The European Commission has awarded a €40 million grant to the ACHILE (Augmented Capability for HIgh end soLdiErs) consortium to develop innovative solutions for next-generation dismounted soldier systems in Europe.
One of the main projects of the European Defense Fund 2021, ACHILE is aimed at bringing a breakthrough transformation for soldier systems, through an open architecture developed for the Preparatory Action Plan on Defense Research (PADR).
It will seek to demonstrate enhanced interchangeable capabilities improving all areas of dismounted combat, such as:
- Localization and navigation
- Perception and situational awareness
- Lethality/smart engagement
ACHILE will develop specific capabilities in four main areas: Soldier Core and Soldier Extension to address capabilities at soldier level, and Team Core and Team Extension to address squad and networking capabilities, as well as robotics and weapon interaction at team level.
According to the consortium, ACHILE will result in:
- Better protection for soldiers, with lighter equipment and improved ergonomics, a modular approach and optimized Size, Weight and Power (SWaP) capability up to the system level.
- Enhanced soldier performance, in particular for visual and sound perception, and individual situational awareness.
- Augmented team capabilities through network connectivity, shared situational awareness, and coordination with all other units on the battlefield.
ACHILE encompasses entities from nine EU countries and one associated country (Norway). This consortium covers the full soldier system value chain with a wide range of small and medium-size enterprises, mid-caps, research institutes, universities, and large groups.
Safran Electronics & Defense will coordinate the ACHILE project, supported by the core team, to meet the technical and contractual commitments signed between the European Commission and all involved entities.
Safran Electronics & Defense (France) is leading the consortium of 30 partners – with close support from Rheinmetall Electronics GmbH (Germany), for technical coordination, Indra Sistemas SA (Spain), and Leonardo S.p.A. (Italy).
Through the ACHILE project, the consortium will improve harmonization of standards proposed to member states and thus contribute significantly to European cooperation.
Over the next four years, the consortium is expecting to:
- Study and deliver harmonized concepts of operations, and harmonized user and system requirements at European level.
- Develop the standardized open soldier system architecture prefigured with Generic Open Soldier System Reference Architecture (GOSSRA).
- Design advanced soldier system and enhanced capability suites, and evaluate them through technological demonstrators and proofs of concept, including innovative navigation units, head-up displays for augmented reality, weapon sights, and exoskeletons.
- Design networking capabilities and evaluate them through large-scale demonstrations with Battlefield Management Systems (BMS) and communication systems.
- Evaluate full-size demonstrators and prototypes in representative conditions and large-scale demonstrations.