The Army has abandoned its decades-long effort to pack nearly 20 pounds of batteries, computer processors and displays on future Soldiers in favor of a simpler solution that uses technology already in many Joes' pockets.
Officials with Fort Belvoir, Va.-based PEO Soldier told reporters Oct. 6 that they had decided to configure the so-called "Nett Warrior" system to use a commercially available smart phone plugged into a secure tactical radio.
"There's significant cost and weight savings in this approach," said Nett Warrior deputy program manager Bill Brower. "We took out about 70 percent of the weight" from the original system.
In August, the Army said it was evaluating the future of Nett Warrior — which included a wearable computer, GPS tracking unit, power supply and helmet-mounted head's up display — to see if engineers could "infuse commercial devices and existing government devices into the program."
That effort coincided with the service's push to digitize its training and doctrine manuals and hand every new recruit a smart phone, such as an iPhone, to use for everything from navigation to professional education.