Squad X Core Technologies For Infantry

DARPA is trying to bring advances in technology to infantry squads who already have too much technology and weaponry to keep track of.


(SXCT concept from DARPA)

Warfighters in aircraft, on ships and in ground vehicles have benefited tremendously from technological advances in recent decades, with advanced capabilities ranging from real-time situational awareness to precision armaments. But many of these benefits depend on equipment with substantial size, weight and power requirements, and so have remained unavailable to dismounted infantry squads who must carry all their equipment themselves.

DARPA’s new Squad X Core Technologies (SXCT) program aims to address this challenge and ensure that dismounted infantry squads maintain uncontested tactical superiority over potential adversaries without being overburdened by cumbersome hardware. The goal is to speed the development of new, lightweight, integrated systems that provide infantry squads unprecedented awareness, adaptability and flexibility in complex environments, and enable dismounted Soldiers and Marines to more intuitively understand and control their complex mission environments.

  • Precision Engagement: Precisely engage threats out to 0.6 mile (1,000 meters), while maintaining compatibility with infantry weapon systems and without imposing weight or operational burdens that would negatively affect mission effectiveness
  • Non-Kinetic Engagement: Disrupt enemy command and control, communications and use of unmanned assets at a squad-relevant operational pace (walking with occasional bursts of speed)
  • Squad Sensing: Detect potential threats out to 0.6 mile (1,000 meters) at a squad-relevant operational pace
  • Squad Autonomy: Increase squad members’ real-time knowledge of their own and teammates’ locations to less than 20 feet (6 meters) in GPS-denied environments through collaboration with embedded unmanned air and ground systems


(Squad X Core Technologies (SXCT) [click for cool SXCT detail!])

DARPA has scheduled a Proposers Day on Friday, February 27, 2015, at DARPA’s offices in Arlington, Va. I would suggest that potential participants read Robert Heinlein's 1959 novel Starship Troopers. In particular, the material about the Mobile Infantry's Powered Armor (also Powered Suit):

And that is the beauty of a powered suit: you don't have to think about it. You don't have to drive it, fly it, conn it, operate it; you just wear it and it takes orders directly from your muscles and does for you what your muscles are trying to do. This leaves you with your whole mind free to handle your weapons and notice what is going on around you... which is supremely important to an infantryman who wants to die in bed. If you load a mud foot down with a lot of gadgets that he has to watch, somebody a lot more simply equipped - say with a stone ax - will sneak up and bash his head in while he is trying to read a vernier...

Since your head is the one part of your body not involved in the pressure receptors controlling the suit's muscles, you use your head -- your jaw muscles, your chin, your neck -- to switch things for you and thereby leave your hands free to fight. A chin plate handles all visual displays the way the jaw switch handles the audios. All displays are thrown on a mirror in front of your forehead from where the work is actually going on above and back of your head. All this helmet gear makes you look like a hydrocephalic gorilla but, with luck, the enemy won't live long enough to be offended by your appearance, and it is a very convenient arrangement; you can flip through your several types of radar displays quicker than you can change channels to avoid a commercial -- catch a range & bearing, locate your boss, check your flank men, whatever.

Read more about Squad X Core Technologies (SXCT).

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