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01:10 PM, June 28, 2017
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Future Soldier – Expanded System (Image: Rheinmetall)

Rheinmetall has won a contract with a gross value of €370 million (net value: €310 million) to supply enough “Future Soldier – Expanded System” (IdZ-ES) soldier systems to equip German Bundeswehr's 68 infantry platoons.

The new systems will be delivered between 2018 and late 2020, the company said in a statement Wednesday.

The modular IdZ-ES, brings dismounted infantry men into the network-enabled warfare loop. Troops on the ground detect, recognize and identify targets, which they either engage themselves or by calling in additional fire support. The IdZ-ES has been in service with German troops in Afghanistan since summer 2013.

Based on total infantry system concept, the IdZ-ES integrates infantry and mechanized infantry platoons and their vehicles – specially equipped to serve as base stations – into the network-enabled warfare loop.

The battery-powered core computer – worn on the soldier’s back controls all the devices and sensors carried by the soldier via various interfaces. Its principal functions include power supply management, access control and monitoring, the soldier information system for map and situation display, navigation, reporting, exchange of reconnaissance and target data, processing sensor data (e.g. own position, line of sight), operator interfaces and visualization as well as system configuration.

The soldier can control the Soldier Command System and communication via a manually operated control and display unit known by its German initials as the BAG. All relevant data concerning the current situation, the position of friendly forces (blue force tracking), the mission and system status are displayed either on the BAG or, alternatively, on the OLED helmet display.

The modular battle dress uniform can be readily adapted to meet the current environmental and temperature conditions. Other important features include the ballistic body armour (Protection Class 1) with integrated ventilation shirt as well as a modular harness for carrying ammunition, ordnance, the electronic backbone and additional equipment.

The IdZ-ES protective vest comes complete with chest rig and hip belt; with added ballistic inserts, it offers protection up to German Level 4. The section or squad leader and his assistant are both issued with an additional leader module consisting of a portable command computer operated via touchscreen. A rifle-mounted push-to-talk button enables wireless communication even when the operator leader has raised his weapon. Furthermore, small arms can also be fitted with optical and optronic devices of the latest generation.

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