Networking Tomorrow’s Soldier for Battlefield Superiority
(Source: Thales; issued March 18, 2019)
Soldiers from past conflicts—even relatively recent ones-- wouldn’t be able to recognize today’s---and especially tomorrow’s—soldier on the battlefield.

Why? Because of the digital technologies that are changing the way the soldier sees, thinks and acts, all connected to other troops and support systems for information superiority over the adversary and precision engagement.

“There’s simply no comparison when you look at the next generation of soldiers” says Pascal Secretin, responsible of the imagers and sensors for optronics systems at Thales and a former French airborne combat unit commander himself, “In the past, the soldier on the ground might wait twenty minutes for the arrival or support or approval to engage. Today, by sharing images instantaneously through cyber-secured communications, decisive moments get immediate response because combat decisions are collaborative, in real-time.

“And they are more precise because Artificial Intelligence is interpreting what is happening from information sent by the soldier’s sensors and cameras, ground vehicles, as well as from drone, aircraft and satellite ‘eyes in the sky’, and pointing to the best response.”

All this, of course, shortens informed decision-time and that means winning, Pascal Secretin explains, “Information superiority for the soldier’s head and precision weapons for the soldier’s arms provides the critical battlefield superiority.

Armed forces count on Thales and its technological expertise to empower the vital transition for tomorrow’s more effective fighting force on the ground.

The objective is to personalize the information provided to make it the most useful to suit the precise role of each member of the fighting force. And that means personalized tools.

“In that way” explains Pascal Secretin, “better understanding of the fast-changing battleground means gaining time for more rapid and more-precise decision-making and engagement. And with each member of the team having information tailored to his or her needs, by connecting them together you create the most efficient and effective collaborative combat imagineable”

One key reason for Thales leadership in creating the tools for tomorrow’s more effective fighting force is its ability to combine technologies to create unprecedented performance. To take just one example, how do you give a soldier near ‘x-ray vision’ to ‘see’ what formerly was invisible and precisely target day or night? Thales does it by superimposing thermal images in Augmented Reality on classic vision.

The tools that Thales is developing for the soldier on the ground also are lighter, more robust, more reliable and, provide more autonomy.

Among the tools it is providing today and perfecting further for tomorrow are head-mounted information displays for laser-like focus on the essential, lighter and digitally-empowered rifles for rapid target acquisition and the ‘Sophie’ line of thermal imagers, making formerly ‘invisible’ objects capable of being targeted day and night.

Coupled with the other battlefield tools from Thales defence technologies, the connected and augmented soldier becomes the key to the more effective fighting force on the ground.

“Emmanuel Sprauel, Director of Strategy & Marketing for optronic and missile electronics at Thales, explains, “The armed forces rely on Thales for our ability to apply our expertise in connectivity, big data, artificial intelligence and cybersecurity technologies that are the key their digital transformation. This qualifies us to give the soldier what he or she needs to win on the battlefield today and tomorrow---shared information superiority, precision and speed of decision-making for mobility, firepower and protection.”

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