DARPA eyes sensors, communications, and data processing technology for the infantry squad

ARLINGTON, Va., 30 April 2013. U.S. government researchers are asking industry for ideas on providing digital technology to infantry squads to enhance the ability of these small warfighter groups for situational awareness, networked communications, and data sharing. An infantry squad is part of a platoon, and involves nine to 13 warfighters.

The U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) in Arlington, Va., has issued a request for information (DARPA-SN-13-34) for the Digitizing SQUAD X: Sensing, Communications, Mission Command, and Soldier-Worn Backbone program.

Infantry squads are vulnerable to surprise, DARPA officials say. Digitizing the squad involves digitizing the soldier, sensing the environment, and sharing information among squad members.

DARPA scientists are interested in soldier-worn sensors that measure soldier physiological data, operational status, and location, as well as the ability for cooperative gathering, fusing, and processing of multi-source sensor data by squad members and unmanned systems to build a 3-D world model of the squad's area of operation.

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Squad members would share this information through a secure communications network that interfaces with the soldiers intuitively. Size, weight, and power (SWAP) are primary concerns.

DARPA scientists particularly are interested in sensing technologies for soldier health, operational status, and location; non-optical remote sensing involving sound, smell, and radar; sensors to enable the squad to gather line-of-sight situational awareness; communications to enable squad members to generate and distribute information; and sensor and data processing to create actionable tactical information.

Companies interested should email descriptions technologies, systems, or components to help the infantry squad to no later than 22 May 2013. Email questions or concerns to the same address.

The program manager of Digitizing SQUAD X: Sensing, Communications, Mission Command, and Soldier-Worn Backbone is Lt. Col. Joseph Hitt. More information is online at

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