all in black, Army Sgt. Joseph Patterson looks like he stepped from
the pages of a science fiction book depicting future warfare.
Patterson recently demonstrated some advanced concepts for outfitting
infantrymen to members of Congress and their staffs. Patterson is part
of the Soldier Support Center in Natick, Mass. "This is the
equivalent of a concept car for infantrymen," he said.
"We're taking a look at every idea and asking, what possibly
could make my life great?" Do you want one uniform for all
climates? This prototype has a built-in heating or cooling system. The
outfit is interlaced with tubes. "You cool the bodysuit or heat
it depending on the core body temperature," Patterson said. Do
you want a read-out on what your condition is? This outfit has
built-in monitors that check heartbeat, breathing and hydration. It
also will monitor sleep and gauge your combat stress. Not only does
the service member have the information, but the commander does also.
Need an integrated communications and data system? "We're going
to have body-borne antennas, so no more of those long antennas
sticking up," he said. "We're looking at a really visionary
idea of being chameleons," he said. "We're going to have a
chameleon uniform that changes color depending on where you are. It'll
be an arctic uniform, a jungle uniform, a desert uniform as
needed." Not having to carry extra gear, such as field jackets or
rain gear, lightens the load. "Backpacks will no longer be needed
except for food, extra ammo and water," he said. "We're
actually going to carry just mission-specific items and none of what
we call 'snivel gear.' So we don't have our cold weather gear, our wet
weather suits, our chemical- biological protection -- it's all
integrated into one suit." Patterson's black suit included body
armor and integrated his weapon in a helmet-mounted heads-up display.
"The display is on the helmet visor. On the top, we'll have an
embedded sensor suite with night vision and thermal sights," he
said. "We'll be able to see 360 degrees, everyone knows where
each other is through combat identification, and you can link to
everyone and transmit real-time data directly to their heads-up
displays." All of this may sound like a page out of
"Starship Troopers," but it could happen. "We can't do
these things now, but we should be able to make the technology work in
the near future," Patterson said. "It's just a chance to
push the envelope."
Source: By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service
Army Sgt. Joseph
Patterson models the Future Warrior Vision outfit for members of
Congress and their staffs at the Rayburn House Office Building in
Washington, D.C. The suit he demonstrated May 3, 2001, features body
armor and integrated systems for cooling and heating, stress
monitoring and communications. Photo by Gerry J. Gilmore.
High-resolution image available.
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