Is it me, or was ALIENS eerily prescient?

Personal Vidcams on the Battlefield

apone.jpgHelmet-mounted video cameras.

Look at the gear used by troops in the mid-1980s, the gear used by the Colonial Marines in the 1986 film ALIENS, and the gear used by today’s troops.

If the XM29 had only worked, today’s soldier would be pretty much like James Cameron’s action movie, wouldn’t they? And they rode around in a wheeled APC, though they seem to have overcome the air-transportability issue by then.

And don’t forget this ALIENS comparison, which is really pretty stupid.

Plus, in that movie the Marines fought a nearly endless stream of savage killers that didn’t differentiate between soldier and civilian and which didn’t seem to possess anything resembling a conscience…


  1. About the only drawback of these that I can think of is that there will be much more recordings of claims of alleged war crimes and other abuse being transmitted & misinterpreted to newsies. oh well war is hell afterall.

  2. Sam: I think you’re right on target there…this is definitely a double-edged sword. We’ll all get to see a lot of good footage we wouldn’t have seen otherwise, but there will totally be bad consequences. There have been a number of different articles on this in the past (probably from about the time that Marine killed that wounded guy in the mosque) and what the military was going to do about it. In a nutshell, the answer seems to be ‘nothing’, since there’s not much they CAN do.

  3. Only difference is, that the OICW is trying to be all special and high tech with the rangefinding and airburst, while an ‘Aliens’ style grenade launcher would be more like a pump action XM109 ‘dumb fire’ grenade launcher…where the grenades could be armed and fired like a handgrenade as well. That and the ‘rifle’ was supposed to be a 10mm caseless design with 500 meter or better range (it was really a .45 cal Thompson SMG with a Rem 870 slung under it as the launcher)

  4. I guess they can use a proprietary video codec and encrypt the images. They are already using protected networks. So in ‘theory’ they should be able to keep a lid on their own streams of video and images. As we have seen however, civilians and enemies will also have increasingly available access to open codec, unencrypted video. The Al-Jazeera effect is what makes it worse. So it seems we are looking at a future with the increasingly bad results in an increasingly urban combat environment. Best to learn to leverage publicity skills and to use video images against the terrorsists.

  5. Only difference is, that the OICW is trying to be all special and high tech with the rangefinding and airburst, while an ‘Aliens’ style grenade launcher…’ As noted elsewhere, we already have 12gauge grenades; Shrinking Electronics will eventually allow them to be programable . As for the XM-29, Rangefinding ‘lasers’ and other services on the helmet or even on a standard rifle scope (Israelis are doing this) would be a nifty addition to helm-cams. Longrange bionculars as well. We will go way beyond ‘Aliens’; though it may be a while for the Dropship.

  6. other cool-tech from the movie: handheld welder portable motion sensor with 360 field of view very portable flamethrower those little hand grenades that didn’t seem much bigger than a size D battery.

  7. I would hate to be the freedom of information officer in charge of cataloging all the video tapes and storing them for 50 years. Then there would be the 60 minutes crew at my doorstep screaming cover-up if they could not get instant access to the tapes detailing the death of puppies. As for the motion sensor, it already exists with millimeter band radars.

  8. So how about individual biometric information feeds? Only downside may be if they try to tie all that into one C&C center where a dumb LT is trying to fire and maneuver by camera. Aliens – Best Alien Movie Ever.

  9. The ‘little hand grenades that didn’t seem much bigger than a size D battery’ were supposed to be the ammo for the ’30mm Pump action grenade launcher’ (Remington 870) slung under the ‘M41A Pulse rifle (Thompson SMG with funky furnature). In all reality, they arn’t much smaller than the 25mm shells that they are looking at for the XM109, OCSW, OICW, and the like. Hmmm, sling a 2 or 3 shot 25mm ‘reverse pump’, lever action, or bolt action launcher under the XM8…gosh, it almost LOOKS like the pulse rifle. Now all we need is the 10mm caseless ammo to replace the 5.56mm ‘gutless’ ammo

  10. Frank Ummm if that is really what you want. Personally I would want the system incorporated into the soldiers combat armor to provide a short range visual ability in adverse conditions and allow for the ability to immage through concrete walls. (that would really help in urban room to room combat.) The various uses of the device on this website The name of the device is the micropower impulse radar.