DARPA to develop new digital tools to support coastal urban combat operations


The US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is set to develop new digital tools for transforming how troops fight in coastal urban environments.

The new advanced battle management / command and control tools will be developed as part of the Prototype Resilient Operations Testbed for Expeditionary Urban Scenarios (PROTEUS) programme.

Researchers at the agency aim to design an interactive virtual environment to test new tools and concepts for future expeditionary combat operations.

DARPA programme manager John Paschkewitz said: “The urban fight is about delivering precise effects and adapting faster than the adversary in an uncertain, increasingly complex environment.

“For US forces to maintain a distinct advantage in urban coastal combat scenarios, we need agile, flexible task organizations able to create surprise and exploit advantages by combining effects across operational domains.

"The urban fight is about delivering precise effects and adapting faster than the adversary in an uncertain, increasingly complex environment."

“Through PROTEUS, we aim to amplify the initiative and decision-making capabilities of NCOs and junior officers at the platoon and squad level as well as field-grade officers commanding expeditionary landing teams, for example, by giving them new tools to compose tailored force packages not just before the mission, but during the mission as it unfolds.”

The programme focuses on delivering a software platform that can be used on a tablet or other personal device to enable dynamic and adaptive composition of dismounted forces, vehicles, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), manned aircraft, and other available assets simultaneously across multiple command levels as the fight is evolving.

The battle management / command and control (BMC2) software would facilitate agile precision warfighting, allowing tactical operators to quickly design, compose, and recompose force packages on the fly to surprise enemies.

A new interactive virtual testbed will also be developed to evaluate operational concepts spanning multiple domains, such as ground, sea, air, and electromagnetic spectrum.


Image: A graphical depiction of the PROTEUS concept, showing agile, immediate composition of force packages during fast-moving urban combat operations. Photo: courtesy of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency.