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Thales UK develops dismounted soldier Smartwatch

Thales UK has developed a Smartwatch for use in dismounted soldier systems as a concept demonstrator, and revealed it at the SMi Future Soldier technology conference held in London from 10-11 March 2020.

Ciaran McCloskey, product line manager for tactical products at Thales, explained that the Smartwatch had been developed as a Thales private venture, although its genesis had its roots in the wrist-mounted display of the cancelled Norwegian NORMANS soldier system that was produced by Thales. McCloskey said the intention was to offer capabilities that could be incorporated into the device but it was up to users and potential customers to define which of these were required.

The Smartwatch is a commercial-off-the-shelf device linked to a personal radio via Bluetooth. This connectivity solution has disadvantages relating to security and to its vulnerability to being triggered by improvised explosive devices, but McCloskey said an applique unit could be developed to provide different, less vulnerable wireless connectivity. Thales has looked at this, he said, but has not yet developed a form factor to go with the watch. Wired connectivity has been dismissed as a practical solution.

The Smartwatch offers access to several functions at different levels, which he said are known as “complications”. At the highest level it shows the battery life of the device and radio, GPS connectivity, and local network status.

The Thales Smartwatch concept demonstrator revealed at the SMi Future Soldier Technology conference in March 2020, showing the initial screen with battery level and connectivity indicators.

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