Dismounted soldiers will get a new precision firing app
- By Katherine Owens
- Jun 27, 2017
The latest Precision Fires-Dismounted (PF-D) is an update to both the existing precision-fires system and the Nett Warrior mobile device, according to the Army’s PEO Command, Control, Communications-Tactical (C3T). It is also the Nett Warrior initiative’s first large-scale program of record.
The upgraded PF-D software now allows entirely digital calls-for-fire and digitally-conveyed precise target coordinates, according to an Army press release. Dismounted soldiers can also access live-stream video footage from drones and 3D terrain maps on their Nett Warrior devices.
Transitioning to completely digital fire commands lessens the possibility of mistakes due to poor phone or radio connections, said Chief Warrant Officer 4 Robert Stoll, an Operational Test Officer with the Fires Test Directorate at Fort Sill.
"These improved capabilities allow us to be lighter, faster and more lethal by optimizing the sensor-to-shooter digital chain. They assist us in providing faster, more accurate firing data to our cannon crews, enhancing our effectiveness on the battlefield,” explained Lt. Col. Kevin Taylor, Commander of 3rd Battalion, 319th Field Artillery Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division (Artillery), in March.
Additionally, commanders can access the location and condition updates that soldiers report on the Nett Warrior network. They can use that data to enhance situational awareness and make tactical decisions.
“It provides unprecedented situational awareness at the dismounted level through the map display. The icons show where all the other users are on the battlefield and the device allows for battlefield messaging,” said Lt. Col. Adrian Marsh, Product Manager for Ground Soldier System. “Everyone sees the same picture…the battle changes in real-time and information can transmit across the force in real time.”
While the previous Nett Warrior end user device weighed over three pounds and cost about $30,000, the new PF-D–enabled Nett Warrior mobile device will be an Android smartphone, weighing less than a pound and costing only about $8,000, according to the Army’s press release.
Updating the hardware and the user interface is important, because soldiers are already adept at using cellphones and expect their battlefield technology to be just as modern and intuitive, explained Lt. Col. Chris Anderson, Product Manager for Fire Support Command and Control.
Nett Warrior is the primary situational awareness, command connectedness network for the dismounted soldier. It uses Soldier Radio Waveform, high bandwidth frequency that functions like a wifi network, but is more secure.
According to the Army’s press release, 19 soldiers from Fort Bragg, North Carolina underwent training and evaluations with the PF-D technology, both in the classroom and in the field. The Nett Warrior PF-D software application capability is expected to officially reach the battlefield this fall.
Katherine Owens is a freelance reporter for Defense Systems