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SPECIAL REPORT

Advances in Soldier Interface Technology for Modern Military Operations THOR – Connected Headgear for the Connected Soldier Ensuring Communication in the 2015 Battle Space Information Dominance? In the Market for Helmet Modernisation The Future of Soldier Interface Technology

Sponsored by

Published by Global Business Media


SPECIAL REPORT: ADVANCES IN SOLDIER INTERFACE TECHNOLOGY FOR MODERN MILITARY OPERATIONS

SPECIAL REPORT

Advances in Soldier Interface Technology for Modern Military Operations THOR – Connected Headgear for the Connected Soldier Ensuring Communication in the 2015 Battle Space

Contents

Information Dominance? In the Market for Helmet Modernisation The Future of Soldier Interface Technology

Foreword 2 Mary Dub, Editor

THOR – Connected Headgear for the 3 Connected Soldier Mikael Westerlund, Chief Strategic Officer, Savox Communications

Sponsored by

Published by Global Business Media

Published by Global Business Media Global Business Media Limited 62 The Street Ashtead Surrey KT21 1AT United Kingdom Switchboard: +44 (0)1737 850 939 Fax: +44 (0)1737 851 952 Email: info@globalbusinessmedia.org Website: www.globalbusinessmedia.org Publisher Kevin Bell

Foreword/Introduction How Military Requirements for Soldier Interface Technology are Evolving New Developments in Integrated Tactical Headgear Systems for Challenging Operational Requirements Next-Generation Bone Conductive Headset Technologies – Improving Operational Effectiveness and Communications Latest Technologies to Improve Individual Soldier Effectiveness Lessons Learned From the Field Defence Spending Cuts and Why the Military Can’t Afford to Cut Back Their Investment in Dismounted Soldier Systems Future Outlook

Ensuring Communication in the 2015 Battle Space

Editor Mary Dub

Bone Conduction of Sound Why is this so Important? The Lessons of Iraq and Afghanistan Deafness The Complex Dilemma of Helmet Design and Head Protection

Senior Project Manager Steve Banks

Information Dominance?

Business Development Director Marie-Anne Brooks

Advertising Executives Michael McCarthy Abigail Coombes Production Manager Paul Davies For further information visit: www.globalbusinessmedia.org The opinions and views expressed in the editorial content in this publication are those of the authors alone and do not necessarily represent the views of any organisation with which they may be associated. Material in advertisements and promotional features may be considered to represent the views of the advertisers and promoters. The views and opinions expressed in this publication do not necessarily express the views of the Publishers or the Editor. While every care has been taken in the preparation of this publication, neither the Publishers nor the Editor are responsible for such opinions and views or for any inaccuracies in the articles. © 2015. The entire contents of this publication are protected by copyright. Full details are available from the Publishers. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical photocopying, recording or otherwise, without the prior permission of the copyright owner.

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Mary Dub, Editor

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Don McBarnet, International Security Correspondent

Improvements to the Structural Design of Helmets BAe’s Q Warrior System Helmet Electronics & Display System-Upgradeable Protection (HEaDS-UP) Revison Military’s INTERCEPT and Artisent’s CIPHER

In the Market for Helmet Modernisation

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Mary Dub, Editor

UK Defence Manpower Cuts Revision’s Viper The US Army HEaADS UP Project India’s FINSAS System Are the New Helmets as Successful as Their Engineers Planned?

The Future of Soldier Interface Technology

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Don McBarnet, International Security Correspondent

Future Communications Capabilities The British Ministry of Defence Global Strategic Trends Report to 2040 The New America Foundation: The Future of War Conference 2015 Preparing for Intensity of Combat in Operations Gen Odierno’s View of British Military Cuts

References 16

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SPECIAL REPORT: ADVANCES IN SOLDIER INTERFACE TECHNOLOGY FOR MODERN MILITARY OPERATIONS

Foreword S

OLDIER INTERFACE technology and

Defence Forces as well as a wide range of potential

how the mounted or dismounted soldier

military and security end users.

communicates with his commander is of central

The second article gives a view on the complexity

importance to an army’s fighting capability. A

of balancing the need to protect the head, ears and

breakdown in communication for the soldier is

eyes of the soldier while allowing him to remain in full

inherently dangerous. The equipment taken on

communication with his commanding officer.

a mission is analysed carefully by a soldier and

Information dominance has always been the

their capabilities practised and assessed because

strategic aim of network centric warfare. However,

it underlies their effectiveness. The US SEAL officer

in 2015 commercial data available to an opponent,

who went on the mission to kill Osama bin Laden in

without military resources makes the task more

Pakistan made it clear that it was bone conduction

difficult. This makes establishing networks and

earphones that enabled him to move swiftly and

keeping them secure even more important for the

silently on that mission according to his book ‘No

soldier. The global market for soldier equipment

Easy Day’.

and interface technology in Europe is sluggish.

This Special Report reflects on solider interface technology and bone conduction technology, which underpins the latest communication devices such as Google Glass.

Some manufacturers are looking to Asia and the Pacific Rim countries, as this Report discusses. The future is the topic of the end piece. The lessons learned in Iraq and Afghanistan are difficult to confront.

The Report opens with an article that examines

Many American and European soldiers face life-

why connected and integrated headgear for soldiers

changing injuries as a result of the campaign. Some

is one of the key equipment elements of the many

argue that better equipment and more support for

future warrior programmes underway around the

the troops on the ground might have made a

world, enabling real-time feedback to command and

significant difference. They argue that, if we ask

control centres making tactical decisions. With this

our army to fight. they should be equipped and

integrated approach, tomorrow’s trooper will be a

supported effectively. This is a thought that many

networked centre of equipment and communications,

soldiers would echo and many manufacturers

all connected with the tactical network at unit level so

would welcome.

that he is in contact for voice and data at all times. The article goes on to describe the Savox Tactical Headgear system, THOR, which has been designed and developed to meet the needs of the Finnish

Mary Dub Editor

Mary Dub has written about international security in the United States, Europe, Africa and the Middle East as a television broadcaster and journalist and has a Masters degree in War Studies from King’s College, London.

