Army funding next generation Special Ops combat armor

U.S. Special Operations Command (USSOCOM)is invites industry, academia, individuals, and Government labs to submit revolutionary low Technology Readiness Level (TRL) technology demonstration nominations addressing revolutionary/novel technologies/developmental approaches leading to possible Government/Industry collaboration for development of USSOCOM technology capabilities supporting a Tactical Assault Light Operator Suit (TALOS). The intent is to accelerate the delivery of innovative TALOS capabilities to the Special Operations Forces (SOF) warfighter.

The suit may use liquid armor, currently under development at MIT, which has the ability to transform from a “liquid to solid in milliseconds when a magnetic field or electrical current is applied.” The goal is full-body ballistic protection, theoretically allowing the wearer to literally walk through a stream of bullets. A panel that rests against the skin would be able to detect and respond to the body’s core temperature, skin temperature, heart rate, and hydration levels. The suit would also provide basic life support such as heat, air, and oxygen.

The US Special Operations Command is looking for revolutionary new gear assisting troops in exceeding human performance in combat. SOCOM is looking for practical, near-term capabilities. typical of the command’s no nonsense attitude, the technologies selected for demonstrations should be integrated to form an initial capability within twelve months. A secondary goal is to determine the feasibility of fielding objective capabilities within three years.

They want

* Improved armor protection
* lighter protection and systems so that wearers are not slowed down or fatigued
* integrated electronics and sensors
* improved communications and displays
* built in automated first aid to manage injuries
* powered exoskeleon

Basically over the next 1 to 3 years have the best engineers try to compete to pull together bleeding edge technology to try to make commandos tougher, more deadly and more effective.

Demonstrations will explore emerging TALOS technology solutions for the advance enhanced mobility/protection capabilities to augment the direct assaulter. The goal of these demonstrations is to identify technologies and innovative developmental approaches which could potentially supply revolutionary, game changing capabilities and developmental approaches to USSOCOM supported Research and Development. Any TALOS technology demonstration conducted at this event must provide a clear understanding of how the technology or developmental approach is unique to the direct assaulter mission capability needs.

Direct Assaulter enhanced mobility/protective technologies may include, but are not limited to:

a. Advanced Armor: Materials to support next generation full-body ballistic protection. Full body ballistic protection shall be to the NIJ-IV level and include the head. Blast pressure wave mitigation technologies will be considered.
b. Mobility/Agility: Enhancement platforms such as powered exoskeletons that improves/augments warfighters endurance and agility.
c. Situational Awareness (SA): Body worn and remote sensor integration, fusion, and display to enhance a warfighter’s understanding of the tactical environment.
d. Light/noise discipline
e. Command, Control, Communications & Computers (C4): Such as conformable & wearable antennae, wearable computers, and advanced wave forms/software programmable radios allowing for a reduction in soldier load
f. Individual soldier combat ready displays: Including non-visual means of information display, and potentially utilization of cognitive thoughts and the surrounding environment to display personalized information
g. Power generation and management
h. Thermal management of suit occupant
i. Medical: Embedded monitoring, oxygen systems, wound stasis, electromechanical compensation

Proposed solutions should take into consideration “lightening the load” of the operator, mentally and/or physically while providing maximum protection, agility, and tactical dominance.

Respondents interested in conducting demonstrations using technologies like: lasers, explosives, weapons using live fire, moving equipment, vehicles, and other technologies that present an occupational hazard shall prepare and submit a safety risk assessment. The risk assessment shall address the likelihood and severity of any inherent risks as well as risk mitigation measures required to bring the resultant risk to a low level. The risk assessment shall be submitted as an attachment to the experiment nomination.

One of the programs that could be considered for this quest is ‘Warrior Web‘, an exoskeleton capability currently managed by the Defense Advanced Research Agency (DARPA) and the U.S. Army, exploring a new kit enabling soldiers to reduce fatigue and potential injuries caused by excessive loads they carry on dismounted operations. DARPA’s Warrior Web is a soft, lightweight under-suit that will augment the work of the Soldiers’ own muscles, to significantly boosting endurance, carrying capacity and overall warfighter effectiveness–all while using no more than 100 Watts of electrical power.

The current prototype of the Warrior web exosuit is shown here.

Talos Videos

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