By Paolo Valpolini
In the early years 2000 the Spanish Army launched the COMFUT (COMbatiente FUTuro) programme. As many such programmes launched in the early years of the XXI century, also the COMFUT never saw the light. In 2017 the Spanish Ministry of Defence launched a new programme aimed at improving the capabilities of the soldier on foot.
“For the provision of infantry, cavalry and combat engineer units. The need arises to provide the combatant at squad level with equipment that allows him or her to increase combat capabilities, improve the integration within the unit, and to operate in joint and combined structures, in an increasingly high-tech environment The system will allow improving firepower, situational awareness, command and control, survivability and mobility,” says the Fuerza 35 document that depicts the development of the Ejercito de Tierra in the coming 15 years.
Known as SISCAP (Sistema de Combatiente a pie, System for the soldier on foot, it is a phased programme, Phase 1, Research & Development, has been financed and lasted from late 2017 to December 2020, SISCAP prototypes having been evaluation in fall 2020. Financing for Phase 1B due to last from December 2021 to September 2023 being expected soon.
Phase 1A was carried out with a very pragmatic approach by the two companies involved, GMV Aerospace & Defence and Indra, the prototype being based on COTS/MOTS equipment. The SISCAP prototype was exhibited in the GMV booth at FEINDEF, the core being the company LGB11. A recent development, the latter has been fitted with a last generation Intel Atom x6212RE processor with a 4 GB RAM, it hosts the command and control software jointly developed by GMV and Indra, a soldier version of that developed for the new 8×8 Dragón AIFV. The computer supports audio, graphics and video, and is protected by an aluminium case fitted with military connectors allowing to link it to peripherals and batteries. Compact and lightweight, the LGB11 dimensions are 140x90x35 mm with a weight of 450 grams, the portable computer is hosted in a pocket on the back of the soldier together with the Harris radio, batteries being provided by BrenTronics. Indra is responsible for the keypad and the weapon optronics module, night vision goggles being Thales Minie while the head mounted display is provided by Liteye. The system includes also a graphic terminal, a micro-UAS and a thermal binocular with laser rangefinder.
Beside its engagement in the SISCAP programme, GMV participates in infantry programmes at European level, and is fully involved in EDA’s STASS (Standard Architecture for Soldier Systems) initiative as well as in GOSSRA (Generic Open Soldier Systems Reference Architecture), a EU-led programme.
Photos by P. Valpolini