Inventing the 21st-Century Soldier - Battle Suit 2010
Stouder, Richard L., The World and I
The following fictional letter, written in 2010 from the soldier Bob to his parents, presents one vision of what tomorrow's technology-enhanced Army may look like.
October 30, 2010
Dear Mom and Dad,
Yesterday I finished my last technical school and was fitted for my new uniform. It's an OFW Mark 3; that's Army lingo for an Objective Force Warrior Battle Dress, third version. They won't let me send you a picture of it for security reasons, but I can tell you that it is a full-enclosure suit providing amazing capabilities both offensive and protective.
I know you were hurt when I joined the Army, especially after you told me about Great-Uncle Jack dying on the beach at Normandy and Uncle Fred dying in a Vietnamese rice paddy. But they didn't have technology working for them like I do. I understand the risks I'm taking. A soldier is supposed to get in harm's way, and many soldiers will still be injured and killed protecting our freedoms. But with the OFW Mark 3, I will have lots of advantages that Jack and Fred didn't have.
My suit can stop a rifle bullet. The material it's made of is as flexible as my football jersey, but it gets hard as steel when a bullet or knife is pushed into it. The material has some kind of chemical in it that lets fresh air pass through, but it stops and destroys chemical warfare agents. The material is also filled with foam that cools me on hot days and warms me on cold nights. If I do get injured the suit automatically inflates over the wound, stopping the bleeding and applying medicine to the injury until our medic can help me.
My helmet is like an IMAX movie right before my eyes. All I have to do is whisper "show me my battery reserves" and a little gas gauge is projected in front of me, showing me that my power pack has two more days of energy in it. When I ask how much ammo I have, the number of rounds is projected on my visor. If I see the enemy, my visor tells me how far away the target is and the probability that my first shot will kill him.
My OFW Mark 3 rifle has steerable bullets, which means any target I look at I hit the first time, even if it's moving. …