Industry Recon

High-capacity troposcatter 

Raytheon announced in March that it completed a successful test with the Army of tactical wireless network transmission via its High-Capacity Beyond Line-of-Sight troposcatter system.

Troposcatter involves the distribution of signals by the lowest portion of the Earth’s atmosphere so that they travel farther than line of sight. Raytheon’s Ku-band HC BLOS system can deliver voice, video and data among warfighters, vehicles and unmanned systems in a way that transmits radio waves without using satellites. Warfighters can use the technology to establish a high-capacity data link that transmits 40 megabytes/sec for as far as 120 miles.

During the demonstration, the troposcatter system successfully obtained long-range network connections to several different wireless technologies. The troposcatter used Raytheon’s Enhanced Position Location Reporting System to stream real-time video more than 30 miles between Fort Monmouth and Fort Dix in New Jersey.

Soldier exoskeleton

Lockheed Martin has developed a new robotic exoskeleton for Army soldiers that transfers the weight to the ground through battery-powered titanium legs.

Designed to improve strength and endurance while reducing fatigue, the Human Universal Load Carrier moves with the individual, allowing for deep squats, crawls and upper body lifting with minor exertion, company officials said in March. The exoskeleton is untethered and hydraulic powered, and it includes a microcomputer system to ensure it moves with the individual.

Lockheed Martin will produce the exoskeleton under an exclusive licensing agreement with Berkeley Bionics, of Berkeley, Calif.

The exoskeleton will provide an advantage in ground operations, as soldiers often carry heavy combat loads that increase stress on the body, leading to injuries and exhaustion. Soldiers often must carry a rucksack that weighs as much as 70 pounds, in addition to batteries to power everything from radios to helmet-mounted displays, Global Positioning System devices and tactical computers. As the weight of the equipment increases, an exoskeleton capable of supporting such loads would be a great benefit, said Army officials familiar with the concept.

All-weather laptop

General Dynamics Itronix unveiled in March its GD8000 laptop computer designed for military personnel to use during extreme temperatures, oppressive dust and humidity, and rain-soaked conditions.

The computer, which meets Mil-Std 810F, was designed to withstand repeated drops onto hard surfaces, operate for four hours in the pouring rain, and withstand freezing and scorching temperatures, company officials said.

The GD8000 is powered by Intel low-voltage Core2Duo processing architecture and is housed in an ergonomic casing with a 13.3-inch DynaVue touch-screen display. The 7.9-pound rugged laptop comes with a 120G hard drive and a graphics media accelerator.

The GD8000 is designed for military personnel to use in field settings such as mobile command centers, helicopters and tactical vehicles.

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