Friday, July 23, 2010

Steady on the Line

This is pretty cool:

The U.S. Army recently conducted a successful field test of their new Rifleman Radio (RR), a 1.1 kg/2.5 pound voice/data radio for individual infantrymen. By itself, the two watt RR has a range of up to five kilometers. But it can also automatically form a mesh network, where all RRs within range of each other can pass on voice or data information. During the field tests, this was done to a range of up to 50 kilometers. The RR can also make use of an aerostat, UAV or aircraft overhead carrying a RR to act as a communications booster (to other RRs or other networks.) The mesh network enables troops to sometimes eliminate carrying a longer range (and heavier) platoon radio for the platoon leader.

This makes our infantry far more effective by speeding up how quickly they can be given orders and move out.

It will also be a morale booster. Back in the days when you stood in a line shoulder-to-shoulder, you had the physical presence of your comrades to bolster your courage. As our forces spread out more and more, soldiers become isolated in the heat of battle. That is scary. And when the incoming rounds force you to ground, face pressed in the dirt, it may seem like you are the last survivor of your platoon or squad.

But with the RR, soldiers will hear their fellow soldiers and draw strength from knowing they are not alone and that the fight goes on--and they are needed in that fight.