Networked 'cloud' lets soldiers share info, call in air strikes

Just the other day we showed you some of the military apps soldiers could take advantage of on their iPhones. Well, now there's an even more complex way to connect infantry units with one another through the Man-packable Network Integration Kit (or M-NIK), a portable "cloud" that integrates ideas from the Land Warrior program.

M-NIK lets troops pull in video surveillance from aerial drones, share video, text and voice communications with one another via satellite and radio, and even call in precision air strikes. The last on the list is perhaps the biggest benefit to soldiers in the field, as it would allow them to link directly with their battlefield support — such as artillery or air support — without having to relay commands through a second party.

The system was recently tested in the field, and allowed two separate infantry units to network with one another, as well as with a distant command post. It's the kind of connectivity that military vehicles enjoy but has been elusive for foot soldiers as a man can't lug around the same weight as a tank. And the M-NIK is rather heavy, weighing in at 20 pounds.

It's a system that shows early promise, however, and should be lighter and tighter with the rapid leaps and bounds military technology tends to enjoy.

DoD Buzz, via Popular Science