They came in two parts, weighed 15 pounds, and had to be lugged around in backpacks. This year, the military will deploy L-3’s Rover 5, a 3.5-pound handheld that fits into a cargo-pants pocket. The device boasts what Evan Deneris, director of Rover engineering, calls a “John Madden feature,” which lets a soldier see real-time video from manned or unmanned aircraft and use a stylus to zero in on the target. On the home front, the Rover aided Hurricane Katrina rescues and the battle against California wildfires. (L-3 is also behind the controversial airport screening equipment that renders travelers virtually naked on-screen as they go through security.)
Rover 5: The 3.5-pound handheld lets soldiers on the ground see aerial views of the battlefield and identify targets with a stylus.
Fighter Jet: The soldier’s annotation is sent to the attack aircraft and displayed on a small video screen the pilot uses for targeting.
Command Center: Rover allows commanders to approve targets remotely.