Those troops you saw in science fiction movies as a child are now real. A few years ago, many countries recognized a need to upgrade the individual infantryman and thus started their own "future soldier" programs. Most of them completed more or less the main priority objectives, applying them to some of their elite troops and special forces, bringing together commercial, off-the-shelf technology and state of the art military gear and equipment.

More lethal assault rifles, upgraded weapon sights, modular gear, more effective head, body, and limb protection, cutting-edge networked communication, computer, and navigation gadgets—nowadays these subsystems transform a common soldier into a high-tech warrior.

Now, with helmets fitted with real-time positioning and information systems, thermal weapons sights, and computers embedded into their uniforms, soldiers are able to engage in combat assisted by satellite imagery of the battlefield and ballistic accuracy calculations. The future of ground warfare will surely bring integrated smart weapons, lightweight full body armors made of more advanced materials, exoskeletons, and even cybernetic implants to the battlefields; but, until then, the following photos from around the world show you the present. And it's scary enough.

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These are the most advanced troopers of our age, the people their enemies fear the most.


U.S.A.: “Land Warrior” individual soldier combat system

Photo: Gerry J. Gilmore, American Forces Press Service

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Photo: Spc. Steven Hitchcock/U.S. Army

Photo: Ric Feld/AP//The News Tribune, Peter Haley/AP


“FÉLIN” (Fantassin à Équipement et Liaisons Intégrés, Integrated Infantryman Equipment and Communications), the French Future Soldier program

Photo: SIRPA Terre/ADC Gilles Gesquiere

Photo: SIRPA Terre/CCH J-B Tabone

Photo: SIRPA Terre/ADC Gilles Gesquiere


Russian “Ratniks”, a.k.a Warriors, with high-tech military equipment, the "future soldier kit"

Photo: Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation

Photo: Itar-Tass

Photo: 2014 Calendar for Alpha Group

Photo: Rostec


“Normans,” the Future Soldier System of Norway

Photo: Torbjørn Kjosvold/Forsvarets mediesenter

Photo: Torbjørn Kjosvold/Forsvarets mediesenter

Photo: Torbjørn Kjosvold/Forsvarets mediesenter


The “Future Integrated Soldier Technology” (FIST) and the “Army 2020,” the transformation of the British Army for the 2020s and beyond

Photo: PO(Phot) Sean Clee/Royal Navy/Crown

Photo: Army/Crown

Photo: Cpl Mark Webster/Army/Crown


Germany's IdZ—“Infanterist der Zukunft–Erweitertes System," or “Future Soldier–Expanded System”—is also known as the “Gladius”

Photo: Bundeswehr/Bender

Photo: Bundeswehr/Rott

Photo: Bundeswehr/Rott

Photo: Rheinmetall

Photo: Rheinmetall


The “ISW Tytan” (Indywidualny System Walki Tytan, or "Individual Warfare System Titan") is the Polish Future Soldier military project

Photo: Bumar PCO

Photo: Bumar PCO

Photo: Polish Defence Holding


“IMESS,” the Swiss Future Soldier program

Photo: Cassidian


“ACMS,” Advanced Combat Man System, the Singaporean Future Soldier project.

Photo: ST Electronics


The "21st Century soldier" (Voják 21. století) is the Czech Future Soldier project

Photo: Jan Kouba, Ministerstvo obrany České republiky/Marie Křížová, Ministerstvo obrany České republiky


“LAND 125” Soldier Combat System is being planned and phased in by the Australian military

Photo: LSIS Jo Dilorenzo/Australian DoD


“Combatiente Futuro” (COMFUT) is a program developed by the Spanish Armed Forces

Photo: Ministerio de Defensa de España


Top photo: SIRPA Terre/ADC Gilles Gesquiere