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World’s Largest Distributed Special Ops Magazine

Chess Master Maj. Gen. Mark Clark Commander U.S. Marine Corps Forces Special Operations Command

EO/IR O Radar & Sensor Systems Sniper Rifles O Civil Affairs O Situational Awareness

September 2013 Volume 11, Issue 8

Š 2013 Lockheed Martin Corporation Image courtesy of the U.S. Air Force. No endorsement expressed or implied.

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Special Operations Technology Features

September 2013 Volume 11, Issue 8

Cover / Q&A



When you know what the enemy can and cannot do to influence your operations, chances of combat success increase dramatically. The lack of situational awareness can lead to serious consequences for individual operators, reducing the chances of mission success for the team. By Jeff Campbell

When operators enter the field, there are essentials they just can’t leave home without. We examine the must-haves for SOF snipers, whether for an exercise or the real thing. By Marc Selinger

Situational Awareness

Sniper Rifles

16 Major General Mark Clark Commander U.S. Marine Corps Forces Special Operations Command




These systems help operators determine the range, altitude, direction and speed of objects. Often, radar and sensor systems work in tandem to identify approaching hostile forces. Once all the variables in an enemy’s location become known factors, the team can lay out a plan to intercept. By Jeff Campbell

Electro-optical and infrared (EO/IR) sensors, both passive and active, help operators detect, identify and geo-locate air, sea-surface and ground targets. EO/IR technologies are evolving to the point of giving SOF operators a wide range of new capabilities to discern and engage targets effectively at longer distances—and even behind walls and other barriers. We examine the latest advances in EO/IR technology. By Scott Nance

Role players fill big shoes in realistic training for civil affairs personnel. Some have been there and done that, some are still doing it, and their first-hand experience is crucial to teams knowing what they are in for downrange. We take a look at recent Fort Bragg, N.C.based civil affairs team training, and visit a site in the General Yarborough Complex that will be the new homoe for the 95th Civil Affairs Brigade (Airborne). By Jerry Green

Detection Systems Unite!

Departments 2 Editor’s Perspective 4 Whispers 5 People 14 BLack WAtch 27 Resource Center

EO/IR Evolution

Civil Affairs Training

Industry Interview Bob Gamache, Ph.D

Director, Special Mission Systems Northrop Grumman


“The MARSOC Marine needs to be comfortable working on every chessboard in any environment. What they say and what they do has strategic impact, and they know that.” —Maj. Gen. Mark Clark


Special Operations Technology Volume 11, Issue 8 • September 2013

World’s Largest Distributed Special Ops Magazine Editorial Editor Jeff Campbell Managing Editor Harrison Donnelly Online Editorial Manager Laura Davis Copy Editor Sean Carmichael Correspondents Peter Buxbaum • Henry Canaday • Jeff Goldman Hank Hogan • William Murray • Scott Nance Marc Selinger • Leslie Shaver

Art & Design Art Director Jennifer Owers Senior Graphic Designer Jittima Saiwongnuan Graphic Designers Scott Morris Eden Papineau Amanda Paquette Kailey Waring

Advertising Account Executive Philippe Maman

KMI Media Group Chief Executive Officer Jack Kerrigan Chief Financial Officer Constance Kerrigan Executive Vice President David Leaf Editor-In-Chief Jeff McKaughan Controller Gigi Castro Trade Show Coordinator Holly Foster

During a joint light tactical vehicle ( JLTV) update webinar hosted by the National Defense Industrial Association, JLTV Project Manager Colonel John R. Cavedo Jr., USA, answered the question, “Why do we need the JLTV program; more importantly, why do we need it now?” Cavedo reviewed how the nation has moved from an era of “front lines” and “rear areas” to an era of persistent, full-spectrum conflict. He pointed out that the MRAP has saved lives, but the Army lost mobility in that vehicle. With the HMMWV, payload was lost. It is the JLTV that will re-forge the golden triangle, an ideal balance of performance, payload and protection. The Army has learned that survivability is not just about protecting troops from a kinetic Jeff Campbell Editor blast, but it can be expeditionary, allowing operators to go into areas where the threat may not be at a particular time. To move the program forward as quickly as possible, PEO JLTV is following SOCOM’s lead, looking to be more agile. Becoming more modular over the past decade has enabled the operational force to adapt more quickly. To do that with the acquisition piece is incredibly difficult. “We are challenging the status quo,” Cavedo said. “For example, just taking three vendors into the engineering, manufacturing and development phase is not normally done. It forces the competitive environment and keeps people honest.” Another way the program has become more agile is by moving from a cost-plus contract to a firm-fixed price environment. This keeps the project affordable and keeps unit price down. While the PEO intends to set production prices during the selection process, the office is allowing tradable requirements. “We are not so locked into having set requirements, so we don’t have to go back to the starting blocks,” Cavedo said. “Allowing our vendors to be innovative is another thing we are doing to be more agile.” In this issue of SOTECH, we learn from MARSOC Commander Major General Mark Clark why “today will be different,” and take a close look at the vital role situational awareness plays for SOF teams.

