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SOCOM Extends TALOS Technology Timeline Vision

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U.S. Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) representatives are extending their vision timelines for technologies to support its Tactical Assault Light Operator Suit (TALOS) program.

This effort is a follow-on to recent demonstrations and is “focused on longer-term solutions with a Technology Readiness Level (TRL) of 5 or less.”

In the aftermath of recent Science and Technology planning sessions and program experimentation/demonstrations, the command has released a new RFI “to solicit technology demonstration candidates from Research and Development (R&D) organizations, private industry, and academia for inclusion in future experimentation events” coordinated by USSOCOM.

According to the Sept. 12 announcement, USSOCOM is inviting “industry, academia, individuals, and government labs to submit revolutionary low [emphasis added] 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).”

It adds that that this effort is a follow-on to recent demonstrations and is “focused on longer-term solutions with a Technology Readiness Level (TRL) of 5 or less.”

Companies with longer-term TALOS technology solutions are invited to submit their own demonstration nominations, which will be reviewed by USSOCOM representatives. Subsequent to that review, the government “may invite select candidates to demonstrate their technologies or innovative developmental approaches at the USSOCOM sponsored S&T demonstration event.”

“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,” it states, identifying those technologies as including but not limited to:

  • 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.
  • Mobility/Agility: Enhancement platforms such as powered exoskeletons that improves/augments warfighter’s endurance and agility.
  • Situational Awareness (SA): Body worn and remote sensor integration, fusion, and display to enhance a warfighter’s understanding of the tactical environment.
  • Light/noise discipline
  • 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
  • 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
  • Power generation and management
  • Thermal management of suit occupant
  • Medical: Embedded monitoring, oxygen systems, wound stasis, electromechanical compensation

In addition, it adds that proposed solutions “should take into consideration ‘lightening the load’ of the operator, mentally and/or physically while providing maximum protection, agility, and tactical dominance.”

Demonstrations may be between an hour and half a day in duration and may be conducted in unimproved expeditionary-like conditions. The demonstrations will be conducted from Nov. 19-20, 2013, at or near MacDill Air Force Base, Fla.

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Scott Gourley is a former U.S. Army officer and the author of more than 1,500...