Spanish Army's soldier modernisation efforts advance
The Spanish Foot-Soldier System (SISCAP) soldier modernisation effort will shortly enter its test readiness review (TRR) phase, Shephard has learned.
It passed its critical design review (CDR) at the end of 2018 and the TRR is necessary to begin factory tests. The programme is the latest effort to improve soldier equipment following the collapse of the earlier COMFUT (Combatiente Futuro) soldier modernisation programme. SISCAP is focused on developing fire control and targeting systems and communications systems for dismounted troops within the Spanish Army.
The first prototypes of SISCAP equipment including a soldier computer, handheld control unit and a weapon control unit will be delivered by the end of 2019, systems provider GMV told Shephard.
GMV has produced a new soldier computer called LGB-11 that the company said is a smart device that integrates a soldier C2 computer, power distribution, power management and hardware acceleration for ‘integration of optronics, cameras and helmet displays’ in a low SWaP configuration.
Launched at the FEINDEF exhibition in Madrid on 29 May 2019, the LGB-11 was developed using GMV’s experience as the C2 lead on the COMFUT programme and its own internal R&D effort. Other selected equipment under SISCAP includes Ben-Tronics SMP batteries and Harris radios.
In 2017 GMV and Indra set up a JV to undertake the SISCAP programme and in November 2017 the JV was awarded a €1 million ($1.12 million) contract for the first phase of R&D.
GMV is developing the soldier computer and electrical power system including batteries and power management, whilst Indra is responsible for providing the weapon sensors and weapon electronic and keypad unit.
This R&D phase is not addressing the procurement of the whole soldier system but is focused on developing soldier devices where a COTS solution is not available.
Software for SISCAP is being developed jointly by the companies under the Spanish Army’s new Dragon 8x8 Wheeled Combat Vehicle programme, based on the Piranha V.
SISCAP and Dragon are being developed under the Spanish Army’s Fuerza 2035 initiative and GMV said that these will constitute the backbone of the Brigade 2035, although the number of systems is ‘still under discussion’.
COMFUT provided some ‘lessons learnt’ for both GMV and Indra, which although did not field any equipment, enabled the companies to do extensive testing with different units in several environments including desert areas in the south of Spain and high-altitude cold environments in the Sierra Nevada.
‘Without the experience gained in COMFUT, neither the Spanish MoD, nor industry GMV and Indra could have faced SISCAP challenges with guarantees,’ GMV said.
COMFUT was an ambitious early soldier modernisation programme that developed technology from 2006-2010 but nothing was able to reach maturity before the project was cancelled due to the economic crisis of 2008.
‘The additional R&D activities that would have driven to an operational system were not launched,’ GMV said. None of the components developed under COMFUT are being re-used for SISCAP as they have become obsolete in the intervening period.
GMV said that SISCAP will provide ‘secure and high bandwidth digital communications, enhanced situational awareness or integration with ISR assets’ and is interoperable with NATO and EU standards ensuring interoperability with allies in multinational operations.
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