World's first real-time heads-up-display enters field testing

3/18/2014

World's first real-time heads-up-display enters field testing

Information is power, as the saying goes, and throughout history intelligence has often meant the difference between victory and defeat. Recently, the research and development of military technologies has relied less on firepower and more on innovative ways to give soldiers as much information as possible.

New technology from BAE Systems may offer the most cutting-edge example of information gathering and display seen yet. According to Military.com, the international defense contractor has begun field testing for a helmet-based heads-up-display system that would transmit real-time combat information to soldiers.

Advancing information technology
The display system, called Q-Warrior, would be easily installed on individual soldiers' helmets with a lens extending over the eye. Soldiers would then be able to view information overlaid onto landscapes, targets and anything else within their field of vision.

Military.com also explained that the Q-Warrior system may able to link with other intelligence gathering efforts, such as overhead reconnaissance planes and forward-staging troops. With information from various perspectives, soldiers may be able to use the BAE-developed technology to identify enemy targets hidden from their unaugmented view.

Gaining the upper hand
While BAE Systems hopes that the Q-Warrior technology will be standard issue equipment one day, the firm is currently testing it for use by troops normally tasked with missions that prize intelligence above all else, such as scouting or reconnaissance.

"The biggest demand, in the short term at least, will be in roles where the early adoption of situational awareness technology offers a defined advantage," Paul Wright, soldier systems' business development lead at BAE Systems, said in a statement. "This is likely to be within non-traditional military units with reconnaissance roles, such as Forward Air Controllers/Joint Tactical Aircraft Controllers or with Special Forces during counter terrorist tasks."

Wright also explained that because the Q-Warrior system is expected to link up to a wider network, troops may be able to use it as a navigation tool with waypoints and suggested routes mapped directly onto the soldier's field of vision. Extra features will also include night vision, thermal imaging and personnel tracking.

There is speculation that the Q-Warrior system could be integrated into the futuristic Tactical Assault Light Operator Suit explained by Adm. William McRaven, according to Stars and Stripes. The TALOS suit is expected to see deployment around 2018, though there is no word yet on the Q-Warrior systems' rollout date.

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