17 Jul 14. BAE pushes Broadsword. BAE Systems continues to advance its Broadsword electronic soldier system which aims to reduce the quantity of batteries carried by soldiers in the field. The product was officially unveiled at Eurosatory in Paris last month as a ‘non-wired integrated soldier system’, built into a body armour configuration. However, the company used the Farnborough International Airshow to display the system integrated into a Modular Lightweight Load-carrying Equipment (MOLLE) or ‘webbing’ configuration. BAE Systems believes demand for such a non-wire solution will gather pace over the next decade with Broadsword’s common spine providing modularity and scalability for armed forces personnel conducting a wide range of missions. Recent work has involved ruggedising the system, preparing USB connector hubs and integrating it into a skeleton webbing system and moulding e-textile materials. BAE’s work followed on from a demonstrator programme run by the UK MoD to prove the technology, which uses a Denchi centralised power pack and e-textile material to distribute the power and data around the webbing without wires. The e-textile material weighs just 500g. Items, such as torches or radios, can be attached to USB connector points around the webbing in a plug-and-play fashion and the e-textile material means that a soldier can avoid emitting signals as there are no wires to be damaged and it is shielded from an EMC perspective. Furthermore, the system is not ‘wireless’ so can avoid jamming interference. According to BAE Systems, the power requirements of an individual soldier mean that there is an excessive burden that can range from 4kg up to 13kg in additional weight just from batteries. This is why the MoD ran the demonstrator programme that achieved an initial stage of readiness. The BAE spokesperson said that the MoD was ‘fully aware’ of their efforts to make the system applicable in the field, adding that the US was also ‘very interested’ in the concept. He added that most soldier modernisation programmes are focussed on the body armour but that with a move to contingency operations this means that this may not be required. Operations in non-arid environments, such as the jungle, may require just the use of skeleton webbing and no armour. Further work would include tailoring it for specific customers as the loom is not configured and can be easily tailored to any requirements. The spokesperson said that Broadsword can be implemented on a new soldier system or retrofitted into an existing one. (Source: Open Source Information Report/Shephard)
24 Jul 14. The Medium Extended Air Defense System (MEADS) recently completed a comprehensive system demonstration at Pratica di Mare Air Base near Rome, Italy. The two-week test demonstration included significant first-time events that were observed by several national delegations.
“The outstanding result is that we have demonstrated the full range of advanced network capabilities that only MEADS can provide,” said MEADS International Executive Vice President Volker Weidemann. “These ground-breaking capabilities are ready to be carried forward to meet national needs.”
The tests, including operational demonstrations run by German and Italian military personnel, were designed to seamlessly add and subtract system elements under representative combat conditions, and to blend MEADS with other systems in a larger system architecture:
* Using plug-and-fight (the military equivalent of plug-and-play that enables automatic integration of disparate system elements into a single super-system), MEADS demonstrated its ability to rapidly attach and control an external Italian deployable air defense radar. As a fully integrated asset in the MEADS network, the radar tracked air objects and supplied a common integrated air picture of the area around Pratica di Mare. MEADS operators were able to rapidly recognize, incorporate, control, remove, reallocate and reposition launchers and s