Future Integrated Soldier Technology
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The Future Integrated Soldier Technology (or FIST) sometimes incorrectly referred to as the Future Infantry System Technology or Future Infantry Soldier Technology is a project by the British Army, which aims to enhance the infantry's combat effectiveness in the 21st century as part of the Future Soldier project. The contract was awarded to Thales in March 2003.
The goal is to integrate a modular system of all equipment, weapons and their sighting systems, radios that the individual soldier carries or uses, in order to increase his overall effectiveness on the battlefield.
A major complement of the FIST project is the Bowman communications system, which gives secure communications to the troops on the ground, allowing for simultaneous transmission of voice and data and having built-in GPS equipment, as well as sending visual information direct from personal cameras.
The kit is aimed to cover 5 main areas:
- Command and Control
Command and Control is aimed to improve fire team and local commanders' awareness of the situation. Lethality is as the name suggests and includes new weapon systems such as the new NLAW and Javelin anti tank weapons and the new sights for the SA80. Mobility includes areas such as route planning and GPS locations, survivability includes armour and stealth and sustainability includes areas such as power supplies with the system aiming to run off new next generation power cells.
The project aims to deploy a whole suite of digitized weapon platforms by 2008. First major trials of the FIST system were completed on Salisbury Plain in January, 2005. In these trials at the Salisbury Plain training area. 70 soldiers were equipped with the prototype FIST technology including GPS, communications and weapon sights and compared to the effectiveness of 70 conventionally equipped soldiers. A further FIST V2 trial was scheduled for 2006.
35,000 sets of kit are expected to be bought and issued between 2015 and 2020. This equipment is designed to bring the British infantryman up to standards and link with new technology currently employed, including the new underslung grenade launcher for the SA80 and the deployed Bowman communications network. It is not intended that every soldier be equipped with FIST: instead unit commanders will request FIST kits as necessary and so they can be tailored to the situation and mission aims.
As well as linking into the new technology for the soldier it is designed to link in with other new communications including Cormorant and Talon as well as the UK UAV project called Watchkeeper.