WASHINGTON (Army News Service, April 11, 2008) - The future of Army combat technology was demonstrated on Capitol Hill Thursday, exhibiting several systems that enable Soldiers to fight better, faster and most importantly, safer.

The Future Combat Systems Brigade Combat Team presented several static displays of future Army technology and provided a live demonstration of the Land Warrior system and key corresponding equipment: Urban Unattended Ground Sensors, Small Unmanned Ground Vehicles and Class I Unmanned Aerial Vehicles.

The demonstration highlighted the ability of LW to provide more survivability to the Soldier and its capability to be rapidly deployed, Col. Patrick L. Fetterman explained. As part of FCS overall, the demonstration explained how new systems would diminish the gaps in current combat technology through providing situational awareness previously unachieved.

Land Warrior is a modular fighting system using a state-of-the-art computer, communications and global positioning technologies to digitally link Soldiers on the battlefield. The system is carried like a backpack and has a helmet mounted display used to see and send text messages, maps, and imagery.

Command Sgt. Maj. Phil Pich, the primary presenter for the LW demonstration, said the four distinct advantages of LW were situational awareness, voice and text messaging capability, maps and imagery, and the ability to change graphics on the move.

Pich indicated colored map icons on a television screen representing a Soldier's helmet mounted display. These icons are used to pinpoint enemy location or indicate where friendly Soldiers and equipment are positioned in real time. Information on the positions of friend and enemy alike help the Soldier to perform the mission better, faster and with minimal risk to the individual.

"(LW) gives us situational awareness that the enemy does not have, so we can be much faster than the enemy and capture or kill him," Pich said.

"This system has made us so fast on the battlefield that my units -- attached to other organizations that are out there -- they have to tell us to stop and slow down."

The use of a Class I UAV enables the Soldier to scout areas such as rooftops or to see inside windows of suspicious cars without putting individuals in danger. U-UGS are used for situational awareness like UAVs, as well as perimeter defense, surveillance and target acquisition. SUGVs, or iRobots, are capable of military operations in urban terrain, sewers, tunnels and caves.

All of these mechanical devices are linked with LW, providing the Soldier a live feed of combat information.

"We always know where we're at, we always know where we are going," Sgt. Curtis Pitman said. Pitman is a combat veteran who used LW on the battlefield and praises the system as a high-value asset.

"As far as the fog of war goes, this is the most important tool we have," said Staff Sgt. James Young, also a combat veteran experienced with the LW system.

LW is durable, extremely easy to use and can be learned in less than 24 hours.

"These guys over here, talking about Land Warrior, are guys who have worn it for 14 months in combat. They are saying, repetitively, this is a huge value added to us. We want it, we use it, we save lives with it," Fetterman said.

Other major technologies and equipment with displays were the Non-Line-of-Sight Launch System, Manned Ground Vehicles, Non-Line-of-Sight Cannon and the Multifunctional Utility/Logistics and Equipment, or MULE vehicles.

For more information, see www.fcs.army.mil.