Military

DARPA’s Squad X Core Technologies program looks to create smarter, more aware infantry squads

DARPA’s Squad X Core Technolog...
The Squad X Core Technologies program is intended to give infantry squads a tactical edge (Image: DARPA)
The Squad X Core Technologies program is intended to give infantry squads a tactical edge (Image: DARPA)
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The Squad X Core Technologies program is intended to give infantry squads a tactical edge (Image: DARPA)
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The Squad X Core Technologies program is intended to give infantry squads a tactical edge (Image: DARPA)
An artist's concept of an SXCT-equipped squad (Image: DARPA)
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An artist's concept of an SXCT-equipped squad (Image: DARPA)

While ground vehicles, aircraft and ships have benefitted from numerous technological innovations over the years, not nearly as much has changed for foot soldiers. DARPA’s Squad X Core Technologies (SXCT) program, for which the agency is now seeking proposals, aims to tackle this by providing infantry squads with digitized, integrated technologies that improve their awareness, precision and influence.

Providing tactical superiority at small unit level isn’t the easiest of tasks. With ships, aircraft and ground vehicles, the form factor of new technologies is a lesser concern. But any new infantry hardware must balance its provision of enhanced functionality with the necessity of being lightweight and manageable so as not to negatively impact squad movement.

DARPA program manager Major Christopher Orlowski commented on the goals of the project, stating that, "SXCT aims to help dismounted infantry squads have deep awareness of what’s around them, detect threats from farther away and, when necessary, engage adversaries more quickly and precisely than ever before."

An artist's concept of an SXCT-equipped squad (Image: DARPA)
An artist's concept of an SXCT-equipped squad (Image: DARPA)

That’s quite a lofty goal, and one that the agency plans to tackle by focusing on a number of key technical areas. It will explore methods of better detecting and engaging threats at distances (up to 0.6 miles or 1 km), as well as improving squad members' real-time situational awareness in GPS-denied environments, helping them to pinpoint teammates' locations to within 20 ft (6 m).

It will also look at less direct methods of engagement, finding better ways of disrupting enemy communications, as well as making use of unmanned assets that move with the squad at walking pace. A concept image released by DARPA, which can be seen above, shows a quadruped robot that bears more than a passing resemblance to one of Google-owned Boston Dynamics’ creations.

DARPA will hold a Proposers Day on February 27, where up to 150 registrants will pitch their ideas. The agency is not just looking for established companies to get involved, but is also encouraging small businesses, as well as academic and research institutes to apply in an effort to maximize the scope of proposals.

Source: DARPA

3 comments
ezeflyer
It would help global society if DARPA's improvement on how to kill people was turned into helpful ways to improve society as a whole.
WatchingWithWonder
It would help global society if the world's primary advocate for personal liberty (yes, the USA) retains its ability to field credible protection in the face of ever-advancing threats determined to see the destruction of both us and personal liberty.
Frank Moores
Yeah, it looks like Boston's Mule. The troops look like Lucas' Storm Troopers too! Never forget, the artist's concept is always based on what has been seen by the artist before. I have faith in the American Military Industrial Complex to make the end product far sleeker and scarier than the artist can.