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Battlefields are confusing. Or so I’m told, at least. And Colt has a solution, called SWORD, that tries to integrate all of the parts of battle space management in one system. There are multiple components — rifle mounts, networked drones, and even iPads — that can tell soldiers which target to shoot, when to do it, give them a picture of the guy, and even tell them if they’re not aiming on target.


It’s pretty cool, but nowhere near ready for prime time. Nevertheless, this nerd is had a good time testing it out.

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  1. Well, that’s… something.

    Hope someone wouldn’t be trying to use it in the dark, covertly. Getting shot because the screen on your phone flashlighted your face while you were trying to find the bad guy would suck.

  2. That seems to be more confusing than the battlespace is. And what is a few more pounds on our soldiers, right?

  3. Yeah these things keep popping up in prototype phase long enough to get a bid and then everyone realizes that making the battlefield MORE complicated and prone to failures is only a good idea if it brings something really useful to the table… like a gunship. Not this.

    • Exactly.

      These are all just damp dreams of cynical defense industry execs who know that if they come up with something that looks really cool, they can bilk a few 10’s of millions out of the taxpayers, thanks to a gullible Congress that knows jack about what they’re buying.

  4. As a retired Army NCO, umm, no. Joe will beak this, lose his cable, and then use the phone to call his stripper girlfriend back home about why the Army is taking his (her) money away. Joe’s busted equipment and home life make the battlefield complicated enough.

    • Remember what ADA guys used to do with the IFF modules for Stingers? Same thing here – it looks heavy and expensive – I doubt it would ever leave the Conex.

      Officers aren’t going to want to sign for it, and Joe isn’t going to want to carry it.

  5. Reminds me of a documentary I saw once about a similar program they had in the 90s, The M16s weighed like an extra 30 pounds, and the forend had a little mouse nub like laptops used to have in the middle of the keyboard. I think the speed at which technology becomes obsolete sort of dooms these programs, I’d like to see a military version of google glass though.

    • Reports are giggle is already buying/controlling much of the US Military. Much better to drive a stake thru it’s server(s).

  6. I think the photo angle and the grenade launcher makes it look worse than it is. It looks like mostly it is a box that mounts on the side rail, hooks into the optic and hooks into a smartphone. I assume the box contains battlefield communication and computer, and the smartphone is mostly used for display. IFF is always useful, as long as it isn’t burdensome. This looks a little on the large side but I wonder how heavy it is. I’d like to see it on a rife with no tripod and no grenade launcher.

    Ah, Colt says it only adds 8 ounces:

  7. Give them a year and it will be down to one small box with a monocle display. Private industry works faster than gov’t programs.

  8. I love how the guys who keep designing stuff to add to a rifle keep thinking the rifle is the least important part. Lets add weight to our weapon system. Cause shooting is the least important part. And how are smart phones and tablets suppose to work without cell coverage. Are we going to have to have a portable router being carried in the field now? Or are we going to have Harris come up with a brand new LOS/Sat radio capable of running this. That will only take about a decade. What about running with a Thor, how is that going to work? Who cares, it looks cool . How about teaching people to use a GRG and a GPS? Na, ain’t got the time for that, the E1s and E2s are needed to police call the parking lot for cigarette butts.

    • They already have several LOS/SAT radios that will do this. There is also a portable cell system already being tested.
      Bad thing about anything based on a cell phone. They still transmit a GPS signal.

      • What radio can transmit data at the speed required to run this software. 117G? 148? 152? 150? The best I can transmit data off a Sat is 56k. And that is if I am lucky enough to get Wideband. God forbid you get a Narrowband channel. You ever try and transmit something as simple as imagery, takes 10 minutes on average to send a single photo. And that portable wireless being tested is designed to be ran at the minimum from a FOB or VSP, doesn’t do you much good if it is out of range. Not going to be doing that much good in the Stan? And you know how much juice is needed to constantly send a signal out to keep everybody updated of your GPS signal.. Going to be using a lot of 2590 or 5590s.

        • It will be vehicular mounted. As if there isnt already so much crap in the vehicles now you can’t get in it. As far as sending photos go you have to manage your expectations a little. Remember wide band when sending data isnt always better. Wider the bandwith the more errors. And with all of the requirements for data transmission for everything on the modern battlefield there isnt much left on the spectrum for soldiers to use actually killing bad guys.
          The military can’t keep up with the civilian world because of mission requirements and comsec. To expensive. Besides electronics fail and depending on them too much makes you lazy in doing your job.
          BTW When was the last time you took your coms to be checked out to see if its working optimally?

        • Before every op is when I check the functionality. Any problems I can’t troubleshoot, which there isn’t much, I hand off to my ITs or ETs. I don’t worry about 148s that is each operators responsibility. We always bring a dedicated non operator comms guy any site we set up at, so are radios are good to go. And I agree with most of what you said, but how are you going to be running this out of a vehicle while running your jammers. Or if you are a 8 klick foot patrol. And we already got FBCB2 if god forbid you got to work out of a M-ATV. And have you ever tried to transmit actual data on a narrowband channel, it is a nightmare.

          • – but how are you going to be running this out of a vehicle while running your jammers.

            OK so now your confusing the issue with facts. And I’m not joking. Someone will come up with a filter system.

            As far as maintenance goes, so what if you can talk to each other in the motor pool. You want to take it to your EMS shop and see if its actually performing to spec. Have a bad handset – cut the cable and toss it. Check out the antennas and bases. Lithium grease does not improve connectivity. Clean it off. Etc

            Take as good a care of your commo as you do your weapon and then make sure others do so. Had an old LTC once that was an Infantry PLT leader in Nam. Back then LRPs were usually 1 week out and 1 week in. The first two he went on his PRC-77 went out by the 3rd day. When he got back to base he told his RTO if it went out again he (the RTO) would have to walk point for the rest of the patrol. RTO’s were the first to die in an ambush or Sniper attack. It went out again on the second day and the RTO walked point with the RT on his back for the next 12 days. It never went down again. Failure to maintain equipment should always be rewarded appropriately:-)

    • Soldiers will be/are being issued hand held radios that use an android phone as an interface with an android phone so they know where everyone is and can send text messages in combat. Just one more system for them to abuse and break. Lets just jump straight to a Terminator.

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