Thales awarded stage one of FIST soldier systems contract

LONDON, 11 Sept. 2009. Thales UK won a contract from the United Kingdom Ministry of Defense (MOD) for the delivery and in-service support of a surveillance and target acquisition (STA) system, which will form the first increment of the MOD's Future Integrated Soldier Technology (FIST) program.

LONDON, 11 Sept. 2009. Thales UK won a contract from the United Kingdom Ministry of Defense (MOD) for the delivery and in-service support of a surveillance and target acquisition (STA) system, which will form the first increment of the MOD's Future Integrated Soldier Technology (FIST) program.

The STA system comprises a suite of high-performance weapon sights, observation equipment, and target location systems that will be deployed with dismounted units from the United Kingdom armed forces operating in all environments, from desert to jungle, to arctic, urban and rural, day and night.

Thales UK officials made the announcement this week during DSEi 2009, the Defense Systems and Equipment International Exhibition in London.

For minimal additional weight, the FIST STA system will increase the close combat effectiveness of soldiers by providing the following benefits:

- reduction in engagement times;
- improvement in detection and recognition ranges;
- wider range of night firing options;
- significant increase in the probability of hitting the target with the first round fired;
- reduction in target location times; and
- major improvement in target location accuracy.

Extensive trials and modeling have indicated that these benefits can be expected to raise the tempo of operations, increase the troops' readiness for further operations and, ultimately, reduce casualties, Thales UK officials say.

Minister for Defense Equipment & Support Quentin Davies, says "the surveillance and target acquisition package forms the first part of the Future Integrated Soldier Technology (FIST) program. This new kit that we have ordered today will significantly increase the combat effectiveness of the British infantryman.

The first deliveries - sufficient to equip a brigade - are planned for November 2010, with full contract deliveries due to be completed in June 2014, company officials say.

FIST was established to enhance the capability of the dismounted infantry section, ensuring that the soldier of the future is equipped to meet changing requirements. The program has followed a systematic, requirements-driven approach to equipping small teams of soldiers engaged in dismounted operations with an integrated fighting system. It also addresses the integration of the dismounted section with other systems, including personal equipment and platforms, to deliver network-enabled capability.

More in Communications