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The iCommand™ Suite and Shadow ® TUAS Multi-Mission Payloads AAI Unmanned Aircraft Systems delivers the flexibility to answer rapidly evolving threats. The iCommand suite includes the iCommand Table for real-time mission management*, iCommand Mobile for dismounted troops and iCommand Cloud Services framework for synchronization to the last tactical mile. Together, the iCommand suite enables immediate situational awareness, dynamic collaboration and mission planning. The renowned Shadow Tactical Unmanned Aircraft System (TUAS) has been enhanced with Multi-Mission Payload capability. Each modular “pod” equips the aircraft for a new mission, from signals intelligence to communications relay and chem/bio detection. AAI’s FASTCOM Multi-Mission Payload facilitates a secure communications network for commercial smartphone data and voice connectivity in the most austere locations. TM

Connect with information, assets and people – shape your integrated environment. © 2013 AAI Corporation. All rights reserved. AAI Unmanned Aircraft Systems is an operating unit of Textron Systems, a Textron Inc. (NYSE: TXT) company. iCommand and FASTCOM are trademarks and Shadow is a registered trademark of AAI Corporation. AAI and design is a registered trademark of AAI Corporation. *iCommand Table leverages the REPLAY visualization framework, a commercial and government framework maintained by the U.S. Army Communications-Electronics Research, Development and Engineering Center (CERDEC), located at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md., and developed by RingTail Design of Austin, Texas.

WHISPERS $20 Solution Solves $14K Problem T-38C Talon pilots and maintainers with the 12th Flying Training Wing will begin using newly-developed, multifunction display (MFD) covers this month. The covers are expected to save the wing $182,000 a year in broken MFDs, at the cost of only $3,600—just a little more than a quarter of the price for a single repaired MFD. When the 12th Maintenance Directorate replaced 13 multifunction displays to the tune of $14,000 a piece last year, they knew there had to be a way to prevent the damage. Through collaboration, maintainers and pilots determined the MFDs were usually damaged by ankle restraints in the new ejection seats contacting the display’s glass during pre- and post flight operations. Since the installation of the new ejection seats across the T-38C fleet is only 80 percent complete, the number of damaged MFDs was expected to climb even higher. To solve the problem, T-38C maintainers and the 12th Operations Support Squadron’s aircrew flight equipment (AFE) survival office locally designed, manufactured and

tested protective covers for the glass screen on the MFDs for use while the aircraft is on the ground. Ross Mills, the T-38 production supervisor, came up with the idea for the covers. “We used to use metal covers to protect displays while a T-38 was in for phase and heavy maintenance,” Mills said. “Metal wasn’t going to work for daily use, so I knew we had to use fabric. We went through four different designs before we found one that worked best.” The covers are sewn together by a team of three AFE survival technicians working as an assembly line, using industrial foam and the same fabric used for convertible car tops.

“The fabric was selected because of its durability,” said John Pintirsch, an AFE survival supervisor. “It will fade less in the sun and it won’t stretch out with repeated daily use.” From start to finish each cover takes about 45 minutes and less than $20, including labor and materials, to make. The team is nearing the completion of 180 covers—one for each of the two screens in the 90 T-38s assigned to the 12th FTW. The covers protect the glass MFD screens from the ankle restraints on the new ejection seats as well as all hazards during ground operations. They are taken off during the flight and look similar to a cover for a computer tablet. In addition to helping the wing avoid future repair costs, the covers will help keep the flying training timeline in the green. “Every time an MFD’s glass is broken, that’s one less jet we have for flying operations,” Mills said. “It takes an hour to replace if we have a screen on hand; if we don’t, it could be up to two days to get a replacement MFD installed and the jet back on the line.” By Bekah Clark, 12th Flying Training Wing

Iron Man Suit? SOCOM has a long-term goal to develop technologies to meet special operations forces (SOF) mission requirements. The tactical assault light operator suit is a vision to integrate science and technology projects focused on far ridgeline capabilities into an integrated suit that better protects the SOF warfighter. The intent is to accelerate the delivery of these innovative capabilities to the warfighter. Prior studies and analysis have determined a number of technical challenges exist for the SOF equipment that require improvements for missions into the future. Those challenges are trade space between weight, protection, power and mobility; cost; and system component integration. To this end, SOCOM has issued a broad agency announcement to technologies and capabilities that can be integrated into the program.

4 | SOTECH 11.8

Technologies may include, but are not limited to: • • •

• •

Advanced armor: Materials to support next generation ballistic protection. Mobility/agility: Enhancement platforms such as powered/unpowered exoskeletons. Situational awareness: Technology that promotes timely, relevant and accurate assessment of friendly, enemy and other operations within the battlespace in order to facilitate decision-making. Light/noise discipline: Technology that aids in concealment from the observation of the enemy. Command, control, communications and computers: Technology supporting conformable and wearable antennae and wearable computers.

Individual soldier combat-ready displays: Technology supporting information display, and potentially utilization of cognitive thoughts and the surrounding environment to display personalized information. Power generation and management: Technology includes soldier power generation systems, power scavenging, renewable energy, power distribution, power management, and power storage solutions that are lightweight and soldier portable/wearable. Thermal management of suit occupant: Technology to manage heat to reduce the soldiers’ metabolic rate and prolong endurance. Medical: Embedded monitoring, oxygen systems, wound stasis, electromechanical compensation.