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SPECIAL REPORT: ADVANCES IN SOLDIER INTERFACE TECHNOLOGY FOR MODERN MILITARY OPERATIONS

THOR – Connected Headgear for the Connected Soldier Mikael Westerlund, Chief Strategic Officer, Savox Communications

AS A RESULT OF USER FEEDBACK FROM AFGHANISTAN, THE THOR DESIGN PLACES THE NVGS BELOW THE IMPACT POINT OF THE HELMET AND OUT OF HARM’S WAY WHEN IN THEIR ‘REST’ POSITION TO AVOID THE DAMAGE CAUSED REGULARLY WHEN TROOPS MOUNT AND DISMOUNT FROM ARMOURED VEHICLES.

Foreword/Introduction On the battlefield of tomorrow soldiers will not only rely on futuristic weapons and body armour but they will need, amongst other things, to be connected. Command and control centres making tactical decisions will rely not only on high-level strategy but also on the realtime feedback from soldiers in the thick of it. Connected and integrated headgear will play a critical role in this regard and is one of the key equipment elements and innovations of the many future warrior programmes underway around the world. In Finland, the Finnish Defence Force (FDF) has already made its choice in selecting the Savox Communications THOR, Tactical Helmet system for changing Operational Requirements, as the connected headgear system for its Future Warrior 2020 Programme. With a closer look at THOR, it’s not hard to see why.

How Military Requirements for Soldier Interface Technology are Evolving There are more than 20 future soldier programmes underway around the world including efforts in Austria, Finland, France, Germany, the UK and the US, to name but a few. All are at various early or late stages of development, trials and evaluation, procurement and production, but they have each largely come about because their home nations, governments and military establishments across the globe have recognised the importance and need to make the individual soldier of the future more connected and more interfaced with all the disparate elements and equipment on the battlefields of tomorrow. This, in turn, will make them more efficient and effective. With this need for tomorrow’s infantry soldier to be networked, the most effective headgear systems will integrate critical technology at the WWW.DEFENCEINDUSTRYREPORTS.COM | 3

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SPECIAL REPORT: ADVANCES IN SOLDIER INTERFACE TECHNOLOGY FOR MODERN MILITARY OPERATIONS

Tomorrow’s trooper will be a networked centre of night vision systems, integrated with advanced battle management and GIS equipment, laser aiming devices and range finders, individual communications – including satcoms – all connected into the tactical network at unit level so he is in contact for voice and data at all times

THE MAIN SUB-SYSTEMS AND COMPONENTS OF THOR HAVE BEEN SPECIFICALLY DESIGNED FOR THE TACTICAL HEADGEAR SYSTEM THEREBY ACHIEVING HIGHEST LEVEL OF INTEGRATION RELIABILITY AND ENSURING TOTAL HARMONY BETWEEN THE INDIVIDUAL ELEMENTS OF THE CORE SYSTEM.

head: communications, night vision and electrooptical devices, situational awareness technology. This will turn each combatant into a C3I/C4I centre all of their own to operate in situations where simple ballistic helmets will no longer be of much relevance and where lightweight ballistic protection will need to be part of a much more ingenious ‘total system’. The days when an infantry soldier had only a pack and a personal weapon to carry, with a signaller specifically designated to carry the radio for the whole platoon, a machine gun crew the machine gun and ammo, are almost over. Tomorrow’s trooper will be a networked centre of night vision systems, integrated with advanced battle management and GIS equipment, laser aiming devices and range finders, individual communications – including satcoms – all connected into the tactical network at unit level so he is in contact for voice and data at all times. This integrated approach has been highlighted as the optimum approach in several instances, none more striking than in the US, where a number of sub-programmes – Nett Warrior, Air Warrior and Mounted Soldier System – come under the umbrella of the parent Future Force Warrior programme, which began life with objectives to improve protection and fighting capabilities by addressing survivability in the field, enemy force detection, short-range voice communications and weaponry. In order to achieve these objectives, the initial suggested way forward was not an integrated approach but rather to add one of everything to the soldier, creating a mobile ‘coat-hanger’ for several disparate pieces of equipment. This approach, however, loaded the individual down

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with new armour, separate optics for day and night, improved weapon and ammunition, as well as short-range radios and it soon became clear that it added to an already massive payload of over 40kg, drastically reducing short-term mobility and actually degrading the individual soldier’s effectiveness rather than improving it. A lack of integration was also shown to have another catastrophic effect – high power consumption, with the many standalone items of individual equipment drawing maximum power and potentially resulting in loss of battery power to critical systems at critical times.

New Developments in Integrated Tactical Headgear Systems for Challenging Operational Requirements While many future warrior programmes underway have seen the development of new and more lethal assault rifles than have previously been fielded, upgraded weapon sights and night-vision systems, as well as modular, wearable gear with more effective head, body, and limb protection, some have placed more emphasis on the development of new headgear systems in order to integrate the widest range of critical, individual soldier technologies, into a cohesive and advanced C3I/C4I system. Such headgear systems will incorporate much of the high-technology to be carried, as well as being the nexus for all the soldier’s installed sub-systems, providing him with their inputs, clearly and effectively, so he can respond to the immediate tactical situation correctly, without becoming confused by sensory overload.


SPECIAL REPORT: ADVANCES IN SOLDIER INTERFACE TECHNOLOGY FOR MODERN MILITARY OPERATIONS

THOUGH LIGHTWEIGHT, THE THOR SYSTEM OFFERS STATE-OF-THE-ART BALLISTIC PROTECTION THROUGH ITS ‘BOLTLESS’ HELMET SHELL COMPONENT, WHICH IS BASED ON THE LATEST DYNEEMA® AND ARAMID MATERIAL TECHNOLOGY. THE LATEST THINKING IN ERGONOMICS HAS ALSO RESULTED IN ULTIMATE COMFORT AND STABILITY AND A SYSTEM, WHICH DOES NOT CREATE FATIGUE FOR THE USER.

