Improving military capabilities with IoT

With the growth of IoT, major industries and government organizations are exploring the benefits.

Globally, IoT plays an important role in increasing the effectiveness and safety for the men and women serving their countries military service.

The main players in the Internet of Things are the United States defence agencies, which use battlefield-connected technologies to train soldiers, improve care for wounded troops and protect military supply chains. Internet of Things allows the US military to have a shared consciousness of the battlefield for the forces, a concept known as network-centric warfare. IoT military deployments are designed to meet the specific operational needs of the various branches of the military.

Military bases collect data using a wide variety of connected technologies, including cameras, infrared sensors, and radiation and chemical detectors; and a wide variety of platforms, including drones, surveillance satellites, naval and land stations, and soldiers on the ground. For example, the Navy operates a network of connected buoys that use sonar technology to detect the presence of submarines.

A particularly interesting use of Internet of Things for military purposes is the connected airplane. The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter – the most advanced hunting gun – is a fully networked aircraft equipped with a range of sensors designed to collect a variety of data to improve situational awareness. Embedded systems analyse and synthesize all of this data to create a customized dashboard with the most relevant information the pilot needs to complete a mission.

Internet of Things not only makes military supply chains more efficient, but also ensures that military equipment does not fall into the wrong hands. In response to the high risk of theft and piloting of military supplies led by Pakistan to US troops in Afghanistan, DoD US Transportation Command has installed Container Detection Intrusion Devices (CIDDs) on military containers crossing the region.  ICDDs use sensors placed on each container to detect and alert military personnel of any unauthorized intrusion; combined with satellite monitoring and truck tracking in the event of unusual delays, significantly reduces military cargo theft. DoD has also developed several IoT applications designed to improve infantry performance.

The Defense Health Agency (DHA) is researching how to use wearable technologies to collect data that can determine what kind of injury a soldier has, whether surgery is needed, severity of the injury and other treatment information, long before the soldier even reaches the hospital. The United States Air Force has piloted the BioStampRC Wearable Sensing Platform, a series of Bluetooth-connected sensors embedded in a wearable patch that monitors biometric data, which can help doctors better evaluate an injured pilot’s health and prioritize care.