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DSEI 2019: Thales unveils new soldier architecture

10th September 2019 - 16:30 GMT | by Andrew White in London

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As part of its wider effort to support the ‘collaborative combat’ environment, Thales has unveiled the Soldier Harness Architecture (SHArc) to support the networking, power and data requirements of dismounted troops.

Unveiled at DSEi on 10 September, the SHArc comprises a central processing unit- called the Flexible Soldier Hub or FiSH- which is capable of integrating up to nine sub-systems and batteries through a series of nine connector ports. The FiSH, which is battery-agnostic, also features USB connectivity which can support a wireless dock to reduce cabling should such a requirement be requested by customers.

According to a company spokesperson, SHArc has been designed to support ‘more readily available data’ being passed around the battlefield, in addition to shortening sensor-to-shooter targeting cycles. 

The technology demonstrator presented at DSEI saw the FiSH integrated into the combat belt of a load carriage solution, with Thales officials describing how a unit was already in evaluation with the UK Ministry of Defence’s Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (DSTL). 

The 400g SHArc is being offered up to support phase three of the British Army’s Virtus programme which aims to provide dismounted close combat personnel with power and data capabilities.

SHArc has also undergone testing with the British Army over the course of two Army Warfighting Experiments.

Sources also confirmed to Shephard how Thales was considering the development of a smaller form factor to be worn by infantry personnel on the battlefield. Such a solution would weigh just 200g, providing a ‘lean, light and unobtrusive’ solution to the armed forces.

SHArc comprises part of Thales’ Collaborative Combat concept, which aims to successfully apply next-next-generation technology in land warfare.

Addressing delegates at the Land Capability conference on the first day of DSEi, Lt Gen (Retd) Alain Bouquin, Defence Advisor for Land at Thales, described how armies must increase the speed of innovation with ‘prototype warfare’ putting greater capability into the hands of the warfighter.

Such a concept, he explained, could be initiated through the introduction of technology enabling the automation and cueing of decision making processes. As a result, Thales continue to explore a series of next-generation technologies and capabilities to optimise connectivity; big data analytics; artificial intelligence; and cyber warfare through an ‘open system of systems’, Bouquin concluded.

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