The most comprehensive headgear will incorporate such items as: image intensifiers, IR optics, a multi-function electronic display providing situational awareness information from local and remote sources, a GPS sensor providing navigation data and a display of weapon sensor data with aiming solutions and communications. Integration of all the components of a headgear system is key to optimising its performance, with point-of-manufacture integration fundamental to the success and performance of systems to be worn by future fighting troops. And integration needs to be considered right at the start of the initial system design. That said, headgear systems must still perform their basic function of protection and be comfortable to wear for long periods. Therefore, using the very latest and toughest lightweight materials and design innovation is critical. The Finnish Defence Force’s (FDF) Future Warrior 2020 initiative is one programme that has emphasised the need for a new headgear system, with Savox Communications taking the lead as prime contractor to develop a future helmet solution. The resulting Savox Tactical Headgear system for changing Operational Requirements, THOR, has been designed and developed to meet the needs of all arms of the FDF, as well as Special Forces, Marine and SWAT units and a wide variety of other potential military and security end users. THOR is a sophisticated, easy-to-use tactical headgear system offering a versatile and modular head-mounted solution for a wide range of military and security personnel for use in an equally wide variety of demanding and extreme

battlefield, covert and security scenarios. THOR has been designed to meet the challenges of changing operational requirements on the battlefields of tomorrow. Though lightweight, the THOR system offers state-of-the-art ballistic protection through its ‘boltless’ helmet shell component, which is based on the latest Dyneema® and aramid material technology. The latest thinking in ergonomics has also resulted in ultimate comfort and stability and a system which does not create fatigue like many solutions currently in use, which rely on basic helmet concepts. Because the main sub-systems and components have also been specifically designed for the THOR Tactical Headgear system, the highest level of integration reliability has been achieved, thereby ensuring total harmony between the individual elements of the core system. In addition, there is also a full degree of flexibility through THOR’s direct compatibility with standard Picatinny rail-mounted accessories, should the end user wish to add these for specific operations, e.g. cameras, illuminators and beacons.

Next-Generation Bone Conductive Headset Technologies – Improving Operational Effectiveness and Communications The THOR combat headgear system comes equipped with two microphone options as standard: the first is a traditional boom mic and the second is a bone-conduction microphone. A user can quickly swap from boom to bone mic in a range of circumstances, such as needing WWW.DEFENCEINDUSTRYREPORTS.COM | 5

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SPECIAL REPORT: ADVANCES IN SOLDIER INTERFACE TECHNOLOGY FOR MODERN MILITARY OPERATIONS

The result is one of the most advanced and versatile, lightweight head-mounted systems to emerge from any future soldier programme

THOR IS A SOPHISTICATED, EASY-TO-USE TACTICAL HEADGEAR SYSTEM OFFERING A VERSATILE AND MODULAR HEAD-MOUNTED SOLUTION FOR A WIDE RANGE OF MILITARY AND SECURITY PERSONNEL FOR USE IN AN EQUALLY WIDE VARIETY OF DEMANDING AND EXTREME BATTLEFIELD, COVERT AND SECURITY SCENARIOS.

to urgently put on a respirator, in which case the bone mic provides better communications picking up conducted sound rather than muffled voice. THOR end users can even choose to have the bone mic only on the headgear system and no boom mic. That said, the bone mic does have the disadvantage that it will, for example, pick up background vibrations, such as in a tracked vehicle, where vibrations from the tracks as well as the engine will vibrate through an individual’s body and skeleton and be picked up by the mic. This is the main reason why the FDF variant of THOR has both mic alternatives as standard. THOR’s bone microphone uses 3rd-generation Savox bone mic technology, which uses a new type of vibration pick-up sensor, providing a greater dynamic in the speech frequency band and, hence, greatly improved audio qualities, especially recognition of the speaker. Additionally, the mechanics, functionality and durability have all been improved in comparison to previous generations of bone-conduction microphone.

Latest Technologies to Improve Individual Soldier Effectiveness The THOR integrated headgear system from Savox is fully equipped with integrated communications and hearing protection. It has integrated ear speakers to convey radio communications to the user, with volume adjustment for hearing levels through buttons integrated into the ear cup. THOR has connectivity options for tactical radios as well as vehicle intercom systems, should the user find themselves, for example, inside an armoured personnel carrier. PTT buttons are also optional with the headgear system. 6 | WWW.DEFENCEINDUSTRYREPORTS.COM

THOR’s integrated hearing protection safeguards the wearer against battlefield/ operational noise levels. The system also has a talk-through feature that gives the user greater situational awareness than a combatant without THOR.

Lessons Learned From the Field In settling on a final design for the THOR system, first-hand feedback from the military played a major part. An issue that became apparent early on related to helmet-mounted NVGs in the field; a number of military personnel who had been deployed to Afghanistan said that NVGs mounted ‘at rest’ on top of the helmet were being destroyed or damaged at a high rate – every time soldiers ran in and out of APCs they were smashing their NVGs on the top of the vehicle doorway. As a result, the Savox design places the NVGs below the impact point of the helmet and out of harm’s way when in their ‘rest’ position. Another issue highlighted in feedback about existing helmet-mounted NVGs, taken into account by Savox with their headgear system integration work, was an instability and wobble factor, which soldiers said caused visual distortion and difficulty seeing. Greater NVG stability was requested and has been key in the Savox design. In fact, when using poorly balanced NVGs users can actually feel unbalanced – the image they are trying to look at actually moves in a different frequency to the body and creates disorientation problems. Improving the ‘positioning and fixing’ of the NVG to the headgear system, as Savox has done, has made it extremely stable and user feedback indicates that this problem has been solved in THOR.


SPECIAL REPORT: ADVANCES IN SOLDIER INTERFACE TECHNOLOGY FOR MODERN MILITARY OPERATIONS

To turn around and, in the case of the UK, place an unbalanced slice of its already uncertain defence-spend pie on a Trident upgrade, surely spells potential disaster for the likes of the country’s own soldier modernisation (FIST) programme. The Finns, too, must ensure that, with unpredictable neighbouring countries, its soldiers are as well equipped as possible to meet whatever the future holds for its borders. It is the middle of 2015, and this is not a time in the West to cut corners on defence spending for future soldier improvements.