Compiled by KMI Media Group staff

Congressional Visits to Cannon On August 14, Senator Tom Udall, D-N.M., and New Mexico Congressman Ben Lujan met with 27th Special Operations Wing leadership. During their visit to the base, they met with and received a mission brief from Colonel Tony Bauernfeind, 27 SOW commander, and observed various ongoing construction projects from the vantage point of the control tower with Lieutenant Colonel Anthony Figiera, 27th Special Operations Civil Engineer Squadron commander. The congressional visit to Cannon allowed them to gain a better understanding of current 27 SOW mission operations.

745th Special Operations Squadron Deactivation On August 23, the 745th Special Operations Squadron was deactivated during a ceremony at the Soundside Club. Lieutenant Colonel Rick Seymour, 745th SOS commander, presided over the ceremony with more than 200 airmen and guests in attendance. The squadron originally stood up in 2007 with the mission to organize, train, equip and deploy RC-26B aircrew members in direct support of U.S. Special Operations Command objectives. “Initially, the 745th SOS was developed to solve a short-term, one-year capability gap,” Seymour said. “However, that temporary mission eventually turned into a six-year commitment, which is now coming to an end.” During its history, more than 1,000 outstanding Air National Guard citizen soldiers nationwide have either volunteered or deployed with this elite squadron. The accomplishments of these quiet

professionals are unprecedented. “The 745th SOS is one of the most highly decorated squadrons with more than 1,500 combat citations awarded,” Seymour said. “We were also awarded the Air Force Outstanding Unit Award on three different occasions.” With just four aircraft, these guardsmen enabled more than 10,000 combat sorties totaling approximately 46,000 combat flying hours during Operations Iraqi Freedom, New Dawn and Enduring Freedom. The squadron’s combat operations were specifically applauded by retired Army General Stanley McChrystal, who served his last assignment on active duty as the International Security Assistance Force commander in Afghanistan. McChrystal said the 745th SOS is “accomplishing extraordinary work, a key component whose impact is immeasurable.”

PEOPLE In what is a rare opportunity in the Army to command a company as a Chief Warrant Officer 5, Army Chief Warrant Officer 5 Curtis P. Adams replaced Army Chief Warrant Officer 5 Thomas G. Travis as commander of the U.S. Army Special Operations Command Flight Company at Simmons Army Airfield, on Fort Bragg, N.C.

Ground Mobility Vehicle SOCOM has awarded General Dynamics Ordnance and Tactical Systems of St. Petersburg, Fla., an indefinite delivery/indefinite quantity contract with firm-fixed-price, cost-plus-fixed-fee and cost-deliveryorders (or any combination of those) contract with a total ceiling of $562,210,980 for the purchase of ground mobility vehicles 1.1 (GMV 1.1). The GMV 1.1 is a mobile, C/ MH-47-transportable platform with associated manuals, spare parts, mechanical/operator training and a C4ISR suite non-developmental item with special operations forces-peculiar modifications.

Compiled by KMI Media Group staff

The 75th Ranger Regiment bid farewell to Colonel Mark W. Odom and welcomed its new commander, Colonel Christopher S. Vanek, at the National Infantry Museum. The soldiers of 5th Special Forces Group (Airborne), also known as the Legion, welcomed new commander Colonel John Brennan, who assumed

command from Colonel Scott Brower at Fort Campbell, Ky. One of the toughest courses a soldier can volunteer to attend in the U.S. Army Ranger School at Fort Benning, Ga., where Ranger-candidates are tested physically, mentally and emotionally over more than 60 days. Sgt. 1st Class Kenne P. Hanson, a 1st Battalion, 310th Infantry

Regiment, 181st Infantry Brigade Division West trainer/mentor, earned his Ranger tab and was also named the distinguished honor graduate of class 06-13. Hanson continues to mentor fellow soldiers; he is developing a pre-Ranger program of instruction to pass on his knowledge of the course to help future First Army soldiers prepare.

SOTECH  11.8 | 5

Radar and sensor systems team to establish defensive positions and secure assets. By Jeff Campbell SOTECH Editor

Like operators with different roles working together to complete a mission, threat detection systems—whether radar or sensor based— team up to identify hostile forces approaching. The U.S. Army’s Future Combat Systems (FCS) Program procured one complete unattended ground sensor (UGS) system from Textron Defense Systems (TDS) for test and evaluation at Fort Bliss, Texas. TDS designed the tactical-UGS (T-UGS) and urban-UGS (U-UGS) for the FCS requirement later called brigade combat team modernization (BCTM), according to Patti Shaffner Jordan, director of business capture for TDS. “Feedback was positive for T-UGS with respect to its capability to detect, track and classify a variety of light to heavy tactical and combat tracked and wheeled vehicles,” Shaffner Jordan said. “U-UGS also received favorable comments for use in monitoring and securing cleared structures, caves and tunnels.” While the Army did not proceed with deployment once the FCS Program was canceled in the summer of 2009, TDS pressed on. The company has been designing munitions with integrated sensors for more than 30 years, including the U.S. Air Force sensor fuzed weapon and the Army’s advanced wide area munition. Both systems use a variety of sensor information to detect, track, classify and then engage heavy armor targets. “This experience with sensors enabled Textron Defense Systems to bid and win the FCS unattended ground sensor programs,” Shaffner Jordan said. “The T-UGS sensors can detect, track and classify a broad range of ground and air targets to distances of tactical interest with acoustic and seismic modalities.” Since the U-UGS sensor was very specific to the BCTM program for securing cleared buildings, once the program was canceled 6 | SOTECH 11.8

