Electronic Weapons: July 3, 2002


Units on peacekeeping duty in Bosnia have gotten ahead of the Army's plan for ultra modern soldiers of the future. They have purchased civilian FRS radios at the new PX and have issued them to every member of the squad. Army units have had two or three radios in each ten-man squad since Vietnam, but plans for the "future force" include a radio for every individual. In tests, units with a radio for each man have been much more effective than those that rely on hand signals and shouting to pass the word from those with radios to those without. The soldiers say that the FRS radios are smaller, lighter, more powerful, and more reliable than the radios issued by the military. While their range is limited, they can be easily overheard by the enemy, and they eat batteries by the truckload, the troops have found the radios of tactical value and refuse to do without them.--Stephen V Cole


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