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Future Force Warrior (FFW)

The major effort in the Future Warrior Technology Integration project (J50) was the Future Force Warrior (FFW) program that utilized technology integration and multi-functionality to provide combat overmatch capabilities for the individual Soldier and small combat unit while reducing Soldier load. Per FY05 congressional direction, the FFW program was consolidated with the Land Warrior (LW) program (managed by Program Executive Office (PEO) Soldier) to focus on Future Combat Systems (FCS) compatibility and realize benefits from the combined effort. Consolidation activities with PEO Soldier included migration of FFW technology development to the same contractor as LW and the establishment of a combined organizational structure. As part of the consolidated Soldier modernization strategy, the FFW program is providing technology with potential to result in the initial fielding of an integrated modular Ground Soldier System (GSS) that is fully compatible with FCS.

The FFW Science and Technology program would demonstrate technologies to provide a lightweight, full spectrum protective combat ensemble, modularly integrated with multi-functional sensors, weapons and medical monitoring capabilities. The program would also mature and integrate technologies for connectivity to other dismounted personnel, FCS, and robotic air/ground platforms for improved situational understanding and effects. Developed and managed by the US Army Natick Soldier Center with General Dynamics C4 Systems as the lead integrator, the FFW Advanced Technology Demonstration (FFW ATD) was the Army's Flagship Science and Technology Program to develop and demonstrate revolutionary warfighting capabilities for Soldiers and small teams while greatly reducing Soldier fighting load and, power requirements, and improving Soldier protection, lethality and situation awareness.

Future Force Warrior, intended as a follow-on to Land Warrior, was to be the Science and Technology phase of Ground Soldier System, the early design phase for LW III. FFW was being developed to fully integrate and align with FCS Spiral 2, which was planned to also be fielded in FY10. By 2005 LW and FFW were being integrated using the Spiral roadmap to Ground Soldier, with FCS and JTRS Cl5 insertions. This met the Congressional language for merging the programs.

To support its transformation to a Soldier-centric force, the Army was developing and demonstrating future transformational capabilities for the "Soldier as a system" using an incremental, system of systems (SoS) approach. The Future Force Warrior (FFW) Advanced Technology Demonstration (ATD) program was to demonstrate the feasibility of desired Soldier and small combat unit (SCU) capabilities. As an ATD program, FFW was focused on identifying value added technologies (specifically Land Warrior Advanced Capability) for the Soldier as a system and on refining the capabilities described in the Ground Combat Capabilities Development Document. As value added technologies were identified, individual technologies could be transitioned to the Land Warrior-Stryker Interoperability program (renamed the Mounted Warrior program, subsequently the Mounted Soldier System program) or the current force before the ATD was completed.

The FFW ATD sought to develop and demonstrate revolutionary capabilities for the individual Soldier and small team. An integrated system of systems approach was being employed to support the Army's transformation to a Soldier-centric force. The FFW ATD would create a lightweight, overwhelmingly lethal, fully integrated individual combat system, including weapon, head-to-toe individual protection, netted communications, soldier worn power sources, and enhanced human performance. Capabilities would be distributed across the team to optimize warfighting performance at the small combat unit level. The program was aimed at providing unsurpassed individual & small team lethality, survivability, communications, and responsiveness - a formidable warrior in an invincible team.

The FFW ATD had a number of broad requirements from the outset, touching on the most important factors both for future technology integration, but also important factors in the field such as lethality, mobility, and survivability. These goals were outlined as follows:

  • Lethality: Integrated, advanced, lightweight weapons and fire control software and hardware; optimized for urban combat, with synchronized direct and indirect fires from FBCB2/FCS and rotary winged platforms.
  • Survivability: Lightweight, low-bulk, multi-functional, full spectrum protective combat ensemble. Providing ballistic protection, novel signature management, electro-textile power/data body PAN. On-board physiological/medical sensor suite. Customized voice, visual and auditory human interface with integrated laser eye protection.
  • Sensors & Communications (C4ISR): Netted FFW small unit/teams with robust team communications using Soldier Radio Waveform/WIN-T/FCS Network, state-of-the-art distributed and fused sensors, organic tactical intelligence/collection assets, enhanced situational understanding, embedded training, on-the-move planning, and linkage to other Current Network and Future Force assets.
  • Power: 24-hour autonomous individual operation and 72-hour continuous autonomous team operations, high density, low weight/volume, reliable, safe power source/system tailored hardware/software package to optimize power availability.
  • Mobility, Sustainability and Human Performance: System/Ensemble designed for training and combat, allowing unconstrained movement at full up combat/assault capability during mission execution. "On the move hydration" and hydration status monitoring. Optimized cognitive and physical fightability, on-board physiological/medical sensor suite.

Initially there were a total of 6 subsystems as part of the FFW concept. These subsystems formed the core of the FFW ATD intended technology developments.

  • The Headgear Subsystem: Described as Information Central, was the situational awareness hub of the system. It would include Integrated tactical processing (e.g., maps, routes, SA data); 180 emissive visor display; High data rate (GB/sec) communications; Microelectronic/optics combat sensor suite that provides 360 situational awareness; Integrated small arms protection in selected locations.
  • The Combat Uniform Subsystem: Described as Survivability Central, contained three layers: the Protective Outer Layer, the Power Centric Layer, and the Life Critical Layer.
  • The Weapon Subsystem: Lethality Central, permited direct and indirect target engagements. The weapon weighed 5 pounds, and combined 5 tubes of soft-launched, 15mm intelligent seeker munitions and 1 tube of stacked 4.6mm kinetic energy projectiles for close quarter combat.
  • The Warfighter Physiological Status Monitor (WPSM) Subsystem: Collected information on the vital signs (core temperature, skin temperature, heart rate, blood pressure) hydration state, stress level (mouth sensors), thermal state, sleep status, and workload capacity of the warrior. The WPSM could also recommend remote triage care needed.
  • The Micro-climate Conditioning Subsystem: A network of narrow tubing built into the material of the Life Critical Layer that provides 100 watts of heating or cooling to the warrior.
  • The Power Subsystem: Duration Central, consists of a 2- to 20-watt Micro Turbine fueled by a liquid hydrocarbon. Ten ounces of fuel, contained in a lightweight plug-in cartridge, powers the soldier for up to 6 days. Polymeric nanofiber battery patches embedded in the headgear and weapon provide back-up power for three hours.

The FFW project was structured to mature and integrate high-payoff technologies and systems for the Future Force Soldier, and develop the basic Soldier System of Systems(SoS) architecture that directly supports the Army Training and Doctrine Command's Soldier as a System (SaaS) concept. Near term focus (through FY07) emphasized Ground Soldier and Small Combat Unit (SCU) variants, and developed and integrated high payoff technologies in Soldier system areas that would transition to Program Executive Office (PEO) Soldier for fielding to the Future Force. The longer-term goal (FY08 and beyond) was continued technology development and integration that would exploit the SaaS concept for the Mounted Soldier, Air Soldier, and improved Ground Soldier variants. Longer term technology maturation and integration would focus on Soldier borne computing, communications, and networking; Soldier protection and mobility, enhanced situational awareness, and Soldier power.




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