Textron instead focused on evolving its baseline UGS system, the MicroObserver USG system. “This next-generation UGS system delivers actionable intelligence combined with long mission life, covertness, ease of use and a very low false alarm rate,” Shaffner Jordan said. “The system has two mission life options: sensor nodes with a more than two-year mission life—ideal for border, base or long term perimeter security; and sensor nodes with a 30-day battery life for tactical operations.” TDS developed the low-power, lightweight, compact sensor nodes with end-user feedback in mind, including lessons learned during OEF. “Keeping in mind the harsh environmental conditions in theater, we also made MicroObserver able to dynamically adapt to changes in the environment, such as evolving weather conditions, which enables the system to be used across a wide range of terrain and environments,” Shaffner Jordan said. SOCOM put the system to the test at the command’s tactical network testbed exercise this past spring. “This included using MicroObserver sensor detections to cue Textron Defense Systems’ BattleHawk squad-level loitering munition,” Shaffner Jordan said. “The system also has been successfully integrated with ISR assets including unmanned aerial vehicles.”

Perimeter Cover in Minutes For a small SOF team, TDS said the MicroObserver UGS system’s ease of use allows operators to deploy it quickly and under the cover of darkness, increasing the potential mission options. “With long communications distances, our gateway can be up to 10 kilometers

SOTECH_Real_Heavyweight:Layout 1

away from the sensor field, with additional equipment options for backhauling data another 25 kilometers or even hundreds of kilometers away using satellite communications,” Shaffner Jordan said. “The extreme covertness of the sensor nodes ensures that the equipment is not easily located.” The sensor nodes can hide up to 1 centimeter below the surface and still detect people up to 100 meters away and vehicles up to 300 meters. In theory, the MicroObserver UGS can support up to 2,000 sensors, but TDS recommends using several hundred nodes per sensor field. “Deployment time is dependent on the number of sensors, but with a one-step operation to turn on the sensor nodes, the fielding of each sensor can be done in a matter of minutes,” Shaffner Jordan said, pointing out that a SOF team could set up and deploy a system of 20 nodes in less than 45 minutes. The MicroObserver UGS system has two options for both shortand long-term missions, and TDS designed both sensor types without any external cables or antennas. “The shorter mission life nodes weigh only 1.4 pounds with batteries and can easily be carried in a rucksack,” Shaffner Jordan said. “This not only adds to the covertness of the system but contributes to its ease of use and transport, especially for very remote deployments.” While the enemy can’t find the sensor, it spots threats more effectively now with enhanced detection, classification and tracking of people and vehicles with the use of optional infrared (IR) imaging sensors. “SOF teams, focused on counterterrorism missions for instance, would benefit from the remote intelligence gathering afforded by the system when equipped with the IR cameras, providing the user with additional intelligence and target confirmation,” Shaffner Jordan said. “Identification of targets is possible with these imaging sensors that utilize proven target detection algorithms and multiple real-time image capture that appears as a mini-video.”

Securing the Perimeter To monitor a large area from above, Thales offers its I-Master radar, which incorporates a ground moving target indicator (GMTI) and synthetic aperture radar (SAR). With the I-Master, a small SOF team would have the ability to detect enemy forces in remote areas. “I-Master plays a vital role in detecting movement on the ground, so that other sensors or assets can be focused to that area to provide high fidelity identification,” said Mike Green, I-Master product manager. “This avoids arduous and risky foot-based searches, and allows the commander to efficiently deploy resources where and when they are needed.” If a team wanted to monitor a remote facility, I-Master fitted to a UAV could be tasked to continuously monitor the area to discover patterns of personnel or hostile activity in the area. Then, the radar would cross-cue an EO/IR sensor to provide detailed situational awareness data, collect video and radar evidence, and notify the team on the ground to take action. “The range of I-Master allows the surveillance to take place at range and thereby reduce the possibility of counter-detection,” Green said. “Using datalinks, the information can be transmitted in near real-time to the ground units.” The system can perform both long range, stand-off surveillance and short range, detailed surveillance. Long range provides more ground movement detection across a wide area, and short range delivers photo-like radar imagery. “The length of time that the sensor can be used is only constrained by the endurance of the host platform,” Green said. “Twenty-four/seven surveillance of a small area using


