Israel earlier this week unveiled an innovative program, called “Edge of Tomorrow,” which is set to revolutionize the concept of combat soldiers.
Defense Ministry's Directorate of Defense Research and Development (DDR&D) developed the program along with Elbit Systems, one of the main companies producing defense electronic devices in Israel.
The program incorporates networked warfare technologies for each and every soldier on an infantry team, and aims to improve the combat team’s modern urban warfare, according to the Defense Ministry.
“‘Edge of Tomorrow’ is an innovative program that is extremely unique thanks to our change in perspective," Lt. Col. Shlomi Buskila, head of the LWSOF Branch in the DDR&D, said in a statement.
"The program aims to enable optimal operational value for the ground forces combat soldiers by strengthening the synergy between them and their team. The program incorporates a wide array of advanced technologies used by the soldiers and their teams, leading to a whole much greater than the sum of its parts.”
Mayan Lazarovich, spokesperson for the Defense Ministry, said the program has been “a multiple-year effort that has continually improved the infantry soldiers’ lethality, survivability, situational awareness, stamina and more”.
An industry source, who provided an in-depth explanation of the plan, described it as a suit which consists of a set of wearable technologies that include many connected subsystems.
He said that there will be specialized suits for every kind of soldier on a team. “There are different roles within a team, so everyone gets his specific suit and it’s all connected. There is going to be a soldier suit, a commander suit, a sharpshooter suit, etc.,” he said.
The source added that this set of technologies includes many different devices such as display googles, a sleeve that helps with transmitting information within the group, computerized rifles, night vision systems, a component that can help with carrying weight, and fire detection capability. “The soldier can carry a very small device that can detect the direction of hostile fire so it can be spawned very quickly and very effectively,” he said.
He added that looking back between 50 years and 100 years ago, there was only incremental change in the technological capabilities that were provided to an infantry soldier.
Now, he said, “what we are talking about is actually a step change trying to bring about, you know, real transformation technologically speaking. We’re looking at the infantry soldier and at the team level.”
He said that the plan will improve the individual infantry soldier and the team as a whole: “Not just a better rifle, a better weapon, better night-vision goggles, but we look at it as a comprehensive capability.”
Lazarovich said that the plan is still in development, and the timing of the launch of the program is still uncertain.
“The Edge of Tomorrow is a program focused on development. Decisions regarding the program’s launch will be made in the future,” she said.
The story is written by Debbie Mohnblatt and reprinted with permission from the Media Line