Future Outlook

THOR’S BONE MICROPHONE USES 3RD-GENERATION SAVOX BONE MIC TECHNOLOGY, WHICH USES A NEW TYPE OF VIBRATION PICK-UP SENSOR, PROVIDING A GREATER DYNAMIC IN THE SPEECH FREQUENCY BAND AND HENCE GREATLY IMPROVED AUDIO QUALITIES, ESPECIALLY RECOGNITION OF THE SPEAKER.

Defence Spending Cuts and Why the Military Can’t Afford to Cut Back Their Investment in Dismounted Soldier Systems The soldier on the ground has always been the critical asset in any battlefield confrontation that will, when all other efforts have been completed or tried, take and hold ground. Air assets, artillery and tanks can all engage in battle, soften the enemy and lay a path for the infantry, but it is the infantry, who, when all is said and done, will take and hold. On yesterday’s analogue battlefield, an unconnected soldier, leading to a disconnected engagement, would probably lead to an outcome that was as satisfactory, in terms of gaining, clearing and holding territory, as was possible. On today’s highly connected and digital stage, advances in individual soldier modernisation systems and solutions need to be in place, adopted, deployed and soldiers need to be well versed in their use and capabilities.

Finland’s Future Warrior 2020 Programme, aimed at meeting the needs of all arms of the FDF, has turned out to be one of the most advanced programmes of its kind in the world. Its relatively late start has given the Finnish Defence Forces and the consortium, led by Savox, the chance to look carefully at all other programmes already under way and come up with a headgear system in THOR that is totally new in every respect, with the integration of all its elements – each made specifically for the system – at the heart of the design from the outset. A single power source runs the technology – communications, hearing protection and night vision equipment – embedded in the headgear system and this not only removes the risk of power loss at critical moments and eliminates the need for the soldier to carry numerous spare batteries, but has also enabled a new NVG to be designed with a lower weight, in turn removing the need for a counterweight. The result is one of the most advanced and versatile, lightweight head-mounted systems to emerge from any future soldier programme. Already adopted for operational use by the FDF, (announced in February 2015), since its regional Middle-Eastern launch, that same month, Savox has received orders for several thousand THOR units from military and special forces end users around the world. The company predicts this advanced, integrated combat helmet system will be adopted by many more customers during the course of its first year of mass production in 2015, and beyond.

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SPECIAL REPORT: ADVANCES IN SOLDIER INTERFACE TECHNOLOGY FOR MODERN MILITARY OPERATIONS

Ensuring Communication in the 2015 Battle Space Mary Dub, Editor

“War is a product of its age. The tools and tactics of how we fight have always evolved along with technology. We are poised to continue this trend.” 1 David S Alberts, John J Gartska, Frederick P Stein on Network Centric Warfare

The relentless speed of the consumer communication market, led by the mobile phone and mobile music, develops new products and software by the week

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ETWORK CENTRIC Warfare, as first envisioned by John Gartska and Admiral Cebrowski in 1998, has become one of the conceptual foundation stones of the western way of war. Since it was first articulated by the Office of Transformation within the Department of Defense in the United States, networked communication has been integrated into every aspect of command and war fighting. Parallel to developments in sensors and communication technology, the emphasis has moved from the network to the central importance of networking with all fighters in real-time to establish situational awareness. In the late 20th century many military technologies led the field. Now commercial consumer technologies undoubtedly challenge and lead the race to establish new software and hardware products. The relentless speed of the consumer communication market, led by the mobile phone and mobile music, develops new products and software by the week. One recent feature of the market has been Google Glass, which delivers images, sound and icons before the wearer in a way that might only be replicated on a fighter pilots helmet in the recent past. Although not a head up display, it delivers visual information through a Peripheral Head-Mounted Display (PHMD). Sound is delivered without earplugs, as the BBC technology reporter noted, through a bone-conduction transducer (BCT) resting against the skull as the primary way to convey sound to users.2

Bone Conduction of Sound Discovered in 1938, it was Georg von Békésy, the Hungarian biophysicist who won a Nobel Prize in 1961 for his experiments on the conduction of sound in the head through bones in the skull to the inner ear3. Hitherto, the traditional view 8 | WWW.DEFENCEINDUSTRYREPORTS.COM

was that sound is heard through air conduction. Although this leap forward in understanding was recognised, it has only been taken forward commercially in the last decade. Sound delivered through bone conduction offers specific benefits, because it allows the hearing of sound without earplugs, therefore allowing the ears to be protected against loud environmental noise. Bone conduction technology is now used in recently developed products like Google Glass, but also in the latest designs of combat helmets because it allows direct transmission of sound through the helmet to the soldier or commander.

Why is this so Important? The Lessons of Iraq and Afghanistan One of the most documented injuries observed in returning soldiers from the war in Iraq and Afghanistan has been Traumatic Brain Injury and deafness. Traumatic Brain Injury was incurred by proximity to blast, frequently caused by IEDs (Improvised Explosive Devices). The effect of blast on the dismounted soldier or the soldier in a vehicle has been calibrated from mild to severe. At the height of the campaign in 2011, more than 30,000 US soldiers a year were receiving brain injuries. Much was done to mitigate the effects of blast and, indeed, of IEDs throughout the campaign4, through rapid field initiatives and upgrading equipment. In the aftermath of the two campaigns, the protection of the war fighter’s head has become of central importance to those researching helmet improvements.

