Future Force Warrior
is a United States military advanced technology demonstration project that is part of the Future Combat Systems
Future Combat Systems was the United States Army's principal modernization program from 2003 to early 2009. Formally launched in 2003, FCS was envisioned to create new brigades equipped with new manned and unmanned vehicles linked by an unprecedented fast and flexible battlefield network...
project. The FFW project seeks to create a lightweight, fully integrated infantry
Infantrymen are soldiers who are specifically trained for the role of fighting on foot to engage the enemy face to face and have historically borne the brunt of the casualties of combat in wars. As the oldest branch of combat arms, they are the backbone of armies...
man combat system. It is one technology demonstration project in a series of network-centric
Network-centric warfare, also called network-centric operations, is a military doctrine or theory of war pioneered by the United States Department of Defense in the 1990's....
, next-generation infantry combat projects the U.S. military have developed over the past decade, such as the Soldier Integrated Protective Ensemble
The Soldier Integrated Protective Ensemble program is the initial step in developing an integrated modular clothing and equipment system for combat ground troops of the United States Army....
technology demonstration program, Land Warrior
Land Warrior is a United States Army program, cancelled in 2007, that was to use a combination of commercial, off-the-shelf technology and current-issue military gear and equipment designed to:* integrate small arms with high-tech equipment;...
, and Transformation of the United States Army
Army Transformation describes the future-concept of the United States Army's plan of modernization. Transformation is a generalized term for the integration of new concepts, organizations, and technology within the armed forces of the United States....
The Future Force Warrior concept envisions the radical use of technologies such as nanotechnology
Nanotechnology is the study of manipulating matter on an atomic and molecular scale. Generally, nanotechnology deals with developing materials, devices, or other structures possessing at least one dimension sized from 1 to 100 nanometres...
, powered exoskeleton
A powered exoskeleton, also known as powered armor, or exoframe, is a powered mobile machine consisting primarily of an exoskeleton-like framework worn by a person and a power supply that supplies at least part of the activation-energy for limb movement.Powered exoskeletons are designed to assist...
s, and magnetorheological fluid
A magnetorheological fluid is a type of smart fluid in a carrier fluid, usually a type of oil. When subjected to a magnetic field, the fluid greatly increases its apparent viscosity, to the point of becoming a viscoelastic solid. Importantly, the yield stress of the fluid when in its active state...
-based body armor to provide the infantry with significantly higher force multiplier
Force multiplication, in military usage, refers to an attribute or a combination of attributes which make a given force more effective than that same force would be without it. The expected size increase required to have the same effectiveness without that advantage is the multiplication factor...
than the opposing force
An opposing force or enemy force is a military unit tasked with representing an enemy, usually for training purposes in war game scenarios...
. However, the stated concept is not U.S. Army doctrine, and is not intended to answer every situation that Army After Next (the Army's buzzword
A buzzword is a term of art, salesmanship, politics, or technical jargon that is used in the media and wider society outside of its originally narrow technical context....
for future fighting forces) would face; rather, the concept is meant to serve as an end goal to strive to reach or to compromise with current technologies and to stir imagination and dialogue on how these technologies and concepts can help soldiers in the near future.
The first phase of the project involves a development of the technologies to help reduce the soldier's fighting load and power requirements and improving the soldier's protection, lethality, and environmental and situational awareness, with planned deployment in 2010, to serve the Army's short-term needs. The Army's plan is to introduce the subsystems in "spirals
The spiral model is a software development process combining elements of both design and prototyping-in-stages, in an effort to combine advantages of top-down and bottom-up concepts. Also known as the spiral lifecycle model , it is a systems development method used in information technology...
" every two years, instead of one large rollout every ten years. The U.S. military hopes to develop a fully realized end product sometime in 2032, incorporating research from U.C. Berkeley
The University of California, Berkeley , is a teaching and research university established in 1868 and located in Berkeley, California, USA...
The Berkeley Lower Extremity Exoskeleton is a robotic device that attaches to the lower body. Its purpose is to complement the pilot's strength by adding extra force to one's lower extremity bodily movements...
exoskeleton project and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology
The Massachusetts Institute of Technology is a private research university located in Cambridge, Massachusetts. MIT has five schools and one college, containing a total of 32 academic departments, with a strong emphasis on scientific and technological education and research.Founded in 1861 in...
