A new companion for the Indian soldier

The Indian Army tests a souped-up Simputer

Simputer SATHITake a Linux-based indigenously designed PDA; add indigenously developed modules for geographical information systems and radio-frequency communications; load specially developed software; and you end up with Situation Awareness and Tactical Handheld Information, or SATHI (translates into companion, in Hindi) for short.

Suitably designed for ‘Indian conditions’, the terminals are designed to be functional both in the hot deserts of Rajasthan and the cold glaciers of Siachen. That should just about allow them to be functional on Indian roads, then.

The Indian Army is conducting field trials in its counter-insurgency operations in Jammu & Kashmir.

The Simputer engine that powers the SATHI has seen as many avatars as engineering revisions — from a low-cost computer to a rural communications device to part of a combat kit — without quite having found mass-market appeal for itself. SATHI perhaps will give it a strong niche in the market.

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