Wanted: special-ops battle suit with cooling, embedded computers, radios, and sensors

Posted by John Keller

MacDILL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla., 6 Sept. 2013. U.S. military researchers are asking industry for ideas on a futuristic uniform for Special Operations warfighters that involves agile air-conditioned armor with embedded computers, sensors, communications radios and antennas, signal processors, wearable displays, and health-monitoring systems.

Officials of U.S. Special Operations Command (SOCOM) at MacDill Air Force Base, Fla., issued a broad agency announcement (BAAST-13-TALOS) on Wednesday for technologies for a tactical assault light operator suit (TALOS) for Special Operations forces.

The goal is to integrate technologies from research projects focused on far-ridgeline capabilities into a battle suit to protect future Special Operations warfighters. Key issues involve technology tradeoffs between size, weight, protection, power, mobility, cost, and systems integration.

Among the technologies Special Operations Command officials are interested in most are advanced armor to protect warfighters from bullets, shrapnel, and other battlefield threats, while preserving their mobility. The suit also may involve powered or unpowered robotic exoskeletons to improve warfighter performance and endurance, while enabling the warfighter to operate silently and unseen.

Also of interest are embedded, conformal, or wearable computers, radios, antennas, and displays for situational awareness, to display the positions of nearby enemy and friendly forces, as well as for enhanced decision making.

These future battle suits also should provide small and lightweight power generation and storage, including power scavenging, renewable energy, power distribution and management. The suits also should be air-conditioned and heated, as necessary for the operating environment.

Special Operations Command officials also want a battle suit with technology to manage heat to reduce the warfighter's metabolic rate and prolong endurance. TALOS suits also should have embedded health monitoring, oxygen systems, wound stasis, and electromechanical compensation to monitor and aid injured warfighters.

This solicitation will be open for one year, closing on 3 Sept. 2014, and initial white-paper proposals will be evaluated quarterly. Those submitting the most promising white papers will be asked to submit formal proposals within one month of white paper acceptance.

Companies interested should submit white papers online at www.socom.mil/sordac/Pages/BAAST-13-TALOS.

For questions or concerns contact Peter Coffey by email at peter.coffey@socom.mil, or by phone at 813-826-7515. Also contact Geneva Emiliani by email at geneva.emiliani@socom.mil, or by phone at 813-826-6959.

More information is online at https://www.fbo.gov/spg/ODA/USSOCOM/SOAL-KB/BAAST-13-TALOS/listing.html.

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