Print Friendly, PDF & Email

For a long time, it was "own the night". Thanks to night vision technology, technologically better equipped armed forces had an advantage on the battlefield. Operations were and are preferably conducted at night. This is especially true for special forces. Today, other military and paramilitary forces also have access to night vision technology. Electro-optical systems and modern communication technology are indispensable for establishing information superiority. This is about relevant and readily available information that needs to be provided to the right user.

Real-time situation assessment and presentation

Today, military operations take place in complex operational spectrums and in the most diverse operational areas - at any time of day or night. The use of augmented reality (AR) technologies supports infantry forces in acquiring and processing information more quickly.

A typical scenario: A paratrooper platoon is on patrol in the area of operations. Orders come in to search two houses in the nearby village. Workshops for IEDs are suspected there. Another infantry platoon is to join them for support.

But where exactly are the objects, what line of movement will the other platoon take? The leader first orders an orientation stop, takes a look at the map and assures himself by radio that the right objects have been identified. Then the platoon moves into the village, securing itself from house to house - the line of sight and thus direct communication is almost constantly interrupted by obstacles. But it is precisely at this point that communication and direct agreements and the passing on of information are important: Who is where? Don't mistake a comrade for an enemy. Where exactly is the reconnaissance or attack target? Even the squad leader no longer has all his soldiers in sight. Because of the noise discipline, radio is often dispensed with, especially in the last few metres.

Modern armed forces expand the operational possibilities of the infantry through the use of so-called soldier systems, in Germany this is the "Infantryman of the Future" (IdZ) or in the Netherlands the soldier system "Verbeterd Operationeel Soldaat Systeem" (VOSS). They enable additional capabilities in the areas of reconnaissance, command and control and impact. With the IdZ, the systems and information are controlled via the operating and display unit (BAG). The soldier looks into an eyepiece to pick up information and thus averts his gaze from the action in front of him.

Back to the paratroopers: It is not possible to look into the BAG; for seconds he would not be able to ensure the safety of his comrades. In this situation, the XACTse data display provides support and demonstrates its advantages.

Of central importance here is "augmented reality". This is the interaction of digital and analogue data. The user sees reality as if through glasses or the camera of his smartphone. Additional information is superimposed on this image, which then supplements the real image. In this way, the user receives additional, mission-relevant information when looking into the terrain.

The solutions from Elbit Systems Germany cover precisely this need, from the networked, cross-unit system network to the individual soldier. They convince through their interoperability and ensure superior situation assessment and presentation. We draw on our many years of experience and our products in the fields of night vision, communication and sensors for dismounted forces. They can all be fully integrated into C4I systems. The systems also function independently of an existing infrastructure on the battlefield.

Mini HUD for the infantry

Our XACTse HUD enables tactical information to be displayed directly in the soldier's field of vision. This means he never has to take his eyes off a target or the battlefield when taking in information. Navigation and orientation data, including own position, north, bearing and line of sight, can be displayed in the XACTse HUD, for example. In this way, the paratroopers receive information about their own position as well as the distance and location to the target as they approach. Disorientation during movement is thus avoided. Own forces are displayed with distance information through tactical symbols in the field of view, including Blue Force Tracking (friend-or-foe detection).

Mission information or changes can be reflected directly in the field of view, resulting in a decisive increase in combat value without overwhelming the soldier with information overload.

Informationsüberlegenheit und Kampfwertsteigerung dank Augmented Reality
The XACTse HUD enables tactical information to be displayed directly in the soldier's field of vision. (Photo: Elbit Systems)

The superimposition of tactical AR symbols on the HD colour display of the XACTse helps the soldier to convey the relevant information in a personalised manner in real time. In this way, the information selection can be individually tailored to the soldier's needs.

The lone gunner receives a different display than the squad, group or platoon leader. The XACTse HUD can be used as a stand-alone device during the day or in combination with night vision goggles for night operations. The system is extremely compact and lightweight, allowing it to be worn for long periods without discomfort.

Paratroopers on foot are grateful for every gram that can be saved. After all, in addition to the equipment, consumables such as water and ammunition have to be carried. Therefore, they especially appreciate small and light equipment that nevertheless supports their full performance.

Informationsüberlegenheit und Kampfwertsteigerung dank Augmented Reality
The XACTse HUD consists of an electronic unit and an additional tactical optical unit that is worn in front of the eye. (Photo: Elbit Systems)

The XACTse HUD consists of an electronic unit and an additional tactical optical unit that is worn in front of the eye. Power is supplied externally via a 9-16 volt connection, a 5-volt USB connection or a 3.6V lithium-ion battery. Storage of data such as pictures or videos is possible up to 64 GB. Wireless data transmission is via WiFi and Bluetooth. Integral sensors include a GPS transmitter, a digital compass and a light sensor. The latter automatically adjusts the display to the ambient brightness. Thanks to GPS and compass, the infantryman knows where he is at all times. Even when buildings or difficult surface terrain obstruct his view.

XACTse is interoperable with night vision optics using a 16 mm or 18 mm tube. No tools are required for mounting on the Bundeswehr's current image intensifier goggles, the XACT nv33. The XACTse HUD can be easily attached to the helmet or headgear.

XACTse with its AR functions offers a simple and intuitive method of providing the necessary information to the soldier at the right time. Its compactness and light weight quickly lightens legacy systems by several kilograms. And units that were not previously equipped with a soldier system thus receive a simple and uncomplicated but significant combat capability enhancement.

Back to the operational scenario: thanks to the XACTse and the AR technology it uses, the operations centre in the area of operations quickly transmitted the most important information on the new situation to the paratroopers. The infantry forces were able to react immediately with the help of the updated situation picture.

This led to the capture of suspects in the two workshops before they could evade.

The XACTse with its AR technology gives the soldiers a tool that provides them with a more accurate situation picture and transmits information without overburdening the soldiers with it. In addition to the speed of information transmission, the fact that the infantrymen never have to take their eyes off the battlefield is crucial.


Informationsüberlegenheit und Kampfwertsteigerung dank Augmented RealityElbit Systems Deutschland GmbH & Co. KG
Eberhard-Finckh-Strasse 55,
89075 Ulm, Germany
Phone +49 731 15 53-0
Fax +49 731 15 53-112