Raytheon subsidiary, BBN Technologies, has been awarded a contract for the manufacture and supply of force protection kits to the US Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL), as part of its force protection (FP) programme.

Under the $1.9m contract, the company will develop portable, improved force protection sensor kits for use by mobile dismounted troops, who are increasingly vulnerable to enemy attacks in dangerous non-combat environments.

Joe Loyall, Raytheon BBN Technologies Force Protection programme manager, said: "Extending the reach of force protection kits will improve troops’ access to information and their reach-back to command and control centers, helping them to make more informed decisions and enabling better mission planning and threat responses."

The new sensor systems for force protection will provide the soldiers with beyond-line-of-sight sensor access.

The sensor systems will enable the use of handheld platforms for dismounted operations while outside bases, and allow automatic archiving and retrieval of the collected data.

The kits will also be designed to allow information to be transmitted by unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) to troops in remote locations rather than by satellite, which can be a slower process.

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Beyond line-of-sight sensor access will enhance situational awareness of the troops on patrol and commanders outside the immediate reach of the FP kits.

Automatic archiving will help troops to review and analyse events that may have been missed and send information on events of interest to the analysts.

The soldiers will apply automatic archiving, tagging, retrieval and search to video and traditional text and image data to receive full access to critical information, in all formats.