Safran Electronics and Defense (France) is leading the ACHILE consortium (‘Augmented capability for high-end soldiers’), aimed at designing advanced soldier systems with enhanced capability suites. In June, 2023, the European Commission awarded ACHILE a €40-million grant, making it one of the main projects funded under the European Defense Fund 2021.
Providing close support to Safran are Rheinmetall Electronics (Germany), Indra Sistemas (Spain), and Leonardo (Italy). Over the next four years, the consortium will study and deliver operational concepts and new user and system requirements, to be harmonized at European level. The group will develop a so-called generic open soldier system reference architecture (GOSSRA) for Europe’s Preparatory Action Plan on Defense Research (PADR).
Along with innovative navigation units, new enhanced capability suites will include head-up displays for augmented reality, weapon sights, and exoskeletons. All will be evaluated via technological demonstrators and proofs of concept. Interchangeable capabilities are intended to improve all areas of dismounted combat, i.e. survivability, sustainability, mobility, localization and navigation, perception and situational awareness, lethality, smart engagement and communication.
Full slate of deliverables
ACHILE will develop new systems in four main areas: soldier-core and soldier-extension to address capabilities at soldier level, and team-core and team-extension to address squad and networking capabilities, as well as robotics and weapon interaction at team level. Specific aims include:
- Better protection for soldiers, with lighter equipment and improved ergonomics; a modular approach and optimized size, weight and power (SWAP) capability up to the system level.
- Enhanced soldier performance, in particular in terms of visual and sound perception, and individual situational awareness.
- Augmented team capabilities, through network connectivity, shared situational awareness, and coordination with all other units on the battlefield.
Newly designed networking capabilities will be evaluated in large-scale demonstrations with battlefield management systems (BMS) and communication systems. The project will also evaluate full-size prototypes in large-scale demonstrations under a variety of realistic conditions.
ACHILE gathers 30 partner participants from nine EU countries and Norway, including a wide range of small and medium-size enterprises, mid-caps, research institutes, universities, and large groups, encompassing the full soldier system value chain.