Land Warrior

Land Warrior

Land Warrior is a United States Army program in 2007, [] U.S. Army Budget Request Documents FY2008 (page 4)] [ Stryker Brigade News - Land Warrior funds cut] ] that will use a combination of commercial, off-the-shelf technology (COTS) and current-issue military gear and equipment designed to:
* integrate small arms with high-tech equipment;
* provide communications and command and control at the infantry soldier level;
* look at the individual infantry soldier as a complete unit rather than as a segment of a larger force.

The systems and technology of the Land Warrior program will be rolled into the Future Force Warrior program.

While technology had long been a primary focus of the United States military, very little of it had actually been adopted by the infantry soldier. With growing concerns of urban warfare and dismounted infantry actions, the U.S. Army recognized the need for individual infantrymen to be better equipped, better informed, and better protected in the 21st century battlefield. The Land Warrior program drew upon many wearable computer concepts, and maximized existing technologies to correct most infantry soldier limitations in the short term.

The SI (Stryker Interoperable) version of the system completed U.S. Army testing as of November 2004. Due to limited resources, and issues with the overall weight of the system, Land Warrior was canceled by the Army in February 2007. Despite the system's cancellation the 4th Stryker Brigade Combat Team (SBCT) will be deployed to Iraq as part of the Spring 2007 "surge" of US forces, and will use Land Warrior, on which they have trained for the past year. [ News - Army budget would kill Land Warrior] ]

Internationally, there are several similar development programs, these include IdZ (Germany), FIST (UK), Félin (France), Land 125 (Australia), MARKUS (Sweden), IMESS (Switzerland) and ACMS (Singapore).

History of the US Land Warrior program

The original Land Warrior program, by other name, was undertaken by GE, Moorestown NJ approximately 1989, as a prototype having intent to eventually reduce size and weight in future phases. Then in the mid-1990s, the name Land Warrior was initially handled by a division of Hughes Aerospace, which was subsequently acquired by Raytheon. (The soldier radio component of Land Warrior was to be supplied by the Integrated Information Systems division of MotorolaIn 2001, Motorola's Integrated Information Systems division, headquartered in Scottsdale Arizona, was acquired by General Dynamics and was renamed General Dynamics Decision Systems (GDDS) [] . This division, now part of GDC4S, is the holder of the current Land Warrior - Stryker Interoperable contract.] .)

Early demonstration versions of the LW system used software written in the Ada programming language running on a Unix platform. In January 1999, in an attempt to reduce development costs and accelerate the program, the development work was transitioned to a multi-company team that had been organized by Exponent (NASDAQ: EXPO), an engineering firm with headquarters in Silicon Valley.

An intensive redesign of the system ensued, and both the embedded firmware and the application software were rewritten from scratch. Many of the COTS hardware components were purchased (literally "off the shelf") at Fry's Electronics, the Silicon Valley retail chain. Approximately 100 proof-of-concept Land Warrior units were built and successfully demonstrated in September 2000 by a U.S. Army platoon that was air-dropped into a large war-fighting exercise at Fort Polk, Louisiana.

These initial prototype units, designated Land Warrior v0.6, were built around a PC/104 computer platform running Microsoft Windows. The system used the CAN-bus protocol on the wired PAN (personal area network). The communications subsystem was built using Windows CE running on a StrongARM platform, and the wireless network protocol was IEEE 802.11. During the Fort Polk exercise, preliminary interoperability with traditional military radio networks was also demonstrated for LW v0.6, using a two-way, SINCGARS-compatible gateway radio.

The success of the Fort Polk exercise reinvigorated the program, and further funding was allocated for the next phase of LW development. A "Land Warrior Consortium" was formed by several of the contracting firms, with the goal of designing and building the first field-able LW system, designated LW v1.0, later LW-IC (Land Warrior - Initial Capability). The basic Windows and WinCE platforms were retained, and a new hybrid PAN was designed, which drew upon both USB and FireWire protocols. A modified version of the IEEE 802.11 protocol was adopted, which added various enhancements for COMSEC and information security, mobile ad-hoc network (MANET) capabilities, and support for multi-hop packet routing.

In 2003, a variant of the LW-IC system was developed to incorporate features of the CombatID System (CIDS) -- a form of IFF (identification friend or foe) that is designed to reduce the potential for friendly fire incidents. This version, designated LW-CIDS, was successfully demonstrated in interoperational tests with several other CIDS-equipped units at Moffett Field, California. As the Land Warrior program matured, it became clear that its successful deployment would hinge significantly upon the key factor of batteries. The need to continuously resupply (or recharge) LW batteries was proving to be a major logistical challenge. This was one of the driving factors behind the decision to move away from an earlier plan to initially equip airborne Army units, as in the Fort Polk exercise, and to focus instead upon those using Stryker ground vehicle systems. This latter approach would enable more LW batteries to be distributed and/or recharged as needed.

The contract for development of the Land Warrior - Stryker Interoperable (LW-SI) version of the system was awarded in 2003 to an industry team that was led by General Dynamics and included most of the existing Land Warrior Consortium companies. At about the same time, further development of the existing LW-IC system was halted and the manufacturing plans for it were shelved indefinitely. The Land Warrior Consortium was formally disbanded and work got under way on the newly-focused LW-SI program.

In September 2006, the 4th Battalion, 9th Infantry Regiment trained with and evaluated the LW-SI system. [Erwin, Sandra. [ "'Land Warriors' Link Up With Stryker Vehicles"] , "National Defense Magazine", May 2006.] [ [ "Army assess new Land Warrior System"] , "Army News Service", 22 June 2006.] The system successfully completed the assessment, which was based on JCIDS guidance, and received testimonials from the unit. However, funding for further system development under the Land Warrior program was suspended in February 2007, although the 4-9 Infantry is currently deployed to Iraq and is using the LW-SI system extensively. This is the final trial phase before the key decision is made on the overall future of wearable soldier systems, including Future Force Warrior.

