Army Smartphones on Way to Afghanistan

So, the Army’s 75th Ranger Regiment is bringing what was supposed to be  the military’s version of a smartphone to Afghanistan. Yup, the software-based JTRS AN/PRC-154 Rifleman Radio and the Android-based GD300 smartphone-style device are about to make their combat debut, according to our own Matt Cox.

Here’s a teaser from his story that we’ll running soon over at

The concept of teaming a smartphone with JTRS radio came out of the Army’s long-gestating Land Warrior and Nett Warrior programs. Stryker units have deployed to both Iraq and Afghanistan with Land Warrior’s computerized command and control ensemble.

Land Warrior’s components gave soldiers the ability to communicate by text and voice and track the positions of other Land-Warrior equipped soldiers as icons on a digital map. But the gear weighed more than 10 pounds and required constant maintenance to keep the complex system running.

Click here for more on the Army’s recent choice to adopt an actual smartphone-like device to do what it been trying to get nearly 20 pounds worth of gear to do.


21 Comments on "Army Smartphones on Way to Afghanistan"

  1. I wonder if the through-put of the JTRS system is adequate to support the Android platform well enough to work properly.

  2. Off the shelf catches up with daydream capability of the '90s.

    This is what you get when you daydream way too far ahead and burn money on capability you can't deliver in a feasible amount of time. If you want to play with basic research, you fund basic research directly, not wait for it to be funded by aiming two decades into the future and having to fund foundation research which leads to ballooning R&D over-runs. That said, not sure if the final system is close to the Dream Land Warrior either…

  3. "We have three hostile units and two bogeys incoming….oh look angry birds"

  4. that's neat in terms of deployment efficiency, however, it does not retain all the capabilities of Land Worrier, such helmet mounted display..and the processors is smaller and less power-hungry because it is an ARM core, so that means x86 programs written for LandWarrier can not be just run on it, so it is less a wearable computer (as landwarrior was intended) and more a smartphone with a cool app.

    (btw. there is cool new rugged tablet product from Panasonic, that also used ARM , runs Android, but is mil-spec. only $1200 bucks. .

  5. Even smartphone needs antenna. Unless it has a long range frequency capacity.

  6. Let's hope they can secure it correctly.

  7. ” OMG!!! :-o AQ wankstas vexng my crew @:-v hevE incomng. fkn hardcore innit. fkn amped :-E puttin it down A&B d C of D. nEd sum gud fires 2 pwn dEz h8ers whIl we bounce @= U git me brv? Laters |B-) “

  8. Pip-Boy 3000

  9. Smartphones these days are really, REALLY powerful devices. About five or six iPhones equal the benchmark performance of one of those Cray-1 supercomputers from back in the day. The ones with the bench seating. A bit of an oversimplification, as a Cray-1 can move sheer, raw amounts of data much faster than a smartphone can, thanks to its architecture.

    Sometimes, I find it mind-boggling just how much grunt these little ARM chips have in them. Just hook a pair of display glasses to one, and you could basically pull off augmented reality.

  10. Wolfsgentlepaws | December 18, 2011 at 9:38 am | Reply

    If it transmits signals, then it can be tracked by enemies with certain equipment.
    Also, if texting while driving is considered distracting, how distracted will operators of this equipment become?
    Lastly, are the signals vulnerable to being jammed?

  11. voodooeconomics | December 18, 2011 at 8:55 pm | Reply

    Could a Taliban wearing a 25AD model year sandals and eating a piece of goat meat be able to hack this thing. Yes he can….

  12. Awesome news. Now hurry up and start issuing these things on a widespread scale. This wearable computer technology for soldiers is looong overdue. I'm glad the Army is finally using smartphones due to their advantages in cost and weight, but I have to say that I'm disappointed that they didn't keep the helmet mounted display.
    I would have thought that flipping down a little screen would be easier to use to view data while on the move rather than taking both eyes off what you are doing. That and the cool factor, the HMD was always the most visible aspect of future soldier systems.
    Couldn't they theoretically plug in an HMD to this new smartphone-like device?

    Anyways, it's all good news. Does anyone know if this deployment is part of the revised Nett Warrior program or if it's a separate smartphone program?

  13. The military needs to switch how it invests in technology. Support basic technologies that enable the commercial sector to do great things, then buy off-the-shelf. Building something like LW in the '90s was an intimidating task, as was FCS. Both involved a lot of groundwork to build, and that was a lot of money for zero product.

  14. Someone tell me what we needed Land Warrior to do again? Shoot around corners? Camera with output to wrist screen is clunky (though I guess you could use two wrist computers and have output based on if you're shooting around corners to the left or to the right.

    A GPS with a Blue Force Tracker. Always necessary to prevent fratricide, though dangerous if these units are picked off of dead Americans by the enemy.

    The usual important two-way communications system on military-standard systems to avoid another costly compatibility hack or hardware replacement. The ability to remotely transmit camera telemetry from operators.

    That pretty much covers the basics?

  15. But is the smartphone EMP hardened? That's always been the reason that military computing hardware has lagged so far behind commercially available hardware; it takes several years to design a hardened version of a chip, and then you have to manufacture it as well.

  16. I would like to use the image in this article. Do you know who I should contact to ask permission?

  17. but still they are those remote areas where there is no phone signals ,no net work connections am missing my fiance but no connections

  18. I read about androis and OS in security operations and government , the article says that this OS are not secure , this gadgets could by hacked ? in the middle of some important operation? Do you think that you coul be use other OS different , more strong, secure like Linux ?
    In the other way smatphones have a lot of problems for security in goverment and other
    works . Android and Iphone are bad for this . I can see this opinion in internet I’m not specialist , but it’s logic when you heard about pictures stealed from celebrities and things like that . Furthermore , do you remember a nokia phone that have linux , the revisions said that this phone coul open 8 or 10 windows at the same time , itś fast and I hope more secure. Android is bassed in linux but is not linux.

  19. too many electronic toys on the battlefield all ready. one emp blast and all that crap is done for.

  20. That is kinda cool but I want to know if I can take alot of punishment but I am sure it can

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