KIEL, Germany, March 12 (UPI) -- Rheinmetall is delivering its Gladius future soldier system to the German army for use by troops being deployed to Afghanistan this year.
Gladius -- its official German acronym is IdZ-ES -- is comprised of a modular uniform, body armor and an integrated network-enabling electronic array that includes a radio, core computer, batteries and GPS.
"The new IdZ-ES is an original, comprehensive, innovative solution," said Bodo Garbe, a member of Rheinmetall's executive board. "For the first time ever, it proved possible to implement an entirely new design for a solder system and get it to the troops.
"Thanks to Gladius ... German infantrymen can now play an active role in network-enabled warfare."
The German military ordered an initial lot of 30 systems, which will equip 300 soldiers in 10-man units, last year. Sixty additional systems, worth $109 million, were ordered in January.
Delivery of the systems ordered in January will occur in two lots of 30 each, the company said.
"Gladius gives the Bundeswehr the world's most advanced soldier system," Rheinmetall said. "Fielding it is a major step in the process of improving the equipment of infantry forces in future deployed operations, thus enhancing the survivability of the individual soldier."