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Innovations in human-machine teaming improve crew readiness before and during battle

The history of warfare has brought together humans and tools in the constant search for tactical advantages and overmatch capabilities. From the most elementary weapons to the most advanced modern vehicles, military units have long recognized the role that technology plays in determining battlefield outcomes. 

In recent years, the increased use of computing, sensors and artificial intelligence in military operations has shifted the relationship between human and machine. For centuries, the equipment, weapons and vehicles used by military forces were viewed as tools, put to service by human strategy and intellect. Today, technological advancements have made many of these machines capable of performing battlefield tasks for human forces: the resulting concept is human-machine teaming.

A modern battlefield deployment could consist of multiple heavy and light motor vehicles, unmanned aerial vehicles, in-vehicle crews, and off-site support. A complex web of sensor, communications and connectivity solutions helps to unite military forces with their machine counterparts, delivering relevant information in real-time and prioritizing the most essential data for human decision-making. Realistic training supports land forces in being effective at operating with their machine counterparts in scenarios that replicate the dynamic nature of the modern battlefield.

Thales technology facilitates human-machine teaming

Advanced sensor networks are essential for land units to maintain local situational awareness. Thales’ portfolio of state-of-the-art radar networks delivers detection, identification, tracking and targeting capabilities against demanding target sets in all weather conditions. Beyond offering tangible benefits to situational awareness, these systems increase lethality for military forces by enhancing targeting of both stationary and mobile adversary units from longer distances greatly reducing the kill-chain. Thales’ advanced geo-location capabilities enable crews to quickly and precisely identify targets of interest, while multi-role surveillance radar makes it possible to track moving vehicles or fixed objects along extensive borders.

Modern land forces are expected to collect, process and communicate more information than ever before. Advanced communications systems must perform reliably with high data rate capabilities to allow disparate forces and vehicles to communicate in real time. Vehicle Communication Nodes from Thales offer secure, dependable performance across a fully scalable architecture. The communication nodes can integrate a broad range of radio types, with an open architecture facilitating interoperability between different radio networks. This emphasis on open design ensures an easy transition and offers a future-proof solution for military units that may upgrade their radio technologies. Thales’ communication nodes support software-defined networking radios, handheld soldier radios, VoIP and other essential communications devices. 

Human crews will always be at the center of human-machine teaming, and an effective battlefield system is designed to enhance the decision-making abilities and lethality of the human end user. Thales’ helmet-mounted displays (HMD) deliver the most relevant information to in-vehicle crews, synthesizing and prioritizing the aggregated data without overwhelming the human user. These HMDs dramatically improve decision-making in both nighttime and daytime missions, supporting target designation and allocation of points of interest, even in potentially degraded visual environments. 

Realistic training for battlefield environments

The goals of human-machine teaming are to improve crew readiness and to enhance battlefield effectiveness. In order to achieve these goals, land forces must understand how to work effectively with their machine counterparts in challenging situations. Effective training scenarios must be able to replicate the many dynamic elements of modern warfare, including the behavior and movement of foreign forces, the capabilities and trajectories of weapons, and the ways in which human forces communicate and interface with unmanned vehicles and other machines. Today’s warfighter must have sufficient experience in combat simulation in order to maintain readiness and effectiveness during an operational deployment.

Thales’ live combat training solutions allow military units to work directly with the same technologies they use on the battlefield. Computer-generated files, developed with artificial intelligence, simulate the behavior of foreign forces, with the capability of integrating specific doctrines or weapons effects to mimic a chosen combat environment. These AI-backed scenarios allow soldiers to train in a completely immersive environment, while the option of using real red forces makes it possible to simulate a complete tactical maneuver in a live combat training center.

Any disruptive technology carries a learning curve before the end user can integrate it seamlessly into their operations. Efficient human-machine teaming is only achievable if the human forces are provided with the time and resources necessary to understand their role in the ecosystem. Thales’ desktop trainers and combat simulation training make it possible for warfighters to dramatically reduce their learning curve and deploy seamlessly into new and complex battlefield environments.

To achieve victory on the future battlefield, military personnel must embrace the concept of human-machine teaming. Leaders inside command centers as well as infantry units advancing on the enemy will need advanced technology that allows them to analyze and process information faster than their foe. Thales solutions for sophisticated sensor networks, communications nodes, data prioritization and AI-enhanced training will help humans and machines form cohesive teams that will be critical in future fights.