, the 5th Stryker Brigade Combat Team, has requested 1000 sets of the new leaner and meaner Land Warrior. It would seem that the day of the digital soldier is upon us at last. ®

*Apparently there was never any intention to have compulsory gun-cam recordings whenever a soldier fired his weapon, though this is being mooted for US policemen at present.

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