The industry workshop on Standard Architecture for Soldier Systems focusing on data management and infrastructure (STASS II) was successfully completed on 6 September 2017. Twenty participants from seven countries and 14 organisations (industry and research) attended the workshop and discussed a suitable approach towards the realisation of an open architecture for soldier systems.
Industry and research representatives acknowledged and welcomed the progress made in the development of standard architecture to date. Some of the most relevant topics discussed were:
- The lack of standard connectors suitable for dismounted soldier systems (DSS) impedes the standardisation process as standardisation is only possible in cases where at least two sources are available.
- Lack of data interfaces between weapon devices and soldier systems in the “NATO Powered Accessory Rail” document. Instead it focuses only on the mechanical and electrical interfaces. It was stressed that recommendations be included for such data interfaces in the STASS II architecture. The lack of data interface standardisation means that each manufacturer has to define a data interface which significantly reduces the opportunities for future interoperability.
- Cognitive burden to soldiers imposed by large amounts of available information. The participants recommended the study team to focus not only on technical aspects of soldier systems architecture but also the possible effects on soldiers of such large amounts of data. This aspect is critical of the way tactical information is presented. If a soldier is overwhelmed with information his/her attention can be easily diverted from the battlefield situation and as a result put him/her in danger.
- The storage of collected information. Nowadays, the sensors that provide Intelligence, Surveillance, Target Acquisition and Reconnaissance (ISTAR) capabilities generate large volumes of data. A soldier is considered an important asset to collect and thus to support ISTAR capabilities. However this creates the need for equipping him/her with additional equipment. Taking into account the current trend to reduce the cognitive, thermal or weight burden for soldier systems this aspect requires further assessment.
- As stressed during the workshop, a business model and cost-benefit assessment are important prerequisites prior to investments in soldier systems. While the majority of benefits are for the user, a STASS II compliant system facilitates a flexible and powerful arrangement that otherwise would be extremely costly.
The STASS II study will be completed by the end of 2017 and together with the STASS I results will propose a comprehensive open reference architecture for soldier systems. The approach initiated under the STASS studies will be further developed under the EU Preparatory Action for Defence Research 2017 (PADR 2017) call for Force Protection and Soldier Systems by defining and technically validating a generic open soldier systems architecture which should be ready for standardisation.
All presentations given during the workshop are available here: 2017-09-06 - STASS II Industrial Workshop - Presentations