Research teams consistently find success when basing defense technology on smartphone functionality. Two cases in point are Mobile User Objective System (MUOS) satellites and CubeSats, which take advantage of commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) smartphone components. In that vein, General Dynamics and Colt Canada combined their respective messaging and device platforms—the Variable Message Format (VMF) and the Solider Weapon & Observer Reconnaissance Devices (SWORD) system—to help extend the reach of data exchange to dismounted soldiers.

Colt Canada developed its SWORD system as an alternative to radio-centric individual soldier systems. It integrates weapon-mounted surveillance and targeting devices with ruggedized smartphone technology, helping deliver critical situational awareness information to soldiers via their rifle. The VMF method, already adopted by several nations, also provides critical information directly to soldiers. Combining the two ensures compatibility with higher-level command and control (C2) systems.

According to Colt Canada, the use of smartphone components makes the transition to the new system much more seamless, since soldiers are already comfortable using the devices. Enhanced with the technology, the SWORD system provides power, data, and navigation infrastructure within the weapon, including GPS and inertial navigation for GPS-denied situations. The networked rifles serve to essentially deliver the information the soldiers need to execute missions safely and successfully.