The US Army has announced the successful preliminary test of a new electronic warfare (EW) system that soldiers can carry on their backs during missions.
Called the Terrestrial Layer System-Brigade Combat Team (TLS-BCT) Manpack, the portable system can manipulate enemy electronic signals, giving friendly forces a tactical advantage on the battlefield.
A prototype of the state-of-the-art equipment was demonstrated at Fort Huachuca in Arizona late last month to assess its ability to perform jamming while also maintaining soldier mobility.
Todd Probert, president of TLS-BCT Manpack developer CACI, hinted that the trial yielded positive results and that he was generally “happy” with where the program is going.
“We’re not sleeping on the last test. We’re continuing to look to new modes of capability,” he said, as quoted by Defense News.
A smaller version of the Stryker-mounted TLS-BCT, the TLS-BCT Manpack can provide troops with signals intelligence, jamming, and other electronic attack capabilities.
Its size, weight, and power were optimized to give key consideration to soldiers’ physical load during missions.
CACI strategic adviser Michael Nagata explained that troops often carry dozens of pounds of gear, and adding other heavy equipment could only reduce their mobility and survivability.
“We’re already asking people to carry too much stuff,” he stated. “I mean, my average combat load when I was in service was well over 60 pounds (27 kilograms).”
The TLS-BCT Manpack is expected to undertake a series of trials and demonstrations in the coming months before receiving its initial operational capability certification.
Increased EW Investments
The extensive use of combat drones in the Russia-Ukraine war has spurred many militaries to increase their investments in sophisticated EW suites.
In the US alone, the army has ramped up EW-related procurements and activities, including in September when it tested a drone-borne EW system called the Multi-Function Electronic Warfare – Air Large.
The service also recently deployed a new artificial intelligence-enabled tool that allows its wireless communications networks to sense and dodge enemy jamming.