Royal Marines test networked helmet-mounted video camera
Britain's Royal Marines will be testing a new helmet-mounted video camera designed to provide them with real-time data for informing tactical decisions. Part of the Future Commando Force concept, the bespoke camera is based on a general purpose camera design, but has been hardened and weatherproofed.
Military communications have come a long way in the past couple of centuries. Where soldiers once received orders by little more than shouting and bugle calls, the major military powers rely today on increasingly complex and intelligent two-way data networks that link everyone from the commander to the frontline troops.
These data networks do a lot to dispel the fog of war, but they also require a constant flow of new technology to support them. One particular problem this new technology must solve is that elite forces like the Royal Marines often operate in distant, harsh environments that are hard on equipment and communications technologies, such as Bluetooth and Wi-Fi, that wearable devices often rely on.
Adapted by the Royal Navy’s information warfare technology accelerator MarWorks and specialist design and manufacture facility Visual Engineering, the new video camera is designed to help the Marines return to commando tactics that will see them work in small, lethal teams once again.
This involves not only the new hardware, but also new software to handle real-time data streaming through new mobile network radios that are currently being tested by the Royal Marines' 40 Commando light infantry unit and Advanced Force Operations. According to the Royal Navy, these feeds can streamed to Marines on the ground, other team members using smart devices, or people offsite.
"This sort of challenge is exactly why technology accelerators such as MarWorks were established," says Dave McInerney, MarWorks program manager. "We take a problem from the user community, try and find an affordable technical solution, if it is off-the-shelf then great but when it’s not quite there we are able to work with industry, big and small, to develop a solution that meets the users’ need."
Source: Royal Navy