Tag Archives: Special Operations

An Evolutionary Vision

Army Special Ops Looks to the Future Armed with Lessons Learned from the Past

090816-A-1179W-0054

By USASOC Public Affairs

The U.S. Army Special Operations Command (USASOC) is the Army component of the Joint Special Operations Command. Among the most diverse organizations in the U.S. military, USASOC brings a broad range of competencies and disciplines to support geographic combatant commanders and ambassadors worldwide. Established in 1989 to enhance the readiness of Army special operations forces, USASOC’s mission is twofold: organize, train, and equip Army Special Operations Forces (ARSOF) units and soldiers and deploy them worldwide to meet the requirements of war plans, geographic combatant commanders, and ambassadors.

Over the past 12 years, the lessons USASOC learned from Iraq and Afghanistan led to the creation of a strategic framework for change called ARSOF 2022. This blueprint focuses on specific areas that needed improvement to better enable theater special operations commands and joint force commanders to conduct SOF campaigns worldwide.

(more…)

SOCOM’s TALOS: Build It Fast, Build It Right

A prototype for DARPA’s Warrior Web program, which aims to develop a soft, lightweight undersuit that would help reduce injuries and fatigue and improve soldiers’ ability to efficiently perform their missions. Similar to SOCOM’s TALOS program, DARPA wants to create a working prototype that significantly boosts endurance, carrying capacity, and overall effectiveness—all while using no more than 100 watts of power. (DARPA)

SOCOM innovates acquisition to make TALOS a concrete concept and eventual reality.

By George Jagels

The Tactical Assault Light Operator Suit (TALOS) has generated much attention over the past year, even though it does not yet exist. Dubbed the “Iron Man Suit” in reference to the comic book hero, TALOS is a U.S. Special Operations Command (SOCOM) project to build a full-body system that improves survivability, physical performance, and situational awareness. It received $4 million in funding for FY 14.

ADM William McRaven, SOCOM Commander, conceived of the idea and has pushed it strongly. In May 2013, he asked industry to work with SOCOM to develop a “revolutionary capability” to include ballistic protection, sensors, computers, antennae, and an exoskeleton to help shoulder the load without inhibiting the operator. The command is also working with federal and academic research institutions on the project.

(more…)

Pocket Change: A Nano Air Vehicle Proves Its Worth

The PD-100 Black Hornet fits onto a combat vest and is designed to look around corners without risking the user life or being detected by the enemy.

By George Jagels

As equipment improves, the average weight a soldier carries keeps rising. A 2009 Army study showed the average soldier humped 100 pounds of gear on patrol. And with budget freezes and force cuts, training specialists at the squad level is less and less feasible. Thus when one thinks of adding an unmanned aerial system (UAS) to a small unit, words like “unfeasible” and “unnecessary” might be the reaction. But what if that system took two days to learn and weighed 2.8 pounds, fitting into a soldier’s combat vest?

Prox Dynamics, a small UAS company based in Norway, builds just such a system. The PD-100 Personal Reconnaissance System, or Black Hornet, is a nano air vehicle (nano UAV) with many of the capabilities and potential of much larger, more complicated devices. In a field with ever more competition— witness the extraordinary expansion of the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International trade group—the Black Hornet seems in a class of its own. With the little heard from Aerovironment’s Hummingbird since 2011, my research shows operationally useful nano UAVs are confined to the Black Hornet.

(more…)