Here is what the US Military picked for soldier-worn tactical USB hubs

The US Military has lengthy sought to provide its troopers a connected-tech edge, and has lastly settled on a vendor to ship a a lot wanted piece of {hardware} to attach the assorted good wearables it plans to area. 

The contract was awarded to aerospace and protection agency Elbit America for some 33,000 Subsequent Technology Hubs (NGH), a rugged wearable USB gadget. NGHs will function the management nodes for the Nett Warrior system, the US Military’s newest network-connected equipment for infantry troops.

In keeping with the US Military, Nett Warrior (named for Medal of Honor recipient Colonel Robert Nett) is designed to make use of “business good gadgets with tactical purposes networked by means of the Built-in Tactical Community.” Nett Warrior makes use of its personal Tactical Assault Equipment software program system and purposes to ship “map-based, situational consciousness” for particular person troopers and their squadmates. 

Nett Warrior is cross-platform, with apps developed for Android, Home windows, Linux and internet browsers. The system is designed to function throughout navy branches and in cooperation with the federal authorities and host nation companion operations, the Military mentioned. An SDK for the platform can be out there. One might think about that opponents are lining up for a attempt at cracking this.

Boots on the bottom

Historically, particular person groups, squads and platoons within the area have been compelled to depend on radio communications to contact HQ, obtain orders and get notified of allied actions and enemy actions. Radio communications are removed from dependable (this US Military vet can attest to that), and plenty of troopers find yourself in conditions the place the fog of warfare turns into so thick with confusion that allies and enemies alike change into targets. 

It is even trickier for dismounted items to remain up to date on allied and enemy actions – with no squared away radio man it is simple to lose monitor of what is taking place, even over the subsequent ridgeline. Nett Warrior and the NGH goal to deal with these battlefield communications shortcomings by means of particular person built-in soldier programs.

Different Nett Warrior elements connecting to the NGH might embody focusing on programs, laser vary discovering, night time imaginative and prescient, thermal sights and even sci-fi tech like a small private drone designed to make scouting safer. 

El Reg readers are probably conversant in not less than one of many much less profitable {hardware} initiatives the Military has launched into for Nett Warrior with companion Microsoft, whose HoloLens goggles have been in testing with the Military since 2018. Navy use of the HoloLens was beforehand postponed in 2021.

As of late 2022, the HoloLens was getting poor outcomes from Military testing, with a DoD report discovering the headsets brought on “mission-affecting bodily impairments” together with complications, eyestrain and nausea. In January of this yr, Congress eradicated funding for the Built-in Visible Augmentation System (IVAS) for something however analysis into a greater model. 

Model 1.2 of IVAS, which separates controller and pc for simpler carry by Nett warriors, is due for testing in FY 2025.

The DoD initially awarded Elbit’s contract for its Subsequent Gen Hubs in January, with the award totalling greater than $25 million for hundreds of the rugged USB hubs.

In its press launch saying the challenge, Elbit would not point out a financial worth for the contract, however did describe it barely in another way. It isn’t instantly clear whether or not the NGH contract has been modified since being awarded earlier within the yr. We have reached out to Elbit with questions and can replace this story if we hear again. ®