Know you have what it takes
The military landscape is constantly changing, and forces are under immense pressure to arm and train their soldiers with the most advanced weaponry. Undoubtedly, it would be wrong to send troops to war without first providing them with the best technology and ensuring they have complete confidence in their ability to use it effectively.
Stefan Slycke, Head of Technical Sales Support at Saab’s Ground Combat Business Unit, argues that confidence is about the belief that you as a soldier can act decisively in any situation.
Even if you are lacking information, are under stress or have had no sleep, you need to have the confidence that you can handle the situation.
“Even if you are lacking information, are under stress or have had no sleep, you need to have the confidence that you can handle the situation,” he said. “And having weapon systems you can rely on gives the soldier the confidence needed on the battlefield.”
Armies can be split into two closely related categories: the individual soldier and the force as a whole. While these groups share many of the same needs and objectives, there are subtle differences to consider.
How can you cater for the needs of both?
Supporting every soldier
Soldiers are human beings under immense pressure to perform in the most extreme circumstances.
Imagine you are on the frontline. The enemy is bearing down. Explosions are ringing out all around. You pick up your weapon to strike, but it is heavy, and the loading mechanism is clumsy, causing you to lose valuable seconds and give your opponent the upper hand. Such a scenario cannot be tolerated.
Troops already have a lot to carry, so they want systems that are flexible, lightweight and easy to handle. Of course, on the battlefield, they also need weaponry that packs a punch.
Slycke believes that, after more than 70 years of development, the Carl-Gustaf® has earned its place as a favourite among infantry troops.
“It’s totally manoeuvrable and combat proven,” he said. “It gives soldiers the peace of mind that they are protected, allowing them to focus on the mission rather than worry about whether their weapon will perform.”
Dismounted troops are uniquely exposed and, bar retreat, they have previously lacked any sort of viable tactic when up against tanks and other armoured vehicles. Happily, solutions like the Next Generation Light Anti-Tank Weapon (NLAW) give soldiers a means of turning defence into attack.
Using predicted line of sight guidance, the NLAW can target a tank’s weakest points with devastating effect and its soft-launch capability is effective even in confined spaces.
Driving armed forces forward
Generals, high-ranking officers and those who need to have a wider perspective echo the demands of the individual, with several additional practical concerns. They want equipment that requires minimal training and balances effectiveness, cost and ease of use.
Enter the AT4. One of the most successful anti-armour weapon families on the market, the AT4 is a disposable launcher that allows a single soldier to destroy armoured vehicles with ease.
Slycke says the AT4 is popular due to its light weight, low cost and simplicity, adding: “Officers know that they can quickly arm entire squads with enough firepower to take out buildings.
“Moreover, the whole AT4 family uses the same interface, so once a solider is familiar with one member, the skills can be easily transferred to the rest.”
Balancing the differing needs of the individual solider and the force as a whole is not easy, according to Slycke, but he insists that it is essential to securing victory in combat.
“The challenge is to build solutions that are powerful, portable, cost-efficient and easy to use,” he said. “Only by delivering in all these areas can we be sure that armies have the capability to achieve their objectives, and that soldiers are confident carrying out their missions.”
Confidence is key
When fighting in extreme conditions, surrounded by danger, and with so many things that could go wrong, soldiers deserve to be able to rely on their equipment in times of need. Equally, forces must be assured that their troops can confidently discharge their weapons correctly in the harshest conditions and through the roughest terrains.
Our goal is to build tools that help soldiers complete missions as safely and effectively as possible, ensuring they always know they have what it takes.