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SOTECH  11.8 | 7

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improves the detection/classification range of the sensors against personnel targets,” Lisowski said. That algorithm searches for vibrations specific to human walking in seismic data to detect and classify personnel, according to Thomas J. Sereno Jr., Ph.D., vice president and division manager, sensors and phenomenology operation at SAIC. “There are many details in this detector, including signal conditioning, frequency filtering, signal durations and others, which distinguish it from detection algorithms in other systems,” Sereno said. With more than a decade of experience in personnel and vehicle detection, SAIC’s data fusion algorithms have demonstrated up to 1,000 times fewer false alarms than conventional systems in operationally relevant environments. “SAIC’s algorithm has been demonstrated to achieve significantly greater detection range (over 20 percent) than legacy systems in a wide variety of geologic and clutter environments.” The sensors and phenomenology team works to deliver high-confidence personnel detection for signals at or very near the noise threshold for the Speedy Sensing environment. “In favorable environments, the SAIC algorithm has demonstrated high probability of detecThe Army fielded the first battlefield anti-instruction of personnel at ranges greater than 100 meters,” tion system (BAIS) equipment, the AN/PRS-9, in the Sereno said. “However, the detection range of any spring of 2006. “BAIS systems were prioritized and seismic sensor depends on the environment, including scheduled for fielding to different units throughout background noise, clutter and local geology.” Army and SOF by Army G-8,” said Bob Lisowski, As detection ranges increase, so do the benefits to L-3 Communications vice president for secure space SOF teams, including increased standoff from threats, and sensor systems. The latest version, BAIS-i, is Bob Lisowski and a more effective defensive perimeter with fewer interoperable with legacy unattended ground sensor sensors. “It also provides earlier warning of intruders, (UGS) systems, and includes a set of small, disposand enables a wider variety of emplacement options, able seismic sensors with two-way radios that can be including more opportunity for sensor concealment,” used individually or in combination to provide early Sereno said. warning of intrusion detection. “The specification, Through a little math and ingenuity, these detecdeveloped by the Army, required a system capable of tion systems do a lot of good. Mortar fire directed at detecting and classifying a person intruding along a American forwarding operating bases in Afghanistan minimum linear dimension of 450 meters, while at hasn’t been uncommon, but in one case it gave a the same time weighing no more than 15.5 pounds,” base commander particular concern and the BAIS an Lisowski said. “L-3’s BAIS met the detection and clasopportunity to show how versatile it could be. “The sification requirement with three sensors and the incoming fire at this post was obscured by terrain handheld monitor while achieving a system weight of Thomas J. Sereno Jr. from ground radars and tower-mounted cameras. The 11.5 pounds.” soldiers placed BAIS in areas around the operating Just one could give a SOF operator advance notice base in the blind spots of other sensors,” Lisowski said. “Within days of a threat at the door, but each sensor can be wirelessly programmed of the installation, the insurgents who were menacing the base were with a different ID code, and spread out to provide detection around detected and destroyed, saving lives and equipment from further a very large area. “Depending on the mission and the situation, up to attack.” 255 sensors could be deployed and monitored from a single handheld With the updated BAIS-i, the L-3 team continued down the device,” Lisowski said. “The radio frequencies are programmable, so “smaller and lighter” path, focused on soldier safety. “Soldiers need a IDs can be reused and assigned based on one of 599 frequencies that reliable device that can be deployed and concealed very quickly, since can be programmed.” operations take place often under threat of physical harm,” Lisowski The distance between sensor placement is relative to the type of said, noting another consideration is ease of use. “Soldiers are tasked target an operator needs the system to detect and classify, whether to do more, process more data, and make real-time decisions; we are a person, wheeled vehicles or tracked vehicles. “The sensitivity of focused on making our products as easy to use as possible.” L-3 also the detectors is a programmable feature, so the maximum detection worked to achieve an affordable price point so commanders have the ranges for persons and vehicles can be reduced,” Lisowski said. “The option of considering the sensor expendable. O detection and classification range of our BAIS sensors are unique— we are unaware of other UGS products which perform to the levels of our product.” The BAIS-i uses field-proven detection and classification algoFor more information, contact SOTECH Editor Jeff Campbell at or search our online archives rithms, but L-3 works with industry partners to continually innovate. for related stories at “We’ve tested a new algorithm developed by SAIC which actually high-definition imagery and MTI can be achieved covertly over weeks or months to provide a trigger for SOF operations, as easily as wide area surveillance over a long period, such as monitoring a porous border.” The Thales team keyed in on lessons learned during OEF to aid in urban engagements of the future, chief among them that the insurgent will often have the tactical advantage due to a higher degree of understanding the local environment. However, they depend heavily on rural and exposed areas for supply of materiel and require freedom to maneuver in those areas. “I-Master helps to provide a higher level of understanding in all areas by long-term surveillance, but its main benefit is that the enemy will not be able to utilize their lines of communication outside rural areas without being detected and intercepted by small efficient teams,” Green said. “This brings an efficiency that can’t be achieved without wide area surveillance and gives the International Security Assistance Force the tactical advantage.”

8 | SOTECH 11.8

The latest in EO/IR tech for special operations forces. By Scott Nance, SOTECH Correspondent

Once simply covert “night-vision” systems dating back to the Vietnam War, electro-optical and infrared (EO/IR) technologies are evolving to the point of giving warfighters, and particularly special operators, a wide range of new capabilities to discern and engage targets effectively at longer distances—and even behind walls and other barriers. “Now you have evolved this EO technology to the present, where it is attaining more control over the night—and, really, more control over 24/7 operations for the [special forces] operator. It is absolutely a game-changer,” said Joseph Estrera, Ph.D., chief technology officer at L-3 Communications Infrared Products, a Dallas, Texas-based developer and manufacturer of thermal imaging and related equipment. The proliferation of thermal imaging and related systems over time is proving to be a blessing and a curse for U.S. forces, howJoseph Estrera ever. On one hand, the technology’s spread worldwide may well hasten

the day when the latest systems will be in the hands of U.S. special forces—but it also means potential adversaries may well likely possess some version of the same technology, developers and manufacturers said. Through its OASYS Technology subsidiary, BAE Systems is providing special forces with a variety of new systems which provide a “great enhancement in identification ranges; the image quality is certainly improved,” said Nic Peterson, principal engineer at Nashua, N.H.-based BAE Systems Electronic Systems. This includes the new-generation UTC-X Universal thermal imaging clip-on device, Peterson said. “I was using it recently, and we hit a 1,400-meter target,” he said. The UTC-X clips on to any weapon and uses a special operator’s day optic, he said. “That’s the benefit of a clip-on. You don’t have to take your day optic off, like you do with a thermal Nic Peterson weapon sight. You can now use your day optic, day or night,” he said. SOTECH  11.8 | 9

“All you do is you clip on any of our thermal sights from OASYS in front of your day optic.”

