Soldier Systems are designed to provide added security to personnel while performing military operations. Growth in technology integration facilitates enhanced command and control as well as situational awareness which is poised to boost the tactical ability of soldier systems. The incorporation of technologies like AI, Big Data, IoT, and Machine Learning within the soldier systems industry is poised to improve the present technological stance of the same.
The soldier systems market is highly competitive, owing to which various contractors are developing innovative solutions to increase the operational capability of their products. For instance, Future Soldier Systems market trends are focused on providing the military troops with man-portable technologies which can be deployed and used with utmost ease. The size and weight of these technical components are also to be optimized to aid ease of mobility. The use of this technology is poised to improve the efficiency of soldiers across dismounted missions conducted in the near future.
Russia’s Ratnik Soldier System is a versatile product that enables dismounted operations. The Ratnik provides Class 6 protection and weights roughly 10 Kgs. On including the shoulder and groin protective plates, the total weight of the Russian Ratnik Soldier system is estimated to be roughly 20 Kgs. This configuration is reserved for machine-gun posts, heavy armor troops that are tasked to break through fortifications, as well as assault engineers. Ratnik’s futuristic element is provided by Strelets control systems. The overall control system includes the R-168 digital radios in addition to a targeting indicator and a tactical personal assistant (PDA). Two variants of the PDA were discussed in the year 2015, i.e. the TT-E for commanders and weapons specialists, as well as the K-E for infantries. The TT-E provided a digital map that provided the location of friendly units. The inclusion of this technology was poised to reduce the likelihood of friendly fire thus aiding safety. The Strelets was poised to reduce the chances of human error owing to its automated information gathering and targeting cycle feature.
On studying the regional competitive landscape of this market, it is to be noted that Australia is presently being identified globally for its efforts in soldier modernization. The country’s Land 125 Phase 4 program is expected to deliver an integrated soldier system to the Australian Defense forces. The technology to be integrated is to be sourced from local suppliers thus promoting the growth of indigenous programs within Australia. A rise in domestic/ local manufacturing of products would translate to a direct increase in employment opportunities as well as skilled labor. This in turn would improve the population’s spending capacity, hence the GDP contribution for the defense segment would consecutively increase. A rise in GDP contribution is directly proportional to the defense budget and hence the procurement of the said country’s forces.
Canada’s Integrated Soldier System project is also noted amongst prominent soldier system modernization programs. The country plans on acquiring roughly 40,000 wearable communications suites along with other support accessories. The introduction of this technology is poised to improve connectivity amongst the Canadian forces during combat operations. The use of this enhanced soldier systems market size is also expected to increase situational awareness, generate precise navigation information as well as provide better command and control units. This contract was undertaken in the year 2015, while the first delivery took place in the year 2018. The program is to reach its complete range of operational capability by the year 2023. On studying the recent program developments, it is noticed that the Canadian government awarded a contract to Twenty20 Insight Inc. for the delivery of 255 Laser Range Finders in March 2021. A contract was also awarded to Glenair Inc for the delivery of 450 Assaulter Hubs (Star Pan II) and 150 Commander Hubs (Star Pan IV). The delivery of associated cables is a part of the contractual agreement. Optional purchase of added support, additional equipment as well as cables is also a part of the said agreement. The Commander variant is poised to have a larger hub as compared to the Assaulter variant. The radios used across the Assaulter variant are expected to be lighter and smaller owing to their limited functionality.
The Canadian government has provided the acquisition contract to the defense contractor Rheinmetall for the procurement of the integrated soldier systems market growth. The acquisition contract entails the procurement of roughly 4144 integrated soldier systems suites for a value of USD 93.5 Million. The support contract awarded to Rheinmetall Canada under the Integrated Soldier Systems Program expires in the year 2022. The support contract is valued at USD 91 Million. The purchase of new radios has been contracted to L3 Harris by the Canadian forces. Roughly 1250 radio units are to be provided under this agreement in addition to accessories that are poised to further enhance the capabilities and provide an extended range of communication of the ISSP.