The Ministry of Defence (MoD) has revealed a wearables-laden future uniform for the British Army, planned for deployment on battlefields at some point during the 2020s.
The Future Soldier Vision uniform (left) includes a pair of concept smart glasses with a head-up display integrated with a helmet-mounted camera and a bone-conducting set of headphones, all designed to increase soldiers' situational awareness without compromising their hearing when on operations.
A wearable communications concept device based on a smartwatch design monitors biometric data collected from the uniform's sensor-covered body armour to keep track of life signs in a combat zone.
The uniform was developed with the Army by the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory and defence industry partners Kinneir Dufort and SEA. It is designed to integrate all of the sensors and sub-systems to facilitate better information sharing and communications between troops and other military personnel.
Defence secretary Michael Fallon explained that the uniform is part of the MoD's mission to address future threats that the armed forces might face.
"The Future Soldier Vision demonstrates our commitment to ensuring our soldiers have the kit they need to keep our country safe," he said.
At the heart of the system is a robust personal role computer alongside a helmet with a sub-system that incorporates hearing protection, lightweight sensors for information sharing and an integrated power supply.
Customisable segmented body armour also features a dedicated power supply and integrated connectors and sensors, and includes flexible shoulder pads for protection and to help with weight distribution when carrying heavy loads.
Alongside the uniform is a new version of the Army's Heckler & Koch SA80 assault rifle featuring a technology that allows targeting information to be shared between soldiers and their units.
The MoD and Army are particularly keen to explore how technologies such as wearables and the cloud can aid the military.
Army IT architect Craig Collins recently outlined his thoughts about technology in the military during a V3 CIO Insight interview. Part of which includes the Army's march towards a mobility strategy despite the security concerns.
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