Europe’s 21st Century Infantry Programs

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The USA isn't the only country with a Future Soldier type program that aims to equip its infantry for the 21st century. "Europe's Future Infantry" at eDefense Online looks at current trends and programs in a number of European countries with similar programs....

Britain’s new FIST
(click for labeled view)

The USA isn’t the only country with a Future Soldier/Land Warrior type program that aims to equip its infantry for the 21st century. “Europe’s Future Infantry” at eDefense Online looks at current trends and programs in a number of European countries with similar programs.

Efforts covered include Germany’s Infanterist der Zukunft, France’s FELIN (Fantassin a Equipements et Liaisons Integrees; or Integrated Soldier Equipment and Communications), the UK’s Future Integrated Soldier Technology (FIST) program, the more gradual approach of the Dutch Soldier Modernization Program, Sweden’s MARKUS (Markstridsutrustad Soldat; Ground Warfare Equipped Soldier), and some thoughts on Russia’s programs as it transitions to a professional force.

This article looks at the framework underneath the trend.

The framework for improvements underlying all of these efforts is also highly recommended. The article points out that all of these programs revolve around improvements in answering the following questions for the soldier:

* Where Am I?
* Where Are My Friends?
* Where Is The Enemy?
* What Should I Do?
* Am I Safe?

q.v. Europe’s Future Infantry, eDefense Online.

Additional Readings

* Army Technology – Soldier Systems section

* Jane’s International Defence Review (Aug 8/07) – “The Canadian government’s treasury board is due to give its approval for the Canadian Forces’ Integrated Soldier System Project (ISSP) at the end of 2007, following the sanctioning last year of a three-stage ISSP procurement strategy. According to Lieutenant Colonel Mike Bodner, the ISSP project director who spoke at the recent Soldier Technology 2007 conference in London, three acquisition stages or cycles are planned for ISSP, spread over 10 years.”

* Defense Technology International (April 27/07) – Dutch Unveil High-Tech Soldier System

* DID (Dec 2/07) – Infantry-21: Switzerland’s IMESS

* DID (April 19/07) – Infantry-21: Land Warrior Received Poor Reviews. Which may be why it lists as terminated in the Pentagon’s April 2007 SAR. Noah Shachtman reports. But has experience in Iraq changed some minds?

* National Defense Magazine (October 2006) – Armies Around Globe Trotting out High-tech Warrior Ensembles. Includes the caveats and issues, as well as descriptions of some of the programs.

* C4SI Journal (Sept 11/06) – future soldier programs. Lists the names of similar programs around the world.

* DID (Oct 12/06) – EDA, National Defense Magazine Address “Future Soldier” System Trend & Issues

* DID (Oct 12/06) – Infantry-21: Spanish Future Soldier Contract to EADS

* DID (Sept 13/06) – Infantry-21: ITL Bidding on Marines Future Battle Dress. ITL Optronics CEO Eli Venezia has set out his vision re: the future of infantry equipment – which tended toward a far more decentralized and incremental model than many of the all-in-one “future force” initiatives under way. He may yet get an opportunity to put that vision into practice – but if so, it may ironically be via a centralized “big-budget package” program.

* DID (Sept 8/06) – Infantry-21: Germany’s IdZ-ES. Led by EADS, with participation from Rheinmetall who is also very involved in similar French and Canadian projects. Updated November 2006 to reflect Swedish trials of IdZ.

* DID (Jun 23/06) – Batteries suck. Can QinetiQ Find a Better Idea? The problem will get worse as these “soldier systems” projects roll out, multiplying the number of power-eating gadgets each soldier must carry.

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