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High-Tech Warfare Makes Its Way To The Battlefield

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FORT BRAGG — Computer chips are being used to revamp military machinery and the men and women in uniform. The latest in high-tech equipment for soldiers is headed to the battlefield.

Soldiers on a Fort Bragg training field are equipped with a gun camera, computer mouse, battery packs and antennae. It is not a sci-fi movie -- soldiers are experimenting with a new system calledLand Warrior.

"It's a combat multiplier. It increases infantry soldiers' lethality on the battlefield with situation awareness," says LTC Scott Crizer of the Land Warrior Team. "I'll know where he is, his buddies are and enemies are."

The soldiers are equipped with Global Positioning Systems. The location of the soldiers can be seen on a miniature eyepiece computer monitor.

"As a former squad leader, you have a difficult time in thick vegetation, keeping track of troops. You're on the move, trying to locate them," says Fort Benning soldier Sgt. Ryan Recktenwald. "With this, I already know where they are."

Using Windows 2000, soldiers can also e-mail each other in the field, receive operation orders and call for medical help.

"Anything that will give me the edge over my enemy, I'll take," Recktenwald says.

The gun camera allows soldiers to expose their weapon and shoot without exposing themselves. About 40 Fort Bragg soldiers are working with prototypes, and will offer feedback on ways to improve Land Warrior.

"Every once in a while, I'll have the GPS up and it will be tracking where I am, and it will shut off," says PFC Brian Ross.

The system could be extremely dangerous if it falls in the hands of the enemy. However, soldiers who are taken prisoner can erase its memory in a matter of seconds.

Soldiers will test the equipment again during an advanced warfighting exercise at Fort Polk in September.

The Army hopes to start producing Land Warrior equipment for all infantry soldiers by 2004. The price could range from $10,000 to $20,000 for each system.