Wednesday, 13 November 2013

FELIN Future Soldier System - Setting the Benchmark

By Yusni Yussof

( All images are from the French Ministry of Defence)


The French is currently the leading country in the global race towards deploying  future soldier system in the battlefield and setting  the  benchmark for others. The French future soldier system, FELIN (Fantassin à Équipements et Liaisons Intégrés) which officially entered service in 2011,  marks a new phase in modern combat technology. The battlefield is now fully digitized and soldiers will be able to utilize every aspect of their surroundings to enhance their lethality and combat effectiveness.


The system is made of a  “tactical vest” that includes individual radio with integrated GPS , its processing unit, batteries and man-machine interface, namely a miniature terminal that displays data, including orders, positions of fellow troops, and images from gun sights for round-the-corner firing.

Every FELIN soldier will be wearing a  new lightweight helmet  that provides ballistic protection and is fitted with Sagem’s monocular oculaire de vision déportée (OVD) optronic system with light intensifying camera. The headband of the helmet is fitted with a OH-295 osteo-microphone which picks up speech by sensing the vibration in the wearer’s skull. The osteo-microphone and a vibrating speaker provide good voice communications even in a noisy battlefield environment.


To increase the systems' overall  effectiveness on the battlefield, squad and section leaders have larger terminals with a mapping function, dubbed SITComDE (dismounted warfighter information system terminal), that allows exchanging information with their troops and sending orders. In particular, this terminal tracks the positions of friendly forces in real time, for very effective control of operations. It also enhances intelligence, since it can transmit images from cameras integrated on sights deployed by FELIN-equipped soldiers.


The weapons that have been selected to work with the system  include the Giat FAMAS F1 5.56mm assault rifle, the Giat FR-F2 7.62mm sniper rifle and the FN Herstal Minimi 5.56mm light machine gun. The weapons are to be fitted with new sights for day and night operation and improved target acquisition.

With increased situational awareness for every soldier on the battlefield, the FELIN system enables soldiers to effectively perform in every operational scenarios, including direct assault, urban combat, stealthy advance in a dark building, offensive reconnaissance, neutralization of hidden enemies and  site protection from an observation post.

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