WASHINGTON (Army News Service, Nov. 20, 2006) - Following successful field testing last summer, the Army is planning to deploy its new Land Warrior System within the year, bringing the Army a giant step closer to electronic networking of the battlefield.

The wearable, computerized system includes lasers, navigation modules, radios and other technologically advanced equipment to help Soldiers shoot, move and communicate more accurately on the battlefield. Ultimately, it will improve their ability to fight effectively and survive.

Testing of the Land Warrior package was conducted over a three-month period by the 4th Battalion, 9th Infantry Regiment, 4th Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division, at Fort Lewis, Wash. It culminated in an Army Evaluation Command Limited User Test in September and October.

"The '4-9' has been training for anticipated deployment next summer. Based on assessment results, it looks like we will deploy with the new Land Warrior and Mounted Warrior systems," said Lt. Col. Bill Prior, battalion commander.

For the first time, infantry troops will be carrying digital gear that will help address some of the chronic difficulties for Soldiers on the ground, such as locating other Soldiers, identifying the enemy and getting the latest orders.

"Thanks to the successful demonstration at Fort Lewis, we now have the first Army unit ready to go real-world operational with Land Warrior capabilities," said Brig. Gen. Mark Brown, Program Executive Office Soldier commander. "Land Warrior marks the path forward to a more capable, lighter-weight ground Soldier system. The leadership of the Army takes great pains and great care to ensure that our Soldiers are well equipped, well trained and well organized to accomplish the mission that the nation sends them on."

During the comprehensive Land Warrior assessment, Fort Lewis Soldiers were equipped with 440 Land Warrior Systems, as well as 147 Mounted Warrior Systems designed for combat vehicle crewmen. For the first time ever, large-scale map displays were used to show the Soldier his location, the location of his buddies, vehicle locations, known enemy positions, and up-to-the minute mission plans and orders.

Weapon systems equipped with multifunctional laser sights, day- and night-vision feeds, and direct connectivity to the Land Warrior and Mounted Warrior networks increase the Soldiers' combat effectiveness while minimizing exposure to the enemy. Precise navigation and real-time, common situational awareness were shown to substantially reduce the risk of fratricide or surprise enemy attacks.