NEW MEXICO - The ability to obtain up to the minute information is indispensable to soldiers on the ground during combat operations. The Nett Warrior system, part of the emerging Capability Set 13, is aimed at providing the individual ground soldier with as much information as possible about the battlefield.
NW is one of the systems currently being evaluated by soldiers in the field as part of the latest iteration of the Network Integration Evaluations at Dona Aña Range Complex, New Mexico. NIE 13.1 is the fourth of a series of evaluations focused on solidifying the network baseline and finalizing CS13 components and mission command for Soldier connectivity at the ground level.
Nett Warrior provides situational awareness and connects ground troops to the information network during combat operations down to the squad level. Using a handheld device that has begun to resemble most civilian smartphones, the system facilitates more accurate decisions during a tactical fight by connecting the dismounted soldier to a wide network. NW provides the dismounted soldier with valuable information such as maps, troop positions, and operational updates that were previously restricted to vehicles or hard wired command posts. This translates into soldiers being more informed, at the right place, at the right time, with the right equipment making them more effective, and lethal in the execution of their combat missions.
As part of the Capability Set 13 evaluation, Nett Warrior is fielded to discover if the integration of these systems and their capabilities have an impact on operating principles, tactics, and procedures. The NW system is designed so soldiers can quickly reference the displayed information, interpret it and continue their mission. The feedback from the soldiers evaluating the equipment on its functionality and suggested improvements is invaluable. If successful, NW will provide efficiency and effectiveness by providing soldiers on a tactical mission constantly updated information, thus reducing the amount of time, radio traffic and resources necessary to respond to requests and evolving requirements on an ever changing battlefield.
The Nett Warrior system has gone through many developmental stages during the time that it has been evaluated. Since its inception, it has seen a steady reduction in the size and weight of its components. “[It’s now] more like a smartphone,” said CPL William Crichton, 1st Battalion, 35th Infantry Regiment, 1st Armored Division, “from how much it weighed back in the day, now it’s a big difference”
”It gives us more of a situational awareness,” said Crichton, “I just plotted our points for us, I didn’t even have to pull out a map, just typed it in.”
Crichton, having participated in several of the previous evaluations, described the importance of taking these systems out into a field environment to be evaluated. Crichton also commented on how he has seen suggestions from soldiers on system improvements have been integrated over time.
”A lot of the older systems that we tested were too complicated,” Crichton explained that some of the previous systems’ buttons and functionality were complex and took too much time to navigate. “Now everything is really easy to use,” said Crichton.
CS13 is an entire package of network components and software that provides network capability across a Brigade Combat Team from a static TOC down to the dismounted soldier. While it has a lot of potential, as with any emerging technology, issues with development do occur. Some of the things that the soldier evaluators look for in these types of systems are reliability and ease of use.
While the system continues to be evaluated and improved throughout future planned events, the Nett Warrior integration is one of the many systems and ideas in development that can push our Armed Forces and our allies through to the next century of modern warfare.