The PCARD, or personal combat assistant and reporting device, has been created by Marine staff sergeant Alexander Long and allows those is the field to tap into the likes of food, water and ammunition in real time.
The device itself is smaller than a standard smartphone, with each individual fire team member able to submit a request when supplies are running low. This is then conveyed to the squad leader, who holds a tablet, and then along to the platoon commander in order to make inventory decisions while the Marines move through an operation.
Once this process takes place, commanders are then able to use the resupply data to then potentially forecast future needs and deliver the right amount of stock when needed to the correct destination.
“The common problem is the warfighter is too heavy,” Long said. “We spend a lot of money just trying to make the equipment lighter. Units still go out with three days of supplies even if they’re just walking a kilometer on patrol.”
Drones may eventually be used to deliver supplies.
A fire team leader can order food, water and other basic supplies as easily as ordering a pizza back home in the States.
Marines in the field usually carry at least three days’ worth of supplies, which can total a whopping 65 to 100 pounds, depending on situation and mission.
Long said much of that weight is consumables and hopes his project can reduce the overall carried weight by 33 percent.