The Israeli military equipment producer, Elbit Systems, signed a $150 million contract with the Netherlands Ministry of Defense for the supply of an advanced system for infantry troops of the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg.
The Smart Vest integrates a mobile communications system whereby the infantry troops can network together. Each unit can locate the position of their comrades via a touchscreen display and, thanks to a radio and GPS receiver, communicate effectively with each other as well as with command headquarters.
The contract period will cover 5 years with Elbit Systems as the main contractor. Thales Netherlands will supply and integrate the vehicle integration system, the battery and GPS device. The E-lighter, a Fokker developed portable diesel generator, will provide the Smart Vest with up to 48 hours of power.
The system incorporates the latest technological innovations, which is a collaboration between the military modernization programs of the Netherlands, Belgium, and Luxembourg. This collaboration is the first joint strategic program between these forces. The first tests of the system are expected to begin in 2016 with the supply of the first 80 pieces. The deployment of 5500 vests are expected in 2017.
Vice Admiral Matthieu Borsboom, Director of Defence Material Procurement, said at the contract signing, "the 'Smart Vest' is a large step forward in personal safety, situational awareness, effectiveness and performance of military personnel in operational deployment."