Discerning Target Intent

A lot of the work in EO/IR centers around making the devices “smaller, lighter, cheaper,” said James Dawson, senior principal engineer at Dynetics, a Huntsville, Ala.-based technology and engineering company. Thermal-imaging and infrared technologies today are licensed to a number of manufacturers, and “that competition is a big part of what makes the ‘cheaper’ part work,” he said.

The company has begun providing the gear to U.S. special forces, Peterson said, declining to elaborate. Meanwhile, through what was once the operation within Texas Instruments that invented forTech Falling Into the Wrong Hands? ward-looking infrared (FLIR) in the early 1960s, Raytheon is introducing the third generation of That means the technology has become more that technology. Raytheon acquired the operation readily available worldwide, and is “very commonfrom TI in 1997. place,” to the extent that it has begun to fall into The new systems will provide “longer-range some of the wrong hands, Dawson said. “Part of the performance, and also additional battlefield flexibilwork we do is not only help develop technology for Clay Towery ity under different environmental conditions,” said ‘blue suiters’—as we would call the U.S.—but we Clay Towery, business development manager of EO also track the developments of what would be poteninnovations for Raytheon Missile Systems. He leads tially available to an adversary,” he said. business development for the unit within Raytheon During Desert Storm, U.S. “superiority at night responsible for providing handheld gear for the was just unequalled” using thermal imaging because warfighter, including thermal weapon sights, therthe adversary had nothing, Dawson noted. “Well, mal binoculars and visual-enhancement systems. that’s not really true anymore. When you realize that FLIR technology has evolved to a point where the other guy has what you had 20 years ago—or users can not only identify targets, they now can even maybe even better—then you start thinking a discern observations such as target intent, accordlittle bit about how that affects the battle,” he said. ing to Ellen Houlihan, customer relationship execDynetics develops modeling tools used to demutive of combat and sensing systems at Raytheon onstrate the effective range of various EO/IR imagEllen Houlihan Missile Systems. ing technologies, including the ones likely to be used “Not only can you see an object, a person, [or] by potential opponents on the battlefield, Dawson a vehicle, but you can determine—if it is a persaid. son—if that person has a weapon, or that person “You can use the models to demonstrate that we has a shovel, or that person is checking under the can see this many kilometers, and they can see that hood of his vehicle because it has run out of gas, many kilometers. It is a two-sided battle,” he said. or perhaps is emplacing some explosive hardware,” The U.S. government allows various thershe said. mal, infrared and related technologies to be freely Raytheon also has performed experiments with exported worldwide, Dawson said. Exported products Special Operations Command (SOCOM) to demonmight not be as good as the state-of-the-art which strate the new capability of the fire control system U.S. forces employ, but “they still have capability,” James Dawson of the Mk 19 40 mm grenade launcher, which he said. “Those are decisions the government has “allows more flexibility … to engage targets that made in terms of how to allow some technologies to are hiding behind walls, berms and such,” said Towery. be sold as commercial products,” he added. Those tests with SOCOM were completed earlier this year Those export decisions are not always something special forces “with very good performance,” and Raytheon will continue to test and others in the military should fear, according to L3’s Estrera. the system, he added. Quite the opposite—sometimes wider export of some imaging systems and components could bring special operators better gear sooner, he said. Estrera cited the example of a goggle system which fuses into one system imaging in the visible and near-infrared with imaging in long-wave infrared. The fused system enables a user both to detect and recognize targets at very long distances, and identify the target so he can engage it properly, he said.

Digital vs. Analog

New thermal systems offered by Raytheon provide longer-range performance and additional battlefield flexibility. [Photo courtesy of Raytheon Company]

10 | SOTECH 11.8

However, the current fused system is an analog—not digital— device. “There’s nothing wrong with an analog system; it really does well,” Estrera said. “It can see lasers, it can see through smoke

with the IR, it can identify objects in a scene with the [imageintensifier]. There is a lot of power with what you have right now. It’s small, lightweight technology that can run on batteries for eight to 12 hours—in some instances, even longer.” However, because the system is an analog, direct-view one, the ability to share a goggle’s output through wireless networking “is not readily available right now,” said Estrera. The capability for networking the goggles would provide “all the good things that can happen in terms of sharing information between operators and such,” he said. Work is underway now to develop such a digital fused system, but they are still far from being fielded, because they consume too much power consumption or are too heavy, he said. “That exists, and it works, but we as an industry need to get that technology made even smaller so it can ultimately be equal to—or better than—size, weight, power and cost related to what we have now for the analog fused goggle system that exists,” Estrera said.

Chipping Away at Affordability Fielding such a digital system is still five to 10 years away, because even after the sensor technology is perfected, its cost has to come down dramatically to a point “that would allow the buyers to treat it like a cell phone,” Estrera said. “It’s like anything else. You chip away at that affordability over time. It’s not a year proposition; it’s a multi-year proposition,” he added.