Deafness At the same time in the UK there was an observable rise in deafness among returning troops. According to news reports, more than twothirds of British soldiers returning from Afghanistan suffered severe and permanent hearing damage, as found by the most comprehensive study into


SPECIAL REPORT: ADVANCES IN SOLDIER INTERFACE TECHNOLOGY FOR MODERN MILITARY OPERATIONS

ON THE BATTLEFIELD OF TOMORROW, COMMAND AND CONTROL CENTRES MAKING TACTICAL DECISIONS WILL RELY NOT ONLY ON HIGH-LEVEL STRATEGY BUT ALSO ON THE REAL-TIME FEEDBACK FROM SOLDIERS IN THE THICK OF IT. CONNECTED AND INTEGRATED HEADGEAR WILL PLAY A CRITICAL ROLE IN THIS REGARD. (PHOTO COURTESY: SAVOX)

one of the less well-known side effects of the conflict in Helmand. Internal British defence documents reveal that of 1,250 Royal Marine commandos who served in Afghanistan, 69% suffered hearing damage due to the intense noise of combat. The findings indicate that complaints such as tinnitus or almost complete deafness among combat troops are considerably greater than previously reported. One audiologist said the report revealed that hearing loss was endemic among Afghan veterans, with many suffering defects that could bar them from frontline service.5 The British Ministry of Defence responded that they were trying out new ear protection for personnel on operations to protect them from the effects of loud explosions and gunfire. He said: “The system uses a custom moulded earplug with an inbuilt microphone to cut the noise impact of loud explosions while still giving the wearer the ability to hear colleagues. Feedback

from trials with soldiers in training and in theatre has allowed the rapid development of new, easy-to-fit earplugs that stay in place.”6

The Complex Dilemma of Helmet Design and Head Protection This simplified exposition of some of the issues around communication and head protection, and hearing protection reveals what a complex brief research designers and combat helmet manufacturers are confronted with. There is the need to protect the wearer from lethal ammunition or shrapnel, compounded by a demand to protect the ears from battle space noise that may produce permanent profound deafness. At the same time, it has to help deliver all the enhanced situational awareness now provided by the makers of devices such as Google Glass, so that the wearer can be both networked and networking while fighting – a tough task for helmet manufacturers.

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SPECIAL REPORT: ADVANCES IN SOLDIER INTERFACE TECHNOLOGY FOR MODERN MILITARY OPERATIONS

Information Dominance? Don McBarnet, International Security Correspondent

‘The Information Age has changed the access that combatants and noncombatants alike have to information. This is because militaries and national security agencies no longer have exclusive control of real-time information. The commercial availability of quality images, location devices, access to vast stores of information, and high bandwidth circuits provide even the poorest nations or non-state actors with access to information recently available only to superpowers.’7 John Gartska, US Department of Defence

The data appears on a transparent screen positioned over the wearer’s left eye, allowing them to see the battlefield overlaid with neon targets, the position of friendly forces and the bearings of aircraft

A

GREAT deal of engineering work and research is now being put into developing combat helmets that start to meet the new demands of the lessons learned from Afghanistan and Iraq. The commercial mobile phone sector is developing new software and hardware capabilities by the day that might be ruggedized for war use, and new materials are being developed for helmets that deliver protection from kinetic fire, blunt instruments and blast. Some of the prime contractors like BAe have been working, not only on sensors for helmets that may help identify soldiers who have received brain injury, but also on helmets like the Q-warrior system, which may help prevent it. BAe says that the Department of Defense has labelled Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) as “one of the signature injuries of troops wounded in Afghanistan and Iraq,” due to exposure to blasts from improvised explosive devices, land mines, and more. They identify 287,911 as the number of returning service members who have been medically diagnosed with TBI since 2000. So prime contractors with US army support have turned their focus to identifying soldiers who may have brain injuries, and we are helping to support their effort with the innovative solution - the Headborne Energy Analysis and Diagnostic Systems (HEADS).

Improvements to the Structural Design of Helmets Another research unit working with a prime contractor on the issue with Raytheon is Prof. Xingwei Wang of the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department, and Profs. Christopher Niezrecki and Julie Chen of the Mechanical Engineering Department at the University of 10 | WWW.DEFENCEINDUSTRYREPORTS.COM

Massachusetts Lowell. They received a one-year $30,000 grant from Raytheon to develop a novel optical pressure-sensor network for evaluating the structural design of soldiers’ helmets. “This monitoring system, based on the Fabry-Perot principle, will study the effects of blasts on the helmet or skull,” says Wang. “The data collected will be used to evaluate, and therefore improve, helmet design to better protect soldiers from traumatic brain injury.”8

BAe’s Q Warrior System While Google has been working on its glasses, BAe has been working on its Q-warrior system. This is designed to provide ordinary soldiers with the kind of heads-up display (HUD) once reserved for jet-fighter pilots. The new system, which is being built in Britain and is being tested by US forces, allows commanders to beam information straight into the sight line of soldiers, offering details ranging from compass bearings to streams of video from surveillance drones. The data appears on a transparent screen positioned over the wearer’s left eye, allowing them to see the battlefield overlaid with neon targets, the position of friendly forces and the bearings of aircraft.9 According to the manufacturers, the helmet is likely to be used first by vehicle commanders, special forces troops and forward air controllers, but slimmed down versions could be used by almost anyone.

Helmet Electronics & Display System-Upgradeable Protection (HEaDS-UP) The US army research teams have been working with research engineers and helmet manufacturers to solve the problem of protecting a soldiers hearing against deafening


SPECIAL REPORT: ADVANCES IN SOLDIER INTERFACE TECHNOLOGY FOR MODERN MILITARY OPERATIONS

BECAUSE THE MAIN SUB-SYSTEMS AND COMPONENTS HAVE BEEN SPECIFICALLY DESIGNED FOR THE THOR TACTICAL HEADGEAR SYSTEM, THE HIGHEST LEVEL OF INTEGRATION RELIABILITY HAS BEEN ACHIEVED AND THERE IS ALSO A FULL DEGREE OF FLEXIBILITY THROUGH THOR’S DIRECT COMPATIBILITY WITH STANDARD PICATINNY RAIL-MOUNTED ACCESSORIES. (PHOTO COURTESY: SAVOX)

environmental noise in the battle space while, at the same time, allowing access to the complex and subtle sound information a soldier or the commander needs to hear while on operation. This effort was conducted through the Helmet Electronics & Display System-Upgradeable Protection (HEaDS-UP) Program to characterize the acoustics effects of two helmet and hearing protection systems in impulsive and continuous noise environments. There were two objectives for this testing. The first was to document the protection provided against noise-induced hearing loss, specifically from steady state and impulsive noises. The second was to document the effects of these two systems on hearing capabilities, specifically on the ability of a user to detect, recognize, and localize ambient environmental and speech events.10

Revison Military’s INTERCEPT and Artisent’s CIPHER The two candidate helmets, has each been designed to be used with a detachable

mandible, eye protection, and the SELEX* tactical communications and protection system (TCAPS). The first helmet candidate, the INTEgRated Conformal Protective helmeT (INTERCPT), was developed by Revision Military. The other, the Conformal Integrated Protective HEadgeaR (CIPHER), was developed by Artisent LLC. The TCAPS components include circumaural earmuffs (EM) and in-the-ear (ITE) earplugs (EP) that can be worn independently or in combination as double hearing protection. The CTX communications hub provided by SELEX Communications allows the user to switch between radio-only and radio-plus situation awareness (SA) microphones. The CTX also has inputs for either EP (ear plug) or EM (ear muff) headsets and is wired to allow them to be used jointly in cases where double hearing protection is required. The impact of the various sound levels and muffs and earplugs and microphones was carefully observed. This balance between perception of speech and ear protection is central to the success of the product.

