The US Army has successfully finished field testing the Warfighter Information Network - Tactical. Better known as WIN-T for short, a $10 billion secure and mobile broadband communications network for the modern army soldier in battlefield situations.
The 4th Brigade tests have been putting WIN-T through its paces, linking together drones and spy sats and tactical operation centers while keeping the soldiers on the ground firmly in the loop courtesy of the VoIP-alike system that works with the kind of mobile devices they carry into battle. Thanks to WIN-T these wireless devices are then integrated into the wider army network, giving soldiers in the field immediate real-time access to video footage from unmanned surveillance drones. What's more, if those drones have the capability it will enable weapons guidance directly to the target.
While these remain just tests for now, they were also the most comprehensive so far and look set to prove that the WINternet is just as much an important weapon in the modern theater of war as any gun. Provided that WIN-T gets approval from the US Army Evaluation Center it can be expected to be deployed sometime during 2010.
WIN-T Project Manager Colonel William C. Hoppe says "This is the largest and most complex user test for WIN-T and demonstrates just how critical a weapon the network is in the Army's arsenal because it is what soldiers will depend on to communicate on the battlefield."