New Zealand’s future high-tech soldiers will be satellite-tracked and wear linked-up helmet-cams on the battlefield, according to a new $100 million project.
It comes as the New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) moves to digitise its Army and special forces for 21st Century warfare.
Drones, artificial intelligence (AI), and big data are being considered for its arsenal while new gear for frontline soldiers will see them communicate directly with comrades and take orders from officers.
The electronic evolutions will also help commanders digest crucial information about potential enemies, civilians, possible threats and terrain features faster than ever before and relay it directly to their troops.
Communication is often the first casualty during the chaos of war and Defence Minister Ron Mark says the cash-boost gives “our men and women in uniform the tools they need to function in today’s dynamic and fast moving environment”.
“We no longer will have an analogue Army operating in a digital world,” said Mark.
The Defence Force wants a nimble, highly-trained and tough light fighting force with multi-skilled Kiwi soldiers to operate in modern conflicts.
The NZ Army’s 94-page Future Land Operating Concept 2035: Integrated Land Missions (FLOC 35) released two years ago predicted that over the next two decades drones will be “as ubiquitous as section machine guns”.
Future adversaries will use “hybrid warfare” and blend conventional and irregular methods with information and cyber tactics, it says.
Now, Army bosses want cutting-edge tools that enable Kiwi troops to “sense, act and react faster and with better precision than likely adversaries” and autonomous systems and robotics on the battlefield.
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