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.