Information Warfare: September 29, 2004


The US Army has installed 100 helmet-mounted displays (HMD) in Stryker armored vehicles deployed in Iraq. The Nomad HMD are being used to provide increased situational awareness for vehicle commanders by displaying command and control information, such as Blue Force Tracker friendly forces locations, on the display while the commander is riding with his head outside of the vehicle in the open hatch looking around. It allows the commander to be heads up at all times rather than ducking down into the vehicle to check a computer display and then pop back up to look around again. 

Nomad uses a low-power laser beam to directly paint a picture onto the retina, using a monocle that hangs off the helmet over one eye. The first units were deployed with the 3Rd Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division currently in Iraq and were field-installed in Kuwait. The second Stryker Brigade, the 1st Brigade, 25th Infantry has been impressed with the positive field reports and is requesting increased capabilities out of the device. A second-generation Nomad will have a remote control and the ability to toggle between FBCB2 information, the Strykers onboard infra-red sensor, and the remote weapons station image. Down the road, the manufacturer would like to take the cable-based system and switch it to wireless technology to allow the vehicle commander more freedom and to be able to operate the system outside of the vehicle. 

HMDs are a novelty on armored vehicles, but they have been in use in attack helicopters for over a decade and are starting to show up in large numbers on fighter aircraft around the globe, including American, European, and Russian planes. Doug Mohney


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