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SPECIAL REPORT: ADVANCES IN SOLDIER INTERFACE TECHNOLOGY FOR MODERN MILITARY OPERATIONS

In the Market for Helmet Modernisation Mary Dub, Editor

In the United Kingdom, what many commentators see as savage cuts to infantry manpower are taking place to sustain the equipment budget for large platforms at the expense of the army

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ANY OF the soldiers who formed part of the ISAF coalition in Afghanistan or the forces who fought in Iraq suffered head, face, neck and jaw injuries as well as traumatic brain injury and deafness. So despite the reluctance of any NATO country to commit troops on the ground, as a result of the lessons learned during these two campaigns, many armies recognise a need to upgrade their ground troops’ protective equipment. But such is the political mood of austerity in many European countries, and the absence of the political will, with a few exceptions, to pay 2% of GDP towards defence spending as part of their contribution to NATO, that the European market for new products is slow.

UK Defence Manpower Cuts In the United Kingdom, what many commentators see as savage cuts to infantry manpower are taking place to sustain the equipment budget for large platforms at the expense of the army. In spring 2015, regular army soldiers were already being reduced from 102,000 to 82,000 and a new defence review under the next government could see numbers cut again by around 40 per cent, RUSI (the Royal United Services Institute) warned. It would mean the smallest British Army since the 1770s, when Britain lost the American colonies.11 Despite these pressures, a new helmet made by Revision in Canada is being tried out. The new Viper engineered plastic helmet is part of a £30 million contract with an Israeli defence contractor, Source Vagabond, to supply 9,000 helmets to the British Army and the Royal Marines over the next three years.

Revision’s Viper Revision’s lightweight Batlskin Viper P2 Helmet, built in the ACH (Advanced Combat Helmet) shape and to military specifications, uses advanced composite shell technology to achieve weight reduction while delivering advanced ballistic and impact protection with unsurpassed comfort for long-term use, 12 | WWW.DEFENCEINDUSTRYREPORTS.COM

according to the manufacturer. The helmet exceeds U.S. Army standards for Fragmentation and Resistance to Penetration. The Batlskin Viper P2 Helmet is the foundation for all Batlskin Viper modular components, including the Front Mount, Interlocking and Standalone Long Rails, Mandible Guard and Visor. Jonathan Blanshay, CEO of Revision stated. “The Batlskin Head Protection System not only makes radical leaps forward in helmet and liner technology; its integrated visor and mandible guard could also greatly reduce the incidence of traumatic brain injury (TBI) in blast situations. At the same time, the modular and scalable nature of this system provides soldiers with the unique ability to quickly armor-up and -down as the threat environment dictates.”

The US Army HEaADS UP Project Helmet Electronics and Display SystemUpgradeable Protection, or HEaDS-UP, has been a four-year effort at Natick to provide mounted and dismounted troops with a more fully integrated headgear system. HEaDS-UP has focused on developing a Technical Data Package of design options and trade-offs to build a modular, integrated headgear system. Some of these technologies include: improved ballistic materials; non-ballistic impact liner materials and designs; see-through and projected headsup display technologies; better eye, face and hearing protection; and communications. 12 There is also an aspiration to put an end to the two helmets issue, whereby, according to Don Lee, Project Engineer in the Headgear Thrust Area of Natick Soldier Research, Development and Engineering Center, (NSRDEC) “Right now, mounted Soldiers have two helmets. They have their Combat Vehicle Crewman helmet and they have their Advanced Combat Helmet. So, if they dismount from the vehicle, they’re supposed to swap helmets. I think we’ve proven through our program that there can be one helmet for both mounted and dismounted soldiers, which, I think, is a big deal. I think the


SPECIAL REPORT: ADVANCES IN SOLDIER INTERFACE TECHNOLOGY FOR MODERN MILITARY OPERATIONS

FROM BATTLEFIELD COMBATANTS TO URBAN SWAT AND COUNTER-TERROR TEAMS, THE NEED TO BE CONNECTED AND EQUIPPED WITH THE VERY LATEST IN INTEGRATED HEADGEAR SYSTEMS HAS BECOME ESSENTIAL TO ENABLE EFFICIENT, EFFECTIVE AND AS-SAFE-AS-POSSIBLE OPERATIONS. (PHOTO COURTESY: SAVOX)

program’s proven that a one-helmet system for ground soldiers, whether they’re mounted or dismounted, can exist.”
Crewmembers looking out of hatches discovered an unexpected benefit during evaluations. “When the soldiers wore the prototype systems with the visor and mandible,” said Lee, “it was the first time that they weren’t eating sand and dust and rocks going down the road.”


