The U.S. Army has awarded Raytheon a contract to upgrade its Advanced Field Artillery Tactical Data System. Key benefits to U.S. soldiers include better situational awareness and enhanced decision-making.

Raytheon reported in a press release on July 24 that it has received an $81 million contract from the U.S. Army to develop and produce a new version of the Advanced Field Artillery Tactical Data System (AFATDS). It will provide general and fires command and control capabilities to ground forces, from mission planning to execution.

The contract extends over a 24-month period, with an $18 million, 12-month option.

AFATDS is designed to integrate and use information from a variety of sources to create a common operational picture.

The system utilizes the information and common operational picture to plan, coordinate and control battlefield elements, including mortars, close air support, naval gunfire, attack helicopters, offensive electronic warfare, field artillery cannons, rockets and guided missiles, according to the news release.

"Our system brings the network to the battlefield and to front-line personnel, providing them with complete and accurate information about their environment," said Kim Kerry, Vice President of C4I Systems for Raytheon's Network Centric Systems business. "Soldiers in the line of fire will be able to select the right weapons for the right targets at the right time."

Version 6.8X of the system will focus on improving and simplifying the user interface while enhancing speed and capabilities, the news release said.