's Institute for Soldier Nanotechnologies into a final design.
Net Warrior – named after COL Robert B. Nett – replaced Land Warrior. Future Force Warrior is a futuristic research project with real deliverables folded into the Nett Warrior program. Situational awareness including the Rifleman Radio on every soldier, head up display, location and Physiological Status Monitoring are the basic building blocks being implemented in increment 1. Rumors exist that shot detection is in block 2. This technology allows a soldier to identify the location of a shot taken.
The computer system in mid 2011 replaced an over weight Linux system with an Android smart phone.
The Headgear Subsystem, described in the Concept by FFW development team at Natick as Information Central, is the situational awareness
Situation awareness, situational awareness, or SA, is the perception of environmental elements with respect to time and/or space, the comprehension of their meaning, and the projection of their status after some variable has changed, such as time...
hub of the system. It would include integrated tactical processing by providing maps, routes, and data with a 180° emissive visor display, high bandwidth wireless communications, microelectronic/optics combat sensor suite that provides 360° situational awareness, and integrated small arms
Small arms is a term of art used by armed forces to denote infantry weapons an individual soldier may carry. The description is usually limited to revolvers, pistols, submachine guns, carbines, assault rifles, battle rifles, multiple barrel firearms, sniper rifles, squad automatic weapons, light...
In the current development program, the FFW Advanced Technology Demonstrator (ATD), this subsystem is labeled Sensors & Communications Vision
. Its current capabilities would provide networked FFW-equipped small units with robust team communications using JTRS Cluster 5 Soldier Radio Waveform, state-of-the-art distributed and fused sensors, organic tactical intelligence/collection assets, enhanced situational understanding, embedded training, on-the-move planning, and linkage to other Future Combat System assets.
Combat Uniform Subsystem
The FFW project aims to help protect the soldier by providing full-body bullet and fragmentation protection. In the original concept, the Combat Uniform Subsystem, also known as Survivability Central, is subdivided into three layers, the Protective Outer Layer, the Power Centric Layer, and the Life Critical Layer.
Currently, under the Survivability Vision
given by the Army's ATD, bullet-resistant armor provides protection to the upper arms, the upper legs and the chest and abdomen. These are currently made from bullet-resistant fibers such as Kevlar
Kevlar is the registered trademark for a para-aramid synthetic fiber, related to other aramids such as Nomex and Technora. Developed at DuPont in 1965, this high strength material was first commercially used in the early 1970s as a replacement for steel in racing tires...
and hard ceramics but a joint Army-MIT subprogram is developing a ferrofluid
A ferrofluid is a liquid which becomes strongly magnetized in the presence of a magnetic field.Ferrofluids are colloidal liquids made of nanoscale ferromagnetic, or ferrimagnetic, particles suspended in a carrier fluid . Each tiny particle is thoroughly coated with a surfactant to inhibit clumping...
Smart materials or designed materials are materials that have one or more properties that can be significantly changed in a controlled fashion by external stimuli, such as stress, temperature, moisture, pH, electric or magnetic fields....
composed of iron particles suspended in a silicon oil that harden within milliseconds when a current is applied. However, the development team at MIT has said that it will likely take five to ten years before the substance is made truly bullet resistant. They are also looking into a material called M5 fiber
M5 fiber is a high-strength synthetic fiber first developed by Dr. Doetze Sikkema and his team at the Dutch chemical firm Akzo Nobel...
which is much stronger in the fields of slash, ballistic, and fire protection and is much lighter than Kevlar.
In addition, Armor Holdings, Inc.
Armor Holdings, Inc. was a manufacturer of military, law enforcement and personnel safety equipment. It was acquired by BAE Systems on July 31, 2007 and renamed BAE Systems Mobility & Protection Systems...
has developed a product that is similar to the Army-MIT program, a "Shear-Thickening Liquid" armor additive produced from a mixture of polyethylene glycol
Polyethylene glycol is a polyether compound with many applications from industrial manufacturing to medicine. It has also been known as polyethylene oxide or polyoxyethylene , depending on its molecular weight, and under the tradename Carbowax.-Available forms:PEG, PEO, or POE refers to an...
