FORT BLISS, TEXAS — You may have heard the expression "battle tested" but that's just not good enough for the Army. New mobile networking technology is now being put to the test before it reaches the battle field. Some of that new technology is tested right on our doorstep at Fort Bliss and White Sands.
Since June of 2011, the Army has been working on improving battlefield communications with realistic mission simulations at Fort Bliss and White Sands. That includes "laser tag" type attachments to rifles and sensors to track hits and near misses. Our desert environment is similar to Afghanistan, making this the ideal location for the tests.
These simulations are part of the Army's network integration evaluations, or NIE's. It's vital that every soldier to have the best possible information, without hassles. Connections are made through trucks that connect with satellites, and act sort of like a mobile cell phone tower to give access to information, such as live video from drone aircraft in the area. Another tool being tested now is "NETT WARRIOR"...which is a smart phone loaded with maps showing real time locations of other soldiers and the enemy. This system keeps soldiers in the field connected at all times, to each other and to those in charge.
To check the NETT WARRIOR, it's just a simple flip of a specially designed pocket on the front of a soldier's shirt. Soldiers testing new equipment are getting first look at what's coming, and an opportunity to improve it. The Army takes the suggestions from all levels of command, and technology that is hard to use or not reliable will either be changed or the Army will try something different.
The technology being testing right now could be in use in the battlefield in less than one year.