Fort Belvoir, Va. (Army News Service, July 25, 2007) - Soldiers from Fort Lewis, Wash., who have been using the Land Warrior and Mounted Warrior systems in Iraq for the last two months, report that these "great tools" have surpassed their expectations.
Soldiers of the 2nd Infantry Division's 4th Battalion, 9th Infantry Regiment, are the first to take Land Warrior and Mounted Warrior into combat. Land Warrior is a state-of-the-art modular fighting system that combines computers, lasers, geolocation, and radios with Soldiers' mission equipment to substantially improve situational awareness, mobility, sustainability, survivability and lethality. It is designed to eliminate the fog of war.
In a user assessment at Fort Lewis, Land Warrior was proven to close 13 of 19 identified capability gaps, and Soldiers with the 4th Bn., 9th Inf. Regt., who were interviewed from Iraq recently said that Land Warrior is working even better in actual combat situations than it did in testing.
"It provides a sense of comfort in reducing the fratricide potential… Everyone knows where everyone else is on the battlefield and everyone knows where everyone else's direct fire is," said Capt. Mike Williams, Company A commander.
Sgt. Daniel Garza, RECON Platoon Squad Leader who was also interviewed from the field, was a skeptic when training with Land Warrior last summer. But after six weeks in combat with Land Warrior, he said, "If given the choice, I would not go outside the wire without it."
Land Warrior addresses issues of confusion in close combat situations and allows team leaders to see the locations of other dismounted Soldiers and leaders as well as the enemy. It improves combat effectiveness and lethality for dismounted and mounted Soldiers, and provides increased unit situational awareness through interoperability with the vehicle crewman's Mounted Warrior system.
The MW ensemble provides the crewman connectivity while on the platform with communications to dismounted Soldiers equipped with Land Warrior, the ability to see the FBCB2 Common Operational Picture and location of dismounted LW-equipped Soldiers on a helmet-mounted display. MW also increases the crewman's survivability with enhanced fire protection.
Sgt. Garza talked about using the Land Warrior system during a recent raid: "I was able to see where both my squads were, and we were able to see where the target vehicles were."
He said one of his complaints during initial testing was about the weight of the system, about 10 pounds in a typical configuration. He said that he has "done a 180 in terms of how I feel about the system." Enhanced situational awareness is a payoff that more than offsets the increased load. About the weight, he said, "After a while, you don't even notice it."
Capt. Williams said the system has proven "extremely reliable" in combat situations, adding that it has held up in Iraq's extreme heat and desert terrain.
For additional information on Land Warrior or on Program Executive Office Soldier, which oversees Land Warrior and almost all other individual Soldier equipment, visit www.peosoldier.army.mil.