Electronic Weapons: Battlefield YouTube Tested


October 17, 2007: The U.S. Army has successfully tested "battlefield Internet" technology that enables UH-64 Apache helicopter gunships to share real time video with troops on the ground. In other words, what the Apache vidcams see can be viewed by troops on the ground (including individual troops, using an eyepiece sized screen), and anything ground vidcams can see can be shared with the Apache. Video from nearby UAVs can also be shared.

This sort of capability has long been sought by the army, and is believed to be a critical capability for success in 21st century warfare. With the battlefield Internet, a company or battalion commander can more quickly get an idea of what he's up against, and instantly send video or pictures to platoon or squad leaders, so that information can be quickly acted on.

Troops have already had a taste of this via the limited video sharing available using Rover terminals (laptops with a few accessories). The new video sharing gear is a lot more portable, more PDA class. Now the stuff has to be built rugged enough to survive the rough treatment it will encounter in combat. Combat tests of this system will take place next year, with an effort to get the gear to combat troops by 2009. The wartime conditions speed up the development of this sort of thing, which is the way it has worked in past wars.


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