And that, Estrera contended, is the upside to worldwide export of the components of the system because volume is required “to get the price of any article down.” “To do that, you need to have the defense article be able to be proliferated in multiple applications, such as commercial applications,” he said. The trade-off is between keeping the technology secure within the U.S. under export control, but then “in the same breath, for the same operators who want this equipment to be more affordable,” Estrera said. “I fully understand that you need to protect the technology against the global threats that are out there, and would put our SOCOM operators in harm’s way. I fully understand that. But, again, we have to balance the size, weight, power and cost needs,” he added. “I’d rather have this thing done in a year or less, but I think that’s the problem why I use this metric of five to 10 years, because you need to balance that against the ability of the industry to work with the governmental agencies on the exporting of these devices over time. By that balance, you can ultimately shave the cost down and get high volumes for the components of these devices to ultimately provide the SOCOM operator the smartphone cost in volume, with the high-performance defense article they expect.” O For more information, contact SOTECH Editor Jeff Campbell at or search our online archives for related stories at

SOTECH  11.8 | 11

Realistic training sets the stage for real-world scenarios to be played out and role-played. By Jerry Green

When the two-person civil affairs team entered the courthouse to conduct their meeting with a local leader and provincial judge, they were instead confronted by a less than friendly group from the local populace. Most of the group wore their everyday work clothes, but there was one local dressed in the manner resembling a position of authority. She introduced herself as the provisional governess for the village. The team announced that they were from the U.S. embassy, and had scheduled this meeting to discuss problems in their region and especially in their community. Immediately the group

of citizens started shouting at the team in what sounded like a mix of English and their native tongue, demanding action and assistance to solve their individual concerns. This was a realistic-training scenario conducted in rural Camden, N.C., by civil affairs teams based out of Fort Bragg, N.C. This very incident can occur at any given time while they are deployed to one of the 26 countries where civil affairs teams operate. The teams train for more than six months to prepare and exercise knowledge and skill sets applied to support their varied

Ground Broken for New Civil Affairs Digs A ground-breaking ceremony was held August 27, 2013, at a site located in the General Yarborough Complex that when completed will be the new home for the 95th Civil Affairs Brigade (Airborne). Colonel James S. Brown, commander, 95th Civil Affairs Brigade (Airborne), and Command Sergeant Major Tony L. Duncan took part in the ceremony. Joining them in the ground breaking was Colonel Laura Loftus, U.S. Army Special Operations Command, Deputy Chief of Staff, engineer; Colonel Steven Baker, Wilmington District commander; and David J Freitas, the project manager. “We will have a new home soon,” said Brown. “Currently, we have civil affairs teams deployed in 26 countries, and when this facility is completed it will be a place the teams will be proud to come home to.” The new complex will replace the brigade’s current home located on Gruber Road. The brigade moved into

12 | SOTECH 11.8

missions when dealing with local populace from the countries in which they operate. They will use their special skills to assist the embassy staff to find ways to provide avenues of stability to the local populace of the country they will work with. “This remote training exercise is the Super Bowl for these teams,” said Sergeant Major William M. Snyder II, 97th Civil Affairs Battalion operations NCO. “For six weeks, the teams have prepared for this exercise to finalize their training, and now they get to use their skills in as close to real situations as we can provide them.” The main challenge in setting up realistic training exercises is finding locations that closely resemble a region’s vulnerabilities, climate and social environment. When deployed, the civil affairs teams are a direct conduit to the embassy and other government agencies that are structured to address the concerns of the populace. They are trained to listen, identify problem areas and forward the information to agencies that can provide assistance. These exercises use role players to inject realistic situations to the civil affairs teams. The training in Camden had role players that added a new twist. They were individuals selected for the language skill sets having dialects of Khmer and Nepalese. This greatly enhanced the level of realism to the training. “I was able to demonstrate my role as an embassy ambassador,” said Michael Renshaw, Camden county manager. “I was able to calm down the confrontational situation by offering support to the populace, who themselves were role players, and allowing the civil affairs team to address the main concerns of the group. It was rewarding for me, but in the same way, afforded me the opportunity to be in the training situation with the team.” “I took the role of the provincial governess,” said Courtney S. Hull, an attorney at law from Elizabeth City, N.C. “I was the spokesperson, but when the other role players started shouting and making demands, for a while it was disconcerting, but then I realized my role was part of the training—it was actually fun.”

“This training and the interactive nature of language, realism and real situations is an invaluable venue to train our teams,” said Lieutenant Colonel Tom Matelski, commander, 97th Civil Affairs Battalion (Airborne). “It allows our soldiers to hone their skills, but also allows us to support local communities in North Carolina. In exchange for their time, the role players and local officials benefited in contributing to the defense of the nation.” The training the teams receive in these types of realistic mission training scenarios is designed to enable them to more effectively build relationships with the people in the locations where deployed. The teams identify the types of problems that make a populace vulnerable, either physically or emotionally. “We are continuing the focus from the previous Secretary of Defense through the support of the Communities Defense Initiatives,” said Matelski. “This initiative is focused on developing strong relationships with local communities [beyond local bases, stations and posts] that allowed the military to interact with the civilian community and maintain strong patriotic support for the military.” O Jerry Green is with 95th Civil Affairs Brigade public affairs.

For more information, contact SOTECH Editor Jeff Campbell at or search our online archives for related stories at

the renovated warehouse in late 2005 and quickly outgrew the allowable office space and building’s environmental capabilities. “When I saw the condition of the Gruber Road site, I knew it was time to get the 95th Brigade a new facility,” said Baker. “This will be a state-of-the-art complex that will meet the growing demands on this brigade.” The $16 million project is scheduled for completion in May 2015. The facility will be almost 61,000 square feet and will include the headquarters’ administrative offices, conference rooms and group operations center. Special construction includes sustainable construction features complying with Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design. There will be an access for persons with disabilities also. The 95th Civil Affairs Brigade (Airborne), comprised of five regional battalions, is responsible for training, equipping and deploying forces in 26 countries to conduct civil affairs operations.

SOTECH  11.8 | 13

BLACK WATCH More Hydra Rockets General Dynamics Armament and Technical Products General Dynamics Armament and Technical Products recently has been awarded a $67.5 million contract by the U.S. Army for the production of Hydra-70 air-to-ground rockets. Hydra rockets can be mounted on most helicopters and some fixed wing aircraft and employ a variety of warheads to meet a wide range of mission requirements for all branches of the U.S. military and select allies. The Army Contracting Command in Redstone Arsenal, Ala., awarded the contract. Deliveries under this order are expected to be completed by the end of 2015. This contract is a modification to a previously awarded contract and the cumulative value of General Dynamics’ Hydra rocket work is more than $1 billion. “General Dynamics has been the system integrator for the production of Hydra rockets since 1996,” said Steve Elgin, vice president and general manager of armament systems. “As a low-risk, high-quality supplier, we work closely with the Army to deliver a weapon that is affordable and reliable in action.”

Linguist and Translation Support World Wide Language Resources SOCOM has awarded a $257.2 million firm-fixed-price contract for linguist and translation support to World Wide Language Resources of Fayetteville, N.C. The work will be conducted in multiple locations in the United States and overseas. The term of the contract is five years (one-year base and four one-year options) with expected completion date of 60 months after date of contract, assuming all options are exercised.

Special Ops-Capable USS Minnesota Ready to Sail General Dynamics Electric Boat and Newport News Shipbuilding

The Navy recently commissioned its 10th Virginia-class attack submarine during a pierside ceremony at Naval Station Norfolk in Norfolk, Va. In February 2008, construction on Minnesota began in Newport News, Va., under a teaming arrangement between General Dynamics Electric Boat and Newport News Shipbuilding, a division of Huntington Ingalls Industries. The building team delivered the ship 11 months ahead of schedule in June. It achieved the highest readiness score of any Virginia-class submarine to date during an inspection by the Navy’s Board of Inspection and Survey. The leaders and sailors already assigned to Minnesota have excelled, said Rear Admiral Ken Perry, commander, Submarine Group 2. “Minnesota has done a superb job of readying the ship for service in the fleet as a commissioned warship,” said Perry. “[Commanding Officer] Captain John Fancher and his team have literally from stem to stern worked the combat systems, nuclear propulsion plant, logistics, and culinary service.” Perry is currently responsible for 25 Los Angeles-class and Virginia-class attack submarines in commission. Minnesota will be the 26th. “Administratively and operationally, the Minnesota is ready to join the fleet,” Perry said. The Virginia class is an improvement in capability for attack submarines. The fly-by-wire ship control system improves ship handling in shallow water. It also features a larger lock-in/lock-out chamber and a reconfigurable torpedo room that can better support special operations forces and their equipment. “There’s a very high demand signal on the attack submarine force from the combatant commanders. They require the key attributes of the attack submarines,” said Perry. “They need that speed, they need the agility, they need the stealth, they need the endurance, and when necessary they need the firepower.” By Lieutenant Timothy Hawkins, Submarine Group 2 Public Affairs

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Compiled by KMI Media Group staff

Broadcast Capability SOCOM is seeking sources to provide a radio broadcast system capable of searching for and acquiring every AM and FM radio station in a specific area and then broadcasting a message(s) in the target area on all acquired AM and FM radio station frequencies. SOCOM is contemplating a foreign comparative test (FCT) of a lightweight, multi-frequency, simultaneous over-broadcast system. Prior to initiating the FCT, SOCOM wishes to identify all firms (both foreign and domestic) which could provide a non-developmental lightweight, multi-frequency, simultaneous over-broadcast system that has demonstrated a Technology Readiness Level of 8 or higher.

Tactical Armored Patrol Vehicles Textron Systems Canada Inc. Textron Systems Canada Inc., a Textron Inc. company, has announced that Textron Marine & Land Systems (TM&LS) has completed and shipped four pre-production Canadian Forces tactical armored patrol vehicles (TAPVs) to locations in the United States and Canada for a series of testing and training activities. The Textron TAPV Team, led by Textron Systems Canada, was selected in June 2012 to manufacture 500 Canadian Forces TAPVs with options for up to 100 more. The TAPV contract, with options, has a value of $603.4 million CAD, with an additional five-year in-service support contract of $105.4 million CAD. In early July, the first pre-production vehicle (PPV) was sent to Aberdeen Test Center, a U.S. Army test facility in Maryