by Paolo Valpolini
The Cairo-based Arab International Optronics company (AIO), founded in 1984 and belonging to the Egypt Ministry of Defence, is currently providing the Egyptian military with the Zero Lot of its EISS (Egyptian Integrated Soldier System), which will be used for trials by the Ministry of Defence before deciding how to proceed.
The EISS aims mostly at increasing vision and aiming capabilities of soldiers and commanders, thus their lethality. Two versions of the system are available, the Commander one and the Soldier one, many elements being the same.
The Commander version is made of five elements, helmet system, weapon system, control and power, cables, and clothing kit. The helmet system sees an uncooled thermal camera fitted on the right of the helmet, the soldier seeing the generated image in its helmet mounted display.
A thermal aiming sight is fitted to the assault rifle, which is linked to the control and power box, carried at the belt. Currently the control and power system is contained into a metal parallelepiped box, which is not a very ergonomic solution, but a more conformal system might be developed following trials. Rechargeable batteries are located in the box, which can be easily reloaded using a battery charger; batteries ensure up to 10 hours of power to the system. All EISS subsystems are connected via cable. The clothing is quite standard and includes the composite helmet as well as the combat suit and protections, a 2.3 litres hydration system being also part of the package. Overall the Commander EISS has a weight of 1.5 kg.
The Soldier EISS is slightly heavier, around 2 kg, as the sensors on the helmet become two, one TV-based day optical system, with a x2 magnification, and a 3rd Generation image intensification device with x1 magnification. Images are once again shown onto the HMD in front of the soldier’s eye. In daytime aiming is done using a visible red dot pointer, while at night this will be IR. As for weapons sights, II sights are being installed, a x3 on the RPG, a x4 o the AKM and a x6 for the general purpose machine gun.
Besides the national market, the Arab International Optronics company is also looking at export, although first the system should be adopted by the Egyptian Army. According to AIO some lessons learned are already flowing, that might lead to a revised version, especially in terms of ergonomy.