The Land Warrior system

Land Warrior had three priority objectives:
* Improving the lethality of an individual soldier
* Increasing the survivability of a soldier
* Providing full command, communications, and control to a soldier

Land Warrior had seven main subsystems:
* "Weapon"
* "Integrated helmet assembly"
* "Protective clothing and equipment"
* "Computer"
* "Navigation"
* "Radio"
* "Software system"

Later features of the Land Warrior system included:
* providing dismounted soldier combat identification for enroute situational awareness and power recharge to reduce 'friendly fire' incidents
* Commander's Digital Assistant leader planning tool
* weight and power reduction
* scalability and tailorability for operational missions


The original system was built around the M16 rifle or M4 carbine, both with modular rail mounts to allow customization as needed for each mission. It included the weapon itself, plus components such as a daylight video sight, thermal weapons sight and MFL (Multi-Function Laser). The MFL provided range and direction information, as well as IR, visible, and MILES lasers, while the cameras provided a video feed and thermographic capabilities, plus allowing a soldier to shoot around corners or behind cover without actually exposing himself to enemy fire. This is highly effective for confirming kills without exposing one's position.


The Helmet Subsystem (HSS) combined a lightweight advanced helmet with a computer and OLED display that provided various information from digital maps and troop locations down to his weapon-mounted video camera. This is what would have allowed the soldier to see (and fire) around corners. The HSS also incoporated a microphone as well as a headset.

Armor and protection

The Interceptor Body Armor system and Modular Lightweight Load-carrying Equipment (MOLLE) load-bearing system currently in service with the U.S. Army and Marine Corps today are partially a result of the Land Warrior program.


The Computer Subsystem (CSS) provided the processing power and storage capacity for the system. The CSS is based around an ARM XScale processor. The CSS connects to each one of the LRUs (Line Replaceable Units) as well as to the batteries.


The Navigation Subsystem (NSS) provided positional information, it integrates a GPS receiver and a Dead Reckoning Module (DRM) that maintains accurate location when GPS signal becomes unavailable.


The Communication Network Radio Subsystem (CNRS) provided communications capabilities for the Land Warrior. The CNRS is based on EPLRS.


Land Warrior's software system was powered by a variant of the Linux operating system and has a modular, open architecture for further improvement. Reliability in recent testing at Fort Benning has been extremely high.

Future developments

The Land Warrior program may play a huge part in Urban warfare situations in the future. Currently, the system has finished its first phase of testing, but limitations keep it from being adopted by soldiers in the field. Other elements may influence future Land Warrior development, such as the eventual adoption of new weapons systems like the XM8 Carbine (shelved in Oct. 2005), the XM29 OICW, and the FN SCAR SOF assault rifle, as well as new technologies from both military and civilian firms that may or may not be included. Several university research groups are developing micropower devices, which could provide electrical power for the communications devices, sensors, and computers to be carried by the Land Warrior, using miniature fuel burning turbines and generators fabricated from etched silicon like integrated circuits. They are expected to operated for ten times as long as batteries of the same weight.

Private industry continues to address the shortcomings of the current Land Warrior system. The FUSION (Future Soldier Integration) version, which combines 4 of the LRU's into one, has been created to address SWAP-C (size, weight, and power, cost) issues, and may soon be adopted as an upgrade to the system.

Stryker Interoperable Vehicle Kit

A key capability of the current Land Warrior development effort is the interoperability with the Stryker family of combat vehicles, attained through a Stryker Vehicle Integration Kit or VIK.

When Land Warriors are mounted in the Stryker vehicle, the VIK provides voice, data and power connectivity through an umbilical connection. The voice and data connectivity are achieved through an extension of the individual soldier's Personal Area Network. The mounted Land Warriors have the capability of communicating voice and data with each other, the vehicle crew, Land Warriors external to the vehicle and other Land Warrior units mounted in other Stryker vehicles. Communications with the vehicle crew are achieved by interfacing to the Vehicle Intercom System.

Dismounted Land Warriors, when within communications range of their Stryker vehicle, have the same voice connectivity and Army Battle Command System interoperability as the mounted Land Warrior.

The Vehicle Integration Kit (VIK) is being developed in a spiral fashion to help manage development risk. The first spiral produces early VIK prototypes that are used to validate physical integration approaches in the various vehicle configurations. It also demonstrates Land Warrior soldier voice connectivity with the Stryker crewmembers in and around the vehicle through the Vehicle Intercom System. The second VIK spiral delivers full functionality

There are future plans to integrate the Boomerang Mobile Shooter Detection System onto the Stryker vehicle as part of the Land Warrior system. [ [] ]

ee also

* Infantryman of the Future
* Micropower
* Urban Warrior
* Future Force Warrior
* Future Soldier
* Félin
* Future Integrated Soldier Technology
* Interceptor Body Armor
* M4
* LAND 125 Soldier Combat System
* 21st Century soldier, the Czech Future Soldier project.

* Zieniewicz, M.J. et al, "The Evolution of Army Wearable Computers", IEEE Pervasive Computing, Oct-Dec 2002, vol. 1 no. 4, pp. 30-40,


External links

* [ General Land Warrior info]
* [ Additional Land Warrior info]
* [ Project Horizon Land Warrior Updates]
* [ 1997 Army magazine article on the early history of the LW program]
* [ May 2007 The Army's New Land Warrior Gear: Why Soldiers Don't Like It]

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