Small Wars Journal

Guns, Drones, & Augmented Reality: Army Seeks Infantry Revolution

Guns, Drones, & Augmented Reality: Army Seeks Infantry Revolution by Sydney J. Freedberg Jr. - Breaking Defense

There’s a revolution afoot in America’s infantry. New guns to replace the M4 carbine, M16 rifle, and M249 Squad Automatic Weapon. A new mini-drone to scout ahead. A new tactical network to link scattered units. A new night vision sight that displays targeting data like a fighter pilot’s Heads-Up Display. New tactics to use all of the above and new VR simulators to train on. All these innovations could be in the hands of US Army infantry within “a few years,” Brig. Gen. Christopher Donahue told reporters Friday.

The catch, of course, is that the Army’s tried to field all these things before — and failed. Why would things go any better this time around? …

In another sense, however, the Soldier Lethality team is tightly focused. Unlike past programs, they are not trying to come up with General Issue gear for a million GIs. Instead, “we’re focused on the 100,000 active, National Guard, and…Reserve that actually close with the enemy,” he said: infantry, scouts, armored vehicle crews, plus some frontline specialists such as forward observers (who call in artillery and airstrikes) and medics. “We call that the close combat 100,000.”

By focusing on 100,000 soldiers out of a million-strong Army (active, reserve, and Guard), the Soldier Lethality task force cuts both the time and cost to field its innovations by about 90 percent…

Read on.