LOS situational awareness

I'll try a bit of prophecising here.

Its known that a few modern main battle tanks have all-round camera vision (not upwards or downwards, of course). The F-35 LO strike  fighter has a subsystem called DAS, which with six cameras surveils all surroundings, serving as target tracker, missile detector and even (large calibre) muzzle flash detector. Some drones were equipped with a "gorgon stare", nine cameras watching a huge area simultaneously.

All this is sooner or later going to disseminate to the lowest level, the infantryman.

Now keep in mind how tiny and cheap 12+ megapixel cameras on smartphones are already.

Also, keep in mind how tiny and cheap radio-controlled quadcopter drones are. 

Finally, keep in mind that every fiberglass communication is essentially a communication by coded laser pulses.
_ _ _ _ _

Combine the ideas and the already available technology and you might end up with an infantryman possessing all-round vision with four cameras mounted on his helmet, and a worn minicomputer interpreting the all-round vision, alerting him of whatever is of interest; muzzle flashed, optics flashes, movements, recognizable shapes of interest, moving drones etc. 
The findings would be communicated to the user by stereo sound from earpieces and by a helmet mounted display not much more cumbersome than Google Glass.
He might even have a third set of eyes mounted on a kind of drone that's attached to a tiny backpack and launches from it to hover over his head, communicating with his helmet-mounted sensors by laser pulses and adding ranging by triangulation to the sensing of his "helmet's eyes". Well, this and  also the advantage of a bird's field of view.
The whole package may easily weigh less than a kg and cost less than two month's worth of pay.

ETA: About 2 years judging by technology, 10-20 years taking into account the sluggishness of the procurement agencies.

Finally, keep in mind I wrote this blog post under (very much felt) influence of alcohol, and it may be crap. Just as any other claim or idea of some dude on the intertubes. Always be critical, use your own judgement!



  1. The two major problems at the infantryman level are batteries (or power supply in general) and bandwidth. In all probability this technology is going to be integrated into UGVs attached to armored (and otherwise) recce companies.

  2. The bandwidth issue was addressed by pointing out laser comm. Need for batteries hasn't stopped armies from introducing ever more electronics at all levels.

  3. This post reads like all the others so you must be under the influence all the time. Well done.

    1. Well, you only saw it after all the spell checker corrections...

  4. Another problem could be EMP, such equipment could not be hardend against such effects or other kinds of electronic warfare. The main problem with this could be then a overreliance on this kind of technology and an inability to fight on without it.

    Moreover you can simply overload the human brain with to much information. If a computer can filter it in a way a human brain can make good use of it, such a computer could easily also act alone. If such technology would be combat-ready, autonomous drones would be much better, especially because they would make more violence political possible.

    So i do not think, that human infantry would go this way, but that more and more robotic armies which act in wide parts autonomous will replace the humans on the battlefield and this not so much for an technological advantage, but for cultural and political reasons.

    1. Video games offer but a small field of view with one screen, but typically include a kind of 360° radar or minimap to 1st and 3rd person modes. I suppose an appropriate presentation of information can be devised. Nobody's advocating actually presenting all-round vision, after all.

      EMP strikes are no criterion IMO. Almost no high tech would reliably resist a proper EMP attack.

      And frankly, someone who's concerned about EMP should not expect combat robot armies.

  5. Robot armies will come in the West TM not because they are superior (which they are not) but for socialcultural reasons and political reasons.

    And even such mini-maps which exist today in several Future Infantry Programs are most times useless and only an overload of information to the soldier in combat.

    That does not mean they have no use at all, especially for the joint fire support which will dominate the infantry combat, but not for the fight of the infantry itself.

    What we need in the infantry branche are much more JFST (Feuerleitkräfte) and more Recon / Long Range Reconaissance Patrols - a change of the infantry as a whole from an fighting force which can do some recon to a recon force which can also do some fighting.