Reg comments4

Smart-map battle network for footsoldiers gets $12m demo

Covert special-ops smartphone version also offered

DC4S: At last, the phrase 'killer app' takes on some meaning

DC4S system. Credit: OSI Geospatial

Previous versions of the no-satnav-required man tracker.

As GSE, various new things will be put onto the SwitchBack to make it suitable as an infantryman's network terminal. Specifically, Raytheon mention DC4S*, a system which lets troops keep track of each other even where there's no GPS signal - as inside a building or a tunnel complex. DC4S involves users wearing an inertial-navigation unit and computer hooked up to military communications (usually a tactical UHF data radio). Every trooper can thus see where his team-mates are, and so avoid accidentally shooting them or blowing them up. The system allows a stricken soldier to press a "man down" button, and everyone can see where he is in order to rescue him. Small-unit commanders can see where all their men are; everyone can see where airstrikes or artillery are being called in, where their team-mates have spotted enemies etc etc.

DC4S has already been extensively tested using ruggedised PDAs, UMPCs and so forth. There's even a "covert" option available, according to this company pdf, where the application runs on a Windows Mobile smartphone - so allowing a team of clandestine special-warfare operators to use DC4S while appearing merely to be making calls, checking their email etc. (Presumably in this case the concealed inertial-nav unit would connect to the handset via Bluetooth, and the data might be carried on cellular channels rather than military UHF.)

A DC4S troop-net can also connect to other things - gunshot detectors, unmanned ground and air vehicles (with "near streaming video"), laser/compass target locator scopes which can mark an enemy's location exactly on the networked map as soon as he's spotted.

Sign up to our Newsletter

Get IT in your inbox daily

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2017