The US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is seeking white papers to help determine the potential infrastructure and technologies necessary for the digitisation of dismounted infantry squads.
The agency has issued a special notice inviting companies to participate in the Squad X infrastructure study, which aims to offer enhanced tactical superiority at the small-unit level.
This would enable squad members to quickly and effectively collect, synthesise and share data about their fellow members, environment and potential threats, without increasing physical or cognitive burdens.
Sponsored by DARPA’s Tactical Technology Office (TTO), the study is looking for papers focusing on the evaluation of baseline Squad X technology, its integration studies, as well as experimentation site and manning selection.
DARPA programme manager major Christopher Orlowski said: "We want both traditional and non-traditional performers to share innovative ideas on how to actually build a system of systems that could provide squads with real-time, trusted information in an enhanced, integrated manner, while operating in dynamic and complex environments."
The Squad X programme aims to ensure that dismounted infantry squads maintain their tactical advantage over potential adversaries by providing them with access to and control of mobile sensors, a three-dimensional common operating picture, and the ability to organically locate and identify friendly forces and threat locations in near real time.
Currently, the dismounted squads use varied technologies for data collection and sharing, but the inputs are often not well integrated, leaving soldiers without the same level of real-time situational awareness and support for decision-making that they get on aircraft, ships and in vehicles.
The deadline for paper submission is 4 August, and the shortlisted performers will have to conduct applied research and analysis to identify technology gaps, suggest technology solutions, develop proposed system architectures and help DARPA formulate future research plans.
Image: The Squad X programme aims to build an integrated system of systems to extend the shared awareness of dismounted infantry squads. Photo: courtesy of DARPA.