, a polymer found in laxatives and other consumer products, and nanobits of silica, or purified sand. When struck with a significant impact, the armor stiffens instantly into a shield, then reverts to its liquid state just as fast when the energy from the projectile dissipates. The new armor, originally envisioned to be spread on like peanut butter, is instead sprayed onto Kevlar in ultra-thin coats. Armor Holdings planned to begin to promote this new armor in 2007, but it is not sure if this will be used as a substitute for the Army's Survivability Vision.
In the original FFW Concept, the Weapon Subsystem, nicknamed Lethality Central, is a pistol-like combat weapon used for both indirect fire and direct fire. Weighing 5 pounds (2.3 kg) and using Metal Storm firearms technology, the pepper-box
The pepper-box revolver or simply pepperbox is a multiple-barrel repeating firearm that has three or more barrels grouped around a central axis. It mostly appears in the form of a multi-shot handheld firearm...
weapon fires 15 mm cold-launched, guided rounds stacked in 4 tubes with another tube loaded with high velocity 4.6 mm projectiles as a close combat personal defense weapon
A personal defense weapon is a compact semi-automatic or fully automatic firearm similar in most respects to a submachine gun, but firing an armor-piercing rifle round, giving a PDW better range, accuracy and armor-penetrating capability than submachine guns, which fire pistol-caliber cartridges...
The FFW will also have a new experimental weapon called the ElectroDart. It is a type of gun which delivers electric shocks to the opposing enemy through wires when the gun is fired. The voltage of the gun is roughly 50,000 volts.
Under the FFW ATD, the Army's Lethality Vision
proposes an integrated, advanced, lightweight weapons system with fire control software and hardware that is optimized for urban combat. The infantryman would be able to synchronize direct and indirect fires from Future Combat System and other networked platforms.
Warfighter Physiological Status Monitor Subsystem
WPSM is an on-board physiological and medical sensor suite that would collect and monitor information regarding vital signs such as body temperature, heart rate, blood pressure, hydration and stress levels, sleep status, body positioning and workload capacity of the warrior. If necessary, the WPSM can notify medics and commanders if the soldier has been wounded or has become fatigued.
Under the Advanced Technology Demonstration program, the physiological sensors of the WPSM are part of the Mobility, Sustainability and Human Performance Vision
. The Army's overall vision for this unit would be to provide "On the Move hydration" and hydration monitoring, as well as monitoring of the soldier's cognitive states, blood pressure
Blood pressure is the pressure exerted by circulating blood upon the walls of blood vessels, and is one of the principal vital signs. When used without further specification, "blood pressure" usually refers to the arterial pressure of the systemic circulation. During each heartbeat, BP varies...
, blood rate, stress levels, overall well-being, and much more.
The value of these systems are three-fold:
Concept of Operations, include knowing a person is injured by kinetic weapons or blast. This leads to instance field intel on the enemy location or threats. Additionally the reduction in war fighter roles can have immediate impact on mission. For example a heat stroke patient requires two personnel to treat and manage a heat casualty. Three people removed from a 22 man team is a significant reduction in mission capability for the team. If a sniper is killed, the team he is has over watch responsibility may not cross dangerous ground and instantly change the mission plan. The alternative is massive casualties.
- Tactical Combat Casualty Care, TCCC
Rapid point of injury care is the best way to increase survival percentage and results in better outcomes for an individual when they return home. WPSM is deployed on healthy individuals. Hence WPSM provides instance point of injury care remotely before a medic arrives and continues measuring the casualty on scene at the casualty collection point until (or if) better medical sensing equipment arrives.
WPSM provides safety during training and allows fitness assessments automatically. This capability is then used to asses team assessment and their chances of achieving any given mission. The training inputs can also be used for base-lining. Baselining is the measurement of an individuals vital signs
Vital signs are measures of various physiological statistics, often taken by health professionals, in order to assess the most basic body functions. Vital signs are an essential part of a case presentation. The act of taking vital signs normally entails recording body temperature, pulse rate ,...
under rest and exertion. Baselining is used in automatic triage
Triage or ) is the process of determining the priority of patients' treatments based on the severity of their condition. This rations patient treatment efficiently when resources are insufficient for all to be treated immediately. The term comes from the French verb trier, meaning to separate,...
(Red, Orange, Green) physiology assessment algorithms that automate WPSM icons.
The sensors used for WPSM are being developed as part of the soldiers Army Combat Shirt, ACS. Several companies are now supplying this technology as a stand alone system for PSM for first responders and soldiers. This early roll out of the technology is seen as the correct approach of the Future Force Warrior program as it enables the technology to be used in real world environments and further application learning in parallel to larger system integration. Cost is a major barrier to FFW and the sooner technologies become Commercial off the Shelf, COTS, the sooner wider deployment is possible.
Several suppliers of WPSM exist today, Zephyr Technology Corp – Annapolis, Foster Miller – Boston and Eqivatal – UK. Zephyr Technology Corp is currently under contract with the US Defense, Medical Research Medical Command, to provide WPSM built into the Army Combat Shirt. Public records show this contract completes in 2011. The system appears to offer an optical fiber connection to the Nett Warrior computer (now Android). This may be to replace a BlueTooth link that the US Army and NRO has not approved for down range deployment.
Microclimate Cooling System
The Microclimate Cooling System, built into the Life Critical Layer, is a network of narrow tubing that would provide 100 watts of heating or cooling to the soldier.
Currently, the Future Force Warrior Cooling System (FFW-CS) being developed circulates chilled water through a special heat-transfer garment. The cooled circulating fluid pulls metabolic heat from the soldier's body and transfers it into the environment through its condenser. The main condenser unit can provide 120 W cooling power in a 95 °F (35 °C) environment, with an average power consumption of 35 W and weight of 3.5 pounds (1.6 kg), excluding the power source. A fully functional demonstration prototype was exhibited in 2008.
The Power Subsystem, built into the Power Centric Layer, would be fed by the Duration Central, a 2 to 20 watt Micro Turbine fueled by a liquid hydrocarbon fuel pack. According to the concept, ten ounces of fuel would power the soldier's integrated electronics ensemble for up to 6 days. Polymeric nanofiber battery patches embedded in the headgear and weapon provide back-up power for three hours.
Listed under the Power Vision
in the Advanced Technology Demonstrator, the current specifications ask for 24-hour autonomous individual operation and 72-hour continuous autonomous team operations, with a high density, low weight/volume, self-generating/re-generating, reliable, safe power source.
Air Warrior is the U.S. Army’s next-generation aircrew ensemble, with the final product intended to provide life support, ballistic protection, and nuclear, biological, and chemical (NBC) protection in mission-configurable modules, and is being developed with interoperability in mind. The system consists of components integrated to maximize safe aircraft operation and sustain aircrews throughout the flight environment.
Block 1 of the Air Warrior system provided an initial system capability including the development, procurement, and fielding of a micro climate cooling system, an integrated survival gear and ballistic protection system, improved over-water protective equipment, and a light-weight chemical and biological protection ensemble.
The ongoing Block 2 technology insertion program provides an Electronic Data Manager and an Aircrew Wireless Intercom System.
General Dynamics C4 Systems is the Block 3 Systems Integrator. The Block 3 system is focused on increasing force effectiveness by improving situational awareness and survivability with features similar to those of the Headgear Subsystem.
The Air Warrior Block 3 system is intended to be compatible with multiple helicopter types, including the CH-47 Chinook, OH-58D Kiowa Warrior, AH-64 Apache and UH-60 Blackhawk. Additional Block 3 capabilities are being defined through the requirements analysis and roadmap phase.
Microclimate Cooling allows for extended flight time in MOPP4, Integrated helmet system across all platforms; includes improved hearing protection, Day/Night HMD, advanced NVG, maxillofacial shield, passive and agile laser eye protection, nuclear flash protection and external audio, Hands-free wireless intercom communications between dismounted aircrew members and pilots, Tailorable NBC protection for all levels of MOPP configurations, Water survival capabilities include a low profile floatation collar, an integrated one-man raft, oxygen supply for emergency underwater breathing and an anti-exposure suit, Survival gear carrier is fully compatible with ballistic protection body armor, Tailorable placement for personal defensive weapon and survival/egress knife, Electronic data manager increases situational awareness; integrates with BFT on aircraft and AMPS Mission planning system, Survival radio for secure position reporting and over the horizon communications capability, Extraction harness and safety restraint integrated with survival gear carrier, Enhanced survivability of aircrews via improved flame and chemical/biological protection, Hands-free breakaway connections for emergency egress, Tailorable to support operations in all geographic regions and environmental conditions and to accommodate varying threat levels.
- Though closer in description to a vehicle than personal body armor, the powered armor exoskeleton
An exoskeleton is the external skeleton that supports and protects an animal's body, in contrast to the internal skeleton of, for example, a human. In popular usage, some of the larger kinds of exoskeletons are known as "shells". Examples of exoskeleton animals include insects such as grasshoppers...
s worn by the Mobile Infantry troops in Robert A. Heinlein
Robert Anson Heinlein was an American science fiction writer. Often called the "dean of science fiction writers", he was one of the most influential and controversial authors of the genre. He set a standard for science and engineering plausibility and helped to raise the genre's standards of...
's science fiction novel Starship Troopers
Starship Troopers is a military science fiction novel by Robert A. Heinlein, first published as a serial in The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction and published hardcover in December, 1959.The first-person narrative is about a young soldier from the Philippines named Juan "Johnnie" Rico and his...
have served as an inspiration for many of the scientists and developers working on the Future Force Warrior concept throughout the years.
- The PlayStation 3
The is the third home video game console produced by Sony Computer Entertainment and the successor to the PlayStation 2 as part of the PlayStation series. The PlayStation 3 competes with Microsoft's Xbox 360 and Nintendo's Wii as part of the seventh generation of video game consoles...
stealth-action game Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots
is a video game developed by Kojima Productions for the PlayStation 3 console. The game was directed by Hideo Kojima and made its worldwide release on June 12, 2008, ten years after the release of Metal Gear Solid and twenty years after the North American release of Metal Gear.Guns of the Patriots...
features several different groups of high-tech military contractors that have many features in common with the concept of a Future Force Warrior. While obviously possessing state-of-the-art tactical weaponry and armor, every single soldier is integrated into and monitored by an advanced A.I. that constantly maintains the neural network
The term neural network was traditionally used to refer to a network or circuit of biological neurons. The modern usage of the term often refers to artificial neural networks, which are composed of artificial neurons or nodes...
of nanomachines in their bloodstream, optimizing the efficiency of their organs and reaction time, as well as dulling them to horrific scenes of carnage or sending them into a streak of bloodlust, leading to a "cleaner, safer battlefield" by having complete control over a lockout function that is featured on every single piece of ordnance in a given arsenal.
- The PC
A personal computer is any general-purpose computer whose size, capabilities, and original sales price make it useful for individuals, and which is intended to be operated directly by an end-user with no intervening computer operator...
video game Crysis
Crysis is a science fiction first-person shooter video game developed by Crytek , published by Electronic Arts for Microsoft Windows, and released in November 2007. It is the first game of a trilogy. A separate game entitled Crysis Warhead was released on September 12, 2008, and follows similar...
features a suit of nanotechnology-empowered armour called the Nanosuit that was inspired by this project.
- The protagonist units of the Ghost Recon
Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon is an American series of military tactical shooter video games created by Red Storm Entertainment, the game development studio founded in part by American author Tom Clancy....
video game series are equipped with technology produced by the Future Force Warrior program, and use it to overcome odds soldiers lacking the technology would be incapable of surmounting.
- One of the earliest attempts (and some would argue an influence to early development) to capture some of the ideas around the Future Force Warrior concept can be found in the movie Aliens (1986), where a Colonial Marine expedition was fully decked out with integrated cameras, communications, and life sensors.
MultiCam is a single camouflage pattern designed to help the wearer hide in varied environments, seasons, elevations, and light conditions. It is a 7-color, multi-environment camouflage pattern developed by Crye Associates in conjunction with U.S. Army Soldier Systems Center...
, the camouflage pattern and clothing used in many FFW examples.
Micropower describes the work that researchers at several universities are doing to develop very small electric generators and prime movers or devices to convert heat or motion to electricity, for use close to the generator...
- Cognitive Technology Threat Warning System
The Cognitive Technology Threat Warning System, otherwise known as , is an artificial cognitive science program designed to analyze sensory-data and then alert foot-soldiers to any possible threats, passive or direct. CT2WS is part of U.S...
, a DARPA project aimed at integrating AI
AI, A.I., Ai, or ai may refer to:- Computers :* Artificial intelligence, a branch of computer science* Ad impression, in online advertising* .ai, the ISO Internet 2-letter country code for Anguilla...
research, and sensory data to create a portable warning-alert system.