With the rapid development of science and technology, military operations have changed dramatically in the past several years. Now, as a part of the Future Commando Force concept, which will see Royal Marines go back to their commando roots, the Royal Navy is testing a new helmet equipped with a built-in camera as its feature.
It is based on a general-purpose camera solution but has been toughened, and weatherproofed to keep up with the extreme conditions commandos operate in. It is also connected to a new network system that ensures live data can be analyzed and exploited quickly.
The helmet and the cameras tested by the Royal navy have been procured by MarWorks – the Royal Navy’s information warfare technology specialists. In this combat helmet project, MarWorks partnered with Visual Engineering, a company engaged in the field of cameras. The helmet helps military commanders receive first-hand military information from the battlefield, provide greater situational awareness, and help in making tactical decisions.
Data networks have played a large role in eliminating the fog of war, but they also need the support of evolving new technologies. Taking the Royal Marine Corp. as an example, these elite troops usually need to operate in remote and harsh environments, making it difficult for wearable devices to rely on communication technologies such as Bluetooth and Wi-Fi.
However, the new helmet camera not only helps the troops to resume the sault tactics but also allows them to gain greater survival advantages in small team collaboration. The camera system on this helmet is equipped with open software and the ability to stream data. The new solution also involves processing real-time data streams through a new mobile radio network.
The Royal Navy is currently testing the new equipment with 40 Commando and Advanced Force Operations. It is able to communicate with other team members or remote observers using smart devices.
MarWorks seems to be well aware that creating electronic devices for Marine needs is not easy. “This sort of challenge is exactly why technology accelerators such as MarWorks were established,” said 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.”