Tactical information system for individual soldiers in service for PLA Tibet Military Command
Published: Dec 28, 2020 09:03 PM

Artillerymen assigned to a brigade under the PLA 76th Group Army fire an anti-tank missile during a live-fire test at the temperature of minus 17 degrees in mountainous area on December 17, 2020. ( by Li Zhongyuan)

Individual soldiers with the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) Tibet Military Command are now equipped with a new type of tactical information system that can share real-time combat dynamics, receive mission objectives and allow the soldiers to comprehensively grasp the battlefield situation, boosting their combat capabilities in cold, mountainous regions, media reported on Monday.

A light-weight, high-mobility, combined-arms brigade under the PLA Tibet Military Command recently conducted an informationized comprehensive combat drill at a high elevation of 4,500 meters, China Central Television (CCTV) reported on Monday.

By monitoring the new tactical information system carried by each and every soldier on the battlefield, the command center was able to track each soldier's movement, understand the whole dynamics on the battlefield and give instructions to each soldier about their current mission in real time, the report said.

According to the CCTV report footage, which gives a glimpse at a command center, this advanced system can not only display basic data like location and status of every soldier on a digitized map on screens, but also observe what the soldiers see through the cameras they wear on their helmets. It also shows that the system can be used to send information or orders via voice or short messages.

On the soldiers' side, they carry system terminals on their chests, folded into their body armor when not used. These tablet computer-like terminals are expected to also be used to share and receive all battlefield information with and from the command center and among each of the soldiers.

"By grasping the process of combat, we can switch personnel at any time based on their expenses [in terms of ammunition, stamina and casualties], communicate with them and inform every individual soldier about their mission in real time," Li Jichuan, an instructor of the brigade, said on CCTV.

The system realizes that the command center can give orders to every soldier and grasp the combat situation of every squad, which was impossible in the past, reported, a Shanghai-based news website.

Such a system can significantly boost the troops' combat capability thanks to enhanced situational awareness, which will provide the commanders and soldiers with better judgment in choosing their tactics, a Beijing-based military expert who requested anonymity told the Global Times on Monday.

The system must also have strong anti-jamming capability, so it can function properly even under complicated electromagnetic environments, the expert predicted.

More PLA troops are expected to equip the system, analysts said.

The No. 208 Research Institute of China Ordnance Industries started developing a tactical information system for individual soldiers in the 1990s, CCTV reported in October 2019.

Since then, in addition to the tablet-like system terminal, dozens of modules have been developed for soldiers, and different modules will be used in different missions based on mission objectives. Such modules include a helmet-mounted camera, or a type of rifle grip that can also take pictures and record the combat situation, reports said.