The 4th Battalion, 9th Infantry, US Army is planning to take a version of the “Land Warrior” suite of wearable electronics with them when they deploy to Iraq some time next year. Land Warrior is an initiative intended equip individual infantry men with a suite of wearable electronic sensors, sights, and data systems connected wirelessly a sophisticated communications, command, and control network. Overall it is a good idea and worthy of development and funding. Our officers and troops should have every advantage or tool we can put at their disposal.
But have a look at this bit from a recent post on the system over at Defense Tech:
Radios and GPS locators come standard. A helmet-mounted monocle lets the soldier know he and his buddies are on a satellite-powered map. That same monocle is connected to the weapon sight, so the infantryman can, in effect, shoot around corners. The sight also serves as a long-range zoom, with twelve times amplification. “It makes every rifleman a marksman,” Colonel Richard Hansen, Land Warrior’s project manager, crows.
Clearly Colonel Hansen is a bit overzealous in his praise for his pet project. No sighting system can “make every rifleman a marksman.” Technology can automate the gun, as it has in the case of the M1A2 Abrams Tank, but that does not make the gunner a marksman.
When the batteries run out, if you can’t shoot there is always a chance that Energizer Bunny will be in the area, but I wouldn’t bet my life on it.