BAE Systems has begun field testing what it says is the first head-up display (HUD) for soldiers, the company announced on Feb. 19, possibly giving future soldiers the ability to mark targets and set waypoints.
The tests feature BAE Systems’ Q-Warrior helmet-mounted display, which is designed to increase the situational awareness capabilities for foot soldiers. The system utilizes a high-transmission and high-luminance see-through display that uses a high-resolution color, collimated display.
The Q-Warrior will feature a large eye-motion box, allowing soldiers to make relatively large movements of their helmets while maintaining the view of the display.
Some of the expected capabilities of the system include the ability to track personnel and assets, display waypoints and routing information, and provide enhanced night vision. The display will also be able to display textual information such as warnings or threats. Users will be able to identify hostile and friendly forces and coordinate small unit actions, reports Military Aerospace.
HUDs have traditionally been used for military fighter aircraft, displaying important information such as a horizon line or a gun sight. The name “head up” comes from the display freeing users from having to look down at instruments – keeping their heads up and forward while data is being presented.
The idea has been popular in first-person shooter video games, where in-game HUDs are commonly used to provide information about health and ammunition. HUDs have also been developed in commercial markets for use in automobiles and motorcycles.
Meanwhile, BAE sees a demand for the technology from Special Forces units and specialized military job fields.
“The biggest demand, in the short term at least, will be in roles where the early adoption of situational awareness technology offers a defined advantage,” said Paul Wright, Soldier Systems' Business Development Lead at BAE Systems' Electronic Systems. “This is likely to be within non-traditional military units with reconnaissance roles, such as Forward Air Controllers/Joint Tactical Aircraft Controllers (JTACS) or with Special Forces during counter terrorist tasks. The next level of adoption could be light role troops such as airborne forces or marines, where technical systems and aggression help to overcome their lighter equipment.”
BAE expects that the Q-Warrior will be employed at the section commander level at first, but has left open the possibility that the HUD will become a standard issue piece of equipment for all soldiers.