Modern military engagements increasingly take place in complex and uncertain battlefield conditions where attacks can come from multiple directions at once, and in the electromagnetic spectrum and cyber domains as well. U.S. Army and U.S. Marine Corps dismounted infantry squads, however, have been unable to take full advantage of some highly effective multi-domain defensive and offensive capabilities that vehicle-assigned forces currently enjoy—in large part because many of the relevant technologies are too heavy and cumbersome for individual Soldiers and Marines to carry or too difficult to use under demanding field conditions.
To help overcome these challenges and help ensure U.S. squad dominance over adversaries in the decades to come, DARPA has launched the Squad X Experimentation (Squad X) program. Squad X seeks to design, develop and validate system prototypes for combined-arms squads. The program intends to lay the foundation for breakthrough technologies and capabilities that would:
- Improve shared situational understanding of the multi-domain operational environment: physical, electromagnetic and cyber
- Increase the time and space in which squads can maneuver through optimized use of physical, cognitive and material resources
- Shape and dominate the battlespace through synchronization of fire and maneuvering in all three domains
“Through Squad X, we want to vastly improve dismounted squad effectiveness in all domains by integrating new and existing technologies into systems that squads can bring with them,” said Maj. Christopher Orlowski, DARPA program manager. “The squad is the formation with the greatest potential for impact and innovation, while having the lowest barrier to entry for experimentation and system development. The lessons we learn and the technology we create could not only transform dismounted squads’ capabilities, but also eventually help all warfighters more intuitively understand and control their complex mission environments.”
Squad X intends to combine off-the-shelf technologies and new capabilities under development through DARPA’s Squad X Core Technologies (SXCT) program, which was launched specifically to develop novel technologies that Squad X could integrate into user-friendly systems. SXCT shares Squad X’s overarching goal of ensuring that Soldiers and Marines maintain uncontested tactical superiority over potential adversaries by exploring capabilities in four areas: precision engagement, non-kinetic engagement, squad sensing and squad autonomy. In an important step toward that goal, SXCT recently awarded Phase 1 contracts to nine organizations.
The U.S. Army, U.S. Navy and U.S. Marine Corps have expressed interest in future Squad X capabilities and plan to support the experimentation efforts with testing in simulated operational environments as the program progresses.
To familiarize potential participants with the technical objectives of Squad X, DARPA has scheduled Squad X Information Days and a Proposers Day in advance of a planned Broad Agency Announcement (BAA). The Information Days will be held on Tuesday and Wednesday, March 29 and 30, 2016, and the Proposers Day will be held on Friday, April 22, 2016. All events will take place at the DARPA Conference Center in Arlington, Va., from 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM Eastern.
The Special Notice announcing the events is available at http://go.usa.gov/cGfrm. Advance registration is required for all events through the registration website: http://ow.ly/ZduQo. Registration opens on Tuesday, March 15, 2016, at 11:00 AM Eastern and closes Thursday, March 24, 2016, at 3:00 PM Eastern or when capacity is reached, whichever comes first. There is no fee for registration. Due to space limitations of the conference facility, attendance will be limited to the first 150 registrants for each event, and no more than two representatives per organization (parent company).
To maximize the pool of innovative proposal concepts, DARPA strongly encourages participation in these events by and subsequent submissions from non-traditional performers, including small businesses, academic and research institutions and first-time government contractors.
Filed Under: Aerospace + defense