India’s FINSAS System While the market for upgrading many of Europe’s armies’ soldier systems is slow, other Asian, Pacific and Middle Eastern countries are a more buoyant prospect for new products. The Indian Army’s Future Infantry Soldier As a System (F-INSAS) program is intended to ensure a dramatic increase in lethality, survivability and mobility, while making the soldier ‘a selfcontained fighting machine’. It is based on the Land Warrior system of the US Army and Future Soldier Programs of other nations. Their to-buy list included bulletproof jackets, ballistic helmets, and anti-mine boots.13 However, this modernisation programme may have run into difficulties in 2015.14

Are the New Helmets as Successful as Their Engineers Planned? Some military research on new helmets reflects a certain scepticism about whether many new designs for helmets can actually reduce TBI Traumatic Brain Injury. It provides evidence to suggest that, in a front-facing blast, pressures on the forehead were higher with the jaw protector, or mandible, in place and with the mandiblevisor combination, than they were with the helmet alone. Further, that in a rear-facing blast,

THE THOR COMBAT HEADGEAR SYSTEM COMES EQUIPPED WITH TWO MICROPHONE OPTIONS AS STANDARD: THE FIRST IS A TRADITIONAL BOOM MIC AND THE SECOND IS A BONE-CONDUCTION MICROPHONE. (PHOTO COURTESY: SAVOX)

pressures on the forehead were more than twice as high for the mandible-visor combination as for the helmet alone. And just the jaw protection for a front-facing blast doubled the strength of the secondary shockwave pressure on the forehead from 2 atmospheres (one atmosphere is a little less than 15 pounds per square inch) to 4 atmospheres.15 All these complex tests are needed to ascertain whether a helmet offers the protection and the access to communication devices that the soldier needs. There is no simple solution, only good approximations. WWW.DEFENCEINDUSTRYREPORTS.COM | 13

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SPECIAL REPORT: ADVANCES IN SOLDIER INTERFACE TECHNOLOGY FOR MODERN MILITARY OPERATIONS

The Future of Soldier Interface Technology Don McBarnet, International Security Correspondent

“What has changed, though, is the level of capability. In the past we would have a British Army division working alongside an American army division. The cuts mean that the US military is now working on the basis that in future Britain will contribute only half that amount, if not less.”16 General Raymond Thomas “Ray” Odierno, US Army and Chief of Staff of the Army at the New America Foundation’s “Future of War” conference 2015

There is one trend that seems strong in the short to medium term and that is the rapid rate of change in communication technology and its related software SEVERAL HELMET-MOUNTED NVG SOLUTIONS HAVE SUFFERED DAMAGE WHEN EXITING AND ENTERING AFVS DUE TO THEIR STOWAGE POSITION BEING ON TOP OF THE BALLISTIC SHELL OF THE HEADGEAR. WITH THE THOR COMBAT HEADGEAR SYSTEM NVG STOWAGE IS BELOW THIS ‘DOORWAY IMPACT’ POINT MAKING A MAJOR DIFFERENCE BOTH TO INDIVIDUAL TROOPS AS WELL AS TO BUDGETS. (PHOTO COURTESY: SAVOX)

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HIS QUOTE from Gen Odierno is a trenchant criticism of British Army’s fighting capability. He should know – he fought with the British in the campaign in Afghanistan and understands both British equipment strengths and weaknesses. It is certainly a truism that, with a few exceptions, European equipment capabilities don’t match those of the Americans.

Future Communications Capabilities Writing with confidence about the future means that the writer has to be prepared to be proved wrong by events. But there is one trend that seems strong in the short to medium term and that is the rapid rate of change in communication technology and its related software. And it is this that is going to underpin all advances in soldier interface 14 | WWW.DEFENCEINDUSTRYREPORTS.COM

technology through helmets to handsets and even tablets. The second aspect is that soldier interface technology is provided to protect soldiers against the current threat that they are or have been asked to face. Seen from 2015, there is a Western political reluctance to commit ground troops to complex political and military situations in Syria, the Ukraine and Iraq or to confront ISIL, the Islamic Caliphate. If intervention is imperative, the preference for Arab states and NATO countries is to use aircraft and drones rather than to field ground troops. But what of future uncertainties and conflict?

The British Ministry of Defence Global Strategic Trends Report to 2040 The British Ministry of Defence Development, Concepts and Doctrine Centre (DCDC) offers


SPECIAL REPORT: ADVANCES IN SOLDIER INTERFACE TECHNOLOGY FOR MODERN MILITARY OPERATIONS

a thoughtful prediction of future security issues. Instability is a given, as is rapid population growth, resource scarcity, resurgence in ideology and a shift in power to Asia from the West. ‘Globalisation, global inequality, climate change and technological innovation will affect the lives of everyone on the planet.’17 There are other points to note: while there will be improvements in living standards for many, inequality is likely to be a significant source of grievance, possibly resulting in an increased incidence of conflict. Large populations of young people who are disadvantaged will be prone to radicalisation. And this is a difficult concept to grasp – by 2040, around 65%, or 6 billion, of the world’s population will live in urban areas, attracted by access to jobs, resources and security. The greatest increases in urbanisation will occur in Africa and Asia. Up to 2 billion people may live in slums. The conclusion is that these urban centres of population will be prone to complex criminality and insecurity. Urban insecurity and insurgencies will be more common.

The New America Foundation: The Future of War Conference 2015 The new America Foundation conference on the Future of War echoed much of the analysis of the Ministry of Defence’s DCDC. Their emphasis was on the volatility and complexity of the future security environment.18 But what does this mean for NATO troops and European defence manufacturers working with governments to present the best armour and soldier communication systems? It is stating the obvious to think that the next campaign will not be a repetition of the past. Armies should not prepare to fight again in Afghanistan or Iraq, although there is always the possibility that they may be on called to do so. Secondly, resources need to be spent on cyber security, cyber attack and intelligence as much as they do on more traditional areas. Thirdly, it is worthwhile to look at the types of lessons that are being learnt from Iraq and Afghanistan. Yes, it is important to consider traumatic brain injury and deafness

among returning veterans. But at another level of analysis, it is important to look at why European countries were fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan in the first place. There is no simple answer to this question. Were we there to prove to the United States that the UK was a stalwart ally? Or were we there for a host of other political pretexts that have already been much discussed? Preparing for Intensity of Combat in Operations The second lesson learned from these campaigns was that the intensity of the conflict in, for example, Helmand was very high indeed, and that British forces did not have resources and support to acquit themselves, however valiantly they may have fought. Yes, they had the training and the leadership, but if they didn’t have the right equipment, the battle and the long-term political advantage will go to the resourceful and wily enemy. Recent written work by senior defence figures like Field Marshall the Lord Gurthrie of Craigiebank, the former Chief of Defence Staff in 1997-200119, is searing in its criticism of the failure of Whitehall to offer our soldiers adequate equipment to acquit themselves with honour on the battlefield.

Gen Odierno’s View of British Military Cuts If Britain, like other western European countries, can no longer provide capable support to the United States, US Army estimation of our fighting capability will fall further. The impact of the recent British austerity cuts to defence spending as a result of the budget cuts following the 2010 Strategic Defence and Security Review has been salutary. The Army has been cut by a fifth, the RAF now has just seven combat squadrons, compared with the 30-odd it had in the first Gulf War, and the Navy barely has enough warships to fulfil its international duties. “We have a bilateral agreement between our two countries to work together. It is about having a partner that has very close values and the same goals as we do,” explained Gen Odierno at the New America Foundation’s “Future of War” conference (2015). If we are not as capable as we say we are will have failed in the eyes of our allies. The solution is to offer our forces world beating equipment.

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SPECIAL REPORT: ADVANCES IN SOLDIER INTERFACE TECHNOLOGY FOR MODERN MILITARY OPERATIONS

References: 1

Developing and Leveraging Network Centric Warfare, David S Alberts, John J Gartska, Frederick P Stein

http://www.dodccrp.org/files/Alberts_NCW.pdf John J. Garstka is currently the Scientific and Technical Advisor, Directorate for C4 Systems, Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS/J6). In this capacity he is responsible for a broad range of issues associated with Information Superiority and Network Centric

Warfare. In addition to co-authoring, with Vice Admiral Cebrowski, Network Centric Warfare—Its Origin and Future

(Proceedings of the U.S. Naval Institute, January 1998), he has presented over 225 briefings on NCW to industry, DoD,

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Bone conduction: Come on feel the noise? By Dougal Shaw Technology reporter14 November 2014 http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-29508725

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3449028/ Hear Res. 2012 Nov; 293(1-2): 21–30.

Published online 2012 May 19. Békésy’s contributions to our present understanding of sound conduction to the inner ear

S Puria and JJ Rosowski

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http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/natsec/RS22452.pdf A Guide to U.S. Military Casualty Statistics: Operation Inherent Resolve, Operation New Dawn,

Operation Iraqi Freedom, and Operation Enduring Freedom by Hannah Fischer

Information Research Specialist November 20, 2014

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Sunday 20 December 2009 http://www.theguardian.com/uk/2009/dec/20/afghan-veterans-hearing-damage

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Two-thirds of Afghan war veterans are suffering from hearing damage: Mark Townsend Two-thirds of Afghan war veterans are suffering from hearing damage: Mark Townsend Sunday 20 December 2009 http://www.theguardian.com/uk/2009/dec/20/afghan-veterans-hearing-damage

Developing and Leveraging Network Centric Warfare, David S Alberts, John J Gartska, Frederick P Stein

http://www.dodccrp.org/files/Alberts_NCW.pdf 8

Professors Develop Helmet Sensors A new optical sensor network being developed by UMass Lowell researchers will ultimately help improve soldiers’ helmets. A new optical sensor network being developed by UMass Lowell researchers will ultimately help improve soldiers’ helmets.

03/04/2011 By Edwin L. Aguirre

http://www.uml.edu/News/stories/2010-11/wang_helment_sensor.aspx 9

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/newsbysector/industry/defence/10640078/BAE-Systems-launches-high-tech-Iron-Man-helmet.html BAE

Systems launches high-tech ‘Iron Man’ helmet

Ben Farmer, video by Julian Simmonds 7:00AM GMT 16 Feb 2014

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Army Research Lab November 2013

http://tiny.cc/4b7m0x Helmet Electronics & Display System-Upgradeable Protection (HEaDS-UP) Phase III Assessment: Headgear Effects on Auditory Perception by Angelique A. Scharine and Rachel A. Weatherless 11

British Army could be cut to just 50,000 over next four years, report warns By Tom Whitehead, Rosa Prince and Ben Riley Smith 7:00AM GMT 09 Mar 2015

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/defence/11449136/British-Army-could-be-cut-to-just-50000-over-next-four-years-report-warns.html 12

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http://www.army.mil/article/108173/ ‘HEaDS-UP’ at Natick for better helmets September 6, 2013 By Bob Reinert, USAG-Natick Public Affairs http://www.indiandefencereview.com/news/modernisation-of-the-indian-infantry/ by Lt Gen Prakash Katoch Prakash Katoch is a former Lt Gen Special Forces, Indian Army Issue Vol. 28.1 Jan-Mar 2013 | Date : 20 Feb , 2013 http://www.defenseworld.net/news/11907/Indian_Army_to_Break_up_Future_Soldier_Program_into_Two_Parts#.VZugZ0sf8pE

Indian Army to Break up Future Soldier Program into Two Parts

Source : Pinaki Bhattacharya ~ Dated : Wednesday, January 14, 2015 @ 08:50 AM

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Kevin Lilley, Army Times 2:33 p.m. EDT August 25, 2014 natick helmet http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2014/08/24/research-raises-concerns-for-new-army-helmet-design/14546999/ http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/defence/11443204/Britain-is-becoming-a-friend-who-cant-be-trusted-says-top-US-general.html US fears that Britain’s defence cuts will diminish Army on world stage

In an exclusive interview, Gen Raymond Odierno, US army Chief of Staff, says UK defence cuts are eroding his country’s confidence in our commitment to global security By Con Coughlin8:00PM GMT 01 Mar 2015 17

Ministry of Defence DCDC Global Strategic Trends out to 2040

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/33717/GST4_v9_Feb10.pdf

Executive Summary and Implications for Defence and Security

18

https://www.newamerica.org/international-security/future-of-war/

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Christopher Elliot: High Command British Military leadership in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. 2015 OUP 16 | WWW.DEFENCEINDUSTRYREPORTS.COM


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Defence Industry Reports – Advances in Soldier Interface Technology for Modern Military Operations  

Defence Industry – Special Report on Advances in Soldier Interface Technology for Modern Military Operations

Defence Industry Reports – Advances in Soldier Interface Technology for Modern Military Operations  

Defence Industry – Special Report on Advances in Soldier Interface Technology for Modern Military Operations