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Spanish Army Tests Future Soldier Systems

Indra Future Soldier System [© Indra]

The Spanish Army tests Future Soldier Systems developed by Indra and GMV to enhance soldiers’ capabilities with cutting-edge technologies.

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Press Release, Madrid, 04 July 2024: Indra and GMV have taken a decisive step forward in the development of the Future Soldier System (SISCAP, in Spanish), after carrying out an operational demonstration at the Toledo Infantry Academy with this solution, which boosts the soldier’s communication, information, and fire efficiency capabilities.

As a result of an R&D programme funded by the [Spanish] Ministry of Defence through the Subdirectorate General for Planning, Technology and Innovation (SG PLATIN), the progress of this new development is being supervised by the Directorate General for Armaments and Material (DGAM). Indra and GMV’s aim is to equip combatants with advanced technologies for use in digitalised theatres of operations, where they will have to operate in a network with systems adapted to the new combat cloud concept.

Indra System SISCAP [© Indra]

Each of these soldiers will have a viewfinder attached to their helmet that, through the use of augmented reality, will allow them to visualise the route to follow and the position of their companions and to receive different tactical indications about threats and identified targets. They will also have both day and night viewfinders, personal cameras (visible and thermal) to gather images and an advanced radio that will position them by satellite and allow them to transmit voice and data, as well as setting up different groups for improved coordination. The regulation weapon will incorporate its own viewfinders and cameras that extend the range and accuracy of fire and allow the possibility of indirect fire, so that the image captured by the weapon’s viewfinder can also be seen in the helmet’s viewfinder, thus avoiding exposure when turning a corner or entering an enclosed area. It will also incorporate controls to manage communications without having to release the rifle and to prevent friendly fire. The platoon leader will have a tablet connected to the battlefield management system (BMS) used in the Army’s armoured vehicles, thus integrating the unit into the chain of command.

In exercises held last month at the Toledo Infantry Academy, a platoon of legionnaires evaluated the system by simulating a reconnaissance mission and other day and night surveillance missions. They also conducted various day and night shooting tests. The next and final test that SISCAP will undergo in the coming months will add to this equation the presence of the 8×8 Dragon armoured vehicle, which will act as a communications node between the unit and the tactical command and control centre.

The manager of the UTE at Indra, Gregorio González, explains that “the system will provide soldiers with the most advanced digital capabilities and will provide them with a situational awareness of the highest level, by giving them a vision capacity enriched with the information collected by all their colleagues and other deployed means” and adds that “one of the great advantages of the system is that it is modular and scalable, which allows it to be adapted to the mission being carried out, ensuring maximum ergonomics and minimum weight”.

This modularity allows, for example, the addition of electronic aids to distinguish between friendly and enemy forces, infrared cameras, image intensifiers, laser designators or image magnifiers, as appropriate, to the fire effectiveness system. In the case of more complex missions, soldiers can even be equipped with palm-sized micro-drones to reconnoitre the area and minimise risks. SISCAP’s open architecture will allow the incorporation of new functionalities in the future, such as the use of artificial intelligence for target discrimination, checking the status of combatants and facilitating system maintenance.

Indra and GMV’s goal is to close this first development phase this year, delivering the first seven functional prototypes in platoon-leader configuration. In subsequent phases, the possibility of manufacturing an initial pre-series of 40 or 50 systems will be studied for evaluation in real operations, and then, from 2030 onwards, for larger-scale production. The work of Indra and GMV in European projects such as ACHILE and GOSSRA, funded by the European Commission, has generated significant synergies and contributed to the development of this solution. At the same time, SISCAP is part of the Army’s Force 35 initiative, which places the soldier at the centre of its modernisation strategy.

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