As part of “Science and Technology Day” Wednesday at AUSA’s Winter Symposium and Exposition in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., Brig. Gen. Peter N. Fuller, Program Executive Office, Soldier, outlined some changes that have come online to improve soldier lethality, survivability and operating environment.
- M4 improvements: Heavier barrel which gives soldiers a higher rate of fire; flash suppressors; ambidextrous operation; improved rails which increase accuracy
- M240L machine gun: Lighter weight and tripod
- XM2010 sniper rifle
- XM25: Smart weapon with 25mm munitions. Soldiers have already nicknamed it “The Punisher” for its effectiveness.
- Improved outer tactical vest: Lighter with better adjustments
- Enhanced combat helmet: Lighter with improved capability
- Fire resistant materials and uniforms to protect soldiers “from head to toe”
- Modular body armor
- Enhanced night vision goggles
- Land Warrior/Nett Warrior: Improving overall soldier situational awareness
- Sense through wall
- Individual gunshot detection while working with fellow soldiers to effectively engage the target
- New Afghanistan camouflage pattern
The challenge is balancing evolutionary and revolutionary changes, Fuller said. New equipment oftentimes leads to more weight for soldiers to carry into combat operations. Shaving weight and improving integration will keep from simply “hanging stuff on these kids.”
Power in particular “is our Achilles heel” as soldiers carry more and more equipment that needs batteries, Fuller said. Power sources need to be decreased in size while increasing capability.