February 26, 2015

BEL’s ‘future’ soldier is wired and smart

A gun-toting soldier, “fully loaded” and wearing an ultra-thick vest, an “electronic” backpack and an unusual wrist band and helmet, stood prominently during the recent Aero India exposition here.
The life-size early model of the “intelligent soldier” is kitted out with a dozen communication and intelligence devices. Put in a war zone, he can connect with commanders in real time and is fully aware of his own moves and those of his team and enemy.
e-enabled, intelligent
Such an e-enabled intelligent soldier has no market on its own, but can eventually be part of a complete system for battle or security forces, said S.K. Sharma, Chairman and Managing Director of Bharat Electronics Ltd, which is its developer.
Future battlefield programmes, Mr. Sharma said, will need the smart soldier as a crucial entity.
BEL started developing the soldier elements two years ago and has demonstrated the prototype to potential users.
Battlefield management
The defence electronics company has also bid for a comprehensive, networked Battlefield Management System (BMS) for the Army, along with software company Rolta India, Bengaluru. Evaluation is on for the project, which is worth several thousand crores of rupees, and which involves half a dozen contenders.
The BMS is a ‘Make’ project funded up to 80 per cent by the government. It may be a couple of years before we know who will get to do it.

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