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The first Norwegian soldiers might receive the NORMANS equipment already in 2013. Here shown by soldiers Simen Hvassing and Ida Løvland at this years Defence & Security Equipment International (DSEi) exhibition in London.
Photo: FFI
Weighs a little, gives a lot
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Ten years of research lies behind the NORMANS digitised soldier system about to be acquired by the Norwegian Armed Forces.

Text: Kai Eldøy Nygaard


Increased efficiency in combat and improved security for the individual soldier are important keywords in the Norwegian Modular Arctic Network Soldier (NORMANS).

Improved performance

- The system has been thoroughly tested and fine-tuned over the course of several years, reports FFI research scientist Lars Erik Olsen.
- We have attained 30-40 percent improved performance in a platoon that was equipped with the digital part of the soldier system.
The percentage figures were established through time measurements and professional military assessments. The reference group was equipped with GPS and a traditional map. One platoon member, who played the part of a wounded soldier, was found 20 minutes earlier by the group equipped with the NORMANS system. Other benefits that were observed in the field tests were a more synchronised execution of tasks and a more rapid arrival on the scene.
- Twenty minutes can mean the difference between life and death for a wounded person. Soldiers, who can move more rapidly and with greater precision, get more rest and are ready for new combat at an earlier stage, Olsen points out.


In short, the digitised command control and information system NORMANS CCI consists of two portable units that are both robust and extremely energy-efficient in their use of power. The smallest unit weighs only 500 grams and is carried by the individual soldier. A small screen shows the location of his fellow company members and reduces the risk of error in the identification of the enemy and friendly forces.
Navigation is simple with GPS coordinates that are plotted in. This facilitates an easier tactical use of the terrain during platoon movements. Messages can be sent internally, for instance in the event of an emergency, or if a hostile force is discovered. Distances are accurately determined using laser-based distance measuring equipment and sent to each individual member of the platoon.
A slightly larger unit is specially constructed for section leaders, second-in-command officers and specialists. A larger screen and move functions provide situational awareness that is more detailed. The system contributes to freeing up mental capacity, a very welcome attribute in pressured situations.

FFI-led process

FFI has led the ten-year effort to develop the digital soldier solution of the future in close collaboration with operational forces and the Norwegian defense industry.
- An earlier modernisation project suffered from a lack of coordination, and that particular system required seven different rechargeable batteries when the full complement of equipment was in use. Our goal was to create a system that soldiers want to use. This we have succeeded in doing with the new NORMANS system. NORMANS is user-friendly, light to carry and offers lots of functions, says Olsen.
All soldiers in the Norwegian Armed Forces will receive the new system. Olsen hopes that the first deliveries of NORMANS can be made towards the end of 2013. According to the contractor Thales Norway, the Norwegian invention has aroused considerable international interest and will also be offered to other nations.



Press release


Thales NORMANS soldier system (English)

Thales NORMANS soldat system (Norsk) 


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Portable unit: NORMANS Advanced.
Photo: FFI
Portable unit: NORMANS Light. Photo: FFI
NORMANS demonstrated to Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg and NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen at Army Summit by Sergeant Sigve Digernes (TMBN). Photo: Forsvaret
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