Infantry: May 27, 2001

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The latest version of the Land Warrior body-armor-with-a-computer-inside has been making the rounds at air shows and arms bazaars. The armor component, with its ceramic plates, is lighter than the current "ranger" armor and can sustain multiple 7.62mm hits. The computer, however, needs some more thinking. It is a Pentium 133Mhz, which requires six or seven minutes to boot up when cold. For a soldier getting ready for a patrol, this isn't bad, and all of the improved sensors (a TV camera in the rifle can project the sight picture in the soldier's eyepiece, allowing him to shoot around corners and look for the enemy without exposing himself) would be useful. But if the enemy launches a surprise attack, the action could be over before the system is ready to fight. The system includes two 12-hour batteries, the theory being that when one runs out it can be replaced while the second battery holds the system on line.--Stephen V Cole

 


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