Lost Comms – not with goTenna

goTenna

We are just back from delivering another training package in East Africa and while deployed, in what can only be described as some pretty austere and out of the way locations, we are reliant on handheld Motorola style radios for day to day communications. Motorola handheld radios have proved to be “Hoofing” bits of kit however, range can be greatly effected by both terrain and climatic conditions, this along with battery life and and the lack of any secure comms facility doesn’t create are harmonious relationship while training!

One of our Instructors recently came across goTenna….no its not a feminine hygiene product but a completely new and innovative method of conducting secure text communication through an IOS or Android mobile phone but without the need for any form of central connectivity/network!

goTenna works by way of a Bluetooth antenna system that links with a collapsible and highly portable antenna. It uses Long Range Radio waves to communicate with anyone else on your network who is also using a goTenna.

The guys from goTenna say that the device needs to be anywhere up to a maximum of 20 feet from your phone to achieve Bluetooth connectivity and will even connect and operate when your device is in Airplane Mode…..great way to save battery life and still communicate! You use a free App to text message or share a location and you can even conduct group messages. Messages remain safe and secure as they are encrypted and have a “self destruct” function once received.

Currently goTenna are quoting various ranges dependent on your position (transmitting-height) and the location of the receiving goTenna. As with all communications, terrain (forest, mountains, ocean, desert and urban) and possibly even climatic conditions can have an effect and wil no doubt reduce any speculated range? For the goTenna view on this take a look at the link below and see for yourself the ranges that they are claiming. If they prove true, this product could well be worth its eventual $299.99 USD price tag. goTenna are currently offering an introductory price for pre-orders of $149.99 for two devices!

We have yet to get our hands on a set however, we are waiting to receive our trial pair so that we can really put goTenna through its paces and give you some real and genuine “from the field” feed-back on what looks like an exciting new product.

Please check out the link below:

gotenna.com

Enhanced Situational Awareness – Technology

WORLD’S FIRST ‘HEAD-UP DISPLAY FOR SOLDIER’ IN FIELD TESTING

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Ever watchful that a new piece of technology may offer our existing and future clients an edge over their adversaries take a look at the UK’s BAE Systems Q-Warrior project. A revolutionary helmet mounted display system designed to provide soldiers and Special Forces personnel with more real-time visual data than ever before, reported to be exceeding expectations in field testing with current US military researchers.
The Q-Warrior™- the latest iteration of their helmet-mounted display technology, looks like a pilot’s head-up display but has been specially designed for the soldier who needs unique capabilities, such as identifying hostile and non-hostile forces, as well as co-ordinating small unit actions.

Designed and built by engineers at Electronic Systems business in Rochester, Kent, they report that the system significantly increases situational awareness capabilities for the ‘dismounted soldier’.  Q-Warrior™ introduces a high transmission and high luminance see-through display which incorporates a high-resolution colour, collimated display to allow the use of symbols and video to blend intuitively with the user’s view of the world. Waypoints, other points of interest and targets can all be displayed overlaid on the real view of what’s actually out there.

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Paul Wright, Soldier Systems’ Business Development Lead at BAE Systems’ Electronic Systems  in Rochester, Kent, said these are only some of the innovations which have been incorporated into the new display. “Q-Warrior™ increases the user’s situational awareness by providing the potential to display “eyes-out” information to the user, including textual information, warnings and threats,” he said. “Other key features include enhanced night vision, waypoints and routing information, and the ability to track both personnel and assets. We assume this is by the means of electronic “Trackers”, GPS and Blue Force tracking systems as opposed to true “Visual” Tracking! 

The biggest demand, in the short term at least, will be in roles where the early adoption of situational awareness technology offers a defined advantage,” added Mr Wright. “This is likely to be within non-traditional military units with reconnaissance roles, such as Forward Air Controllers/Joint Tactical Aircraft Controllers (JTACS) or with Special Forces during counter terrorist tasks. The next level of adoption could be light role troops such as airborne forces or marines, where technical systems and aggression help to overcome their lighter equipment.”

Q-Warrior™ also features a large eye-motion box to allow the soldier to make relatively large movements of his or her helmet while continuing to maintain his view of the display.

Although it is expected that Q-Warrior™ will initially be employed at the section commander level, the technology could become an essential but standard issue piece of kit for every soldier.

As with all technological advances battery life, size and therefore weight, will all become limiting factors with many of you already coming to the conclusion that a good “old fashioned” map offers us much of the information that this “high tech” unit professes to provide and without the possible “Data distraction” and weight encumbrance.  Ultimately a lightweight headgear that can measure distances, display 3D building layouts, transmit video from a drone, all on a glass display right in front of your eyes, could prove that this is one piece of technology that you can’t afford to ignore!

The Q-Warrior™ builds upon  technologies developed for our Q-Sight®

P.I.G. Saddle from Shadow Tech LLC

Another great addition from our friends at Shadow Tech. These guys also brought us the PIG Saddle’s big brother, the HOG Saddle.

P.I.G.-Saddle

Shadow Tech, LLC describes their P.I.G. (Professionally Instructed Gunman) Saddle as the AK-47 version of their popular HOG Saddle, in that it’s just as durable and reliable as its older brother, but at roughly a third of the cost. It’s constructed from steel with superior corrosion resistance and uses UV resistant pads – specifically engineered to absorb rifle recoil and reduce muzzle jump. The heavy duty torque knob is made from polymer and the P.I.G. features steel 1/4-20 mounting threads and 3/8-16 back up threads.

SPUHR AB Adaptable NVG Mount

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Spuhr AB’s NVG Mount was developed around the idea to give the operator full flexibility of mono, dual, and firearms mounted NVDs along with the ability to transition between those options in a few seconds. The mount can easily be adjusted for tilt, eye width, and/or eye-relief. For individuals who prefer to have their right-eye monocular mounted to their firearm, the monocular can be securely moved from the mount to the firearm and back again. The quick interface and adjustment memory allows the user to transfer the whole system, including goggles, from helmet to head and back if the situation warrants it. The entire system is also designed for quick and secure mounting, which is useful for those who like to parachute with clean helmets during descent. The NVG Mount is ideally used with the Insight MUM-14 or Vectronix TARSIUS16, although other NVDs can easily be mounted to the device as well.

Spuhr AB Mount 2

www.spuhr.com/nvg-mount.html

L3-Warrior Systems Insight – LWTS

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Soldier Systems article – The LWTS – Light Weapon Thermal Sight – is the latest thermal weapon sight from L-3 Insight Technology. It features a 640×480 17 micron uncooled micro bolometer with a 30 hertz refresh rate, compared to 340×240 found in older models. The LWTS is video capable with an output jack. It has an integrated shutter and non-uniformity calibration. Four integrated reticle patterns are boresightable to better than 1 MOA. It’s capable of 2x digital zoom, with adjustment for white or black hot thermal and contrast and saturation adjustment. The LWTS is powered by four AA batteries and is compatible with ACOG and Close Combat Optics.

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http://www.insighttechnology.com/l3-products/light-weapon-thermal-sight-lwts