Many countries, including the United States, have their own programs for developing soldier devices. But they can take two or three years to come to fruition, and the cost goes up the longer it takes.
By the time a system is ready to roll out, some of it may have been rendered obsolete by new technology.
Engineers at Harris Corp. in Melbourne, Fla., believe the solution is to design systems whose parts can be updated as technology advances.
"You don't have to go through a three-year development to have all of the components," said Paul Zweers, director of international product line management for Harris RF Communications in Rochester, NY.
The system combines several devices into one.
Harris RF's 7800s Leader Radio incorporates both a computer and a GPS system. Instead of carrying three devices, cables and wires, a soldier wearing Falcon Fighter carries just one. It takes three to four pounds off the weight of the system.
"I think the common soldier sometimes has up to 130 pounds of gear, which is unbelievable when you...