A new wearable device hopes to deliver supplies to US Marines on demand, instead of leaving members of the armed forces to carry supplies on their back.
The PCARD, or personal combat assistant and reporting device, has been created by Marine staff sergeant Alexander Long and allows those is the field to tap into the likes of food, water and ammunition in real time.
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The device itself is smaller than a standard smartphone, with each individual fire team member able to submit a request when supplies are running low. This is then conveyed to the squad leader, who holds a tablet, and then along to the platoon commander in order to make inventory decisions while the Marines move through an operation.
Once this process takes place, commanders are then able to use the resupply data to then potentially forecast future needs and deliver the right amount of stock when needed to the correct destination.
"The common problem is the warfighter is too heavy," Long said. "We spend a lot of money just trying to make the equipment lighter. Units still go out with three days of supplies even if they're just walking a kilometer on patrol."
A prototype version of the device has recently been the subject of testing by undisclosed Marine units, with further review taking place later this year. This means that PCARD could be ready to go by early next year.
As Long points out, this would appear to be a wildly more efficient system than carrying supplies for uncommon eventualities, but only time will tell if the device is as good in the field as it is on paper. After all, while the PCARD wouldn't completely eradicate the need for carrying supplies, it does place a lot of pressure on the technology to provide a consistent fallback.
Source: Marine Corps Times