Never lose a soldier again with the Army's new boot-mounted personnel tracker

Military Tech
A warfighter localization sensor units, or WarLoc, in action (Robotics Research photo)

Army commanders may never have to worry about losing a lieutenant ever again.

The Army last week awarded a $16.5 million contract to Maryland-based defense contractor Robotic Research for boot-mounted trackers so dismounted soldiers can keep tabs on one another in environments where GPS-based systems are ineffective.

The "warfighter localization sensor unit," known as WarLoc, is designed to operate in GPS-degraded and -denied environments such as underground facilities or dense urban terrain. It also resembles a court-ordered ankle bracelet.

"WarLoc's small-form factor and state-of-the-art capability to provide highly accurate localization and positional information in GPS-denied environments make this device a perfect fit for America's forces tasked with defending our freedoms on the front lines," Robotic Research president Alberto Lacaze said in a statement.

WarLoc will be fielded to four deployed brigade combat teams "in various locations" in the near future according to the company.

As the Pentagon reorients from 18 years of counterterrorism operations in the Middle East to "great power competition" with Russia and China, the Army is increasingly focused on locator devices capable of functioning in contested environments where GPS may prove either unreliable or jammed outright.

"Imagine soldiers going inside of a very large building and getting lost or turned around in an underground facility, and someone else is jamming GPS, or blue force tracker stops working," Lacaze told Defense News. "This allows you to continue that capability, even when GPS is jammed either because of natural causes like being underground or because someone's purposefully doing it."

According to the company, the first batch of WarLocs have already been delivered to the service. No word yet on whether or not the WarLoc will be available to soldiers for land nav portion of their Expert Soldier Badge test.

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