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The Soldier of the Future?

So what will an infantryman look like in 2030? Well, here’s the vision (and I might add, this has been the vision in one version or another, for decades):

Future Soldier?

Future Soldier?

Some interesting comments in the NY Post article about this concept:

Aided by “smart drugs,” enhanced with prosthetics, and protected by a lightweight suit of armor, this soldier of the future possesses near super-human capabilities and weapons that would make even Iron Man jealous. He’s suited up in an “exoskeleton” – essentially a Storm Trooper-esque external shell – that allows him to carry heavy loads. Electronics integrated in his outfit allow for simultaneous language translation, automatic identification of potential foes, and video-game-like targeting. If the soldier is tired, overworked, or injured, neural and physiological sensors automatically send an alert to headquarters.

A networked battlefield has been a military dream ever since computers and networks was first understood by the institution. The upside is pretty obvious – the ability to quickly gather, integrate and disseminate intelligence. Fewer people necessary to cover more ground. Command, control and communication are enhanced in ways that aren’t possible right now. Joint ops would be a snap. And some excellent force protection technology too boot.

The other side of that is our tendency to display an bit of an over reliance on technology. Technology is not a tactic or a strategy – it’s a tool. The fact that you field a networked battle force doesn’t mean an automatic win. Of course that’s been evident in the low tech battlefields on which we’re engaged in both Iraq and Afghanistan.

Used as a tool, and given the amount of enhanced training that will be necessary for the lowest of privates to use it effectively, it could be something that gives us an edge in the type of warfare in which we’re engaged now, and certainly an edge on a conventional battlefield. What we have to remember, however, is technology isn’t a substitute for tactics or strategy.


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16 Responses to The Soldier of the Future?

  • Heh. Lemme guess… you were watching the Star Wars Marathon today.
    Yeah, I know, I know… still… life imitating art.

  • But is it carbon neutral?

  • Considering the video games these days, I’m not convinced it would take THAT long to train new troops on this kind of stuff.

  • My first thought is always… what if something breaks?

    What is the thinking behind a voice-unlocked weapon?

    • Probably along the lines of “the enemy could never use it against you”.

      • And what if your buddy needs to pick it up and use it?

        Or you have full-facial chem gear on?

        Or the battle-field is *loud*?

        Putting a transponder or some such in your gear so that only friendlies can use the weapon means that only one thing is necessary for the enemy to completely disarm your entire troop.

  • You can’t move properly with all that *stuff* all over you.
    I see no real advantage to this stuff, on this earth.

  • The weapon ident bit is stupid, not least because the first thing any good sergeant would do is disable the system. Plenty of Sci-Fi authors have looked at the issue and all the ones that actually have been in combat/note the necessity of  war have come to the same conclusion.

  • I predict the built in physiological sensors will detect heat stroke within an hour, due to the combination of ambient temperature, heat generated by all the electronics, and inadequate dissipation of body heat.  Possibly also a nice short circuit  due to extreme sweating. The custom fitted boots sound nice and useful, though.

  • This will be useful for the five thousand troops we have remaining after the Obama administration.

  • While the military may be a little optimistic that they can reach this goal by 2030, the things they are planning seem to me to be inevitable, as inevitable as the bomber was the instant the Wright brothers got off the ground at Kitty Hawk.  I’m glad to know that the military is trying hard to keep on the technological edge, too.  The facial recognition gizmo is a pretty good idea, too, especially for COIN and even law enforcement.  Perhaps there is some other sort of technology that will allow recognition of evil intentions through detection of physiological stress indicators.

    The voice-activated weapon is stupid, though.

  • I tend to think we will go the automated robot model and leave the troops in the rear to control the tracked hunter/killers.

  • I always see these and usually just laugh.  The real problem is cost….one crotch shot and this guy is out, that is unsustainable in a war, as well as the manufacturing time it would likely take to create it.

  • They look pretty……..but can they fight?

  • Soon we won’t use people at all in the battlespace. Everything will be unmanned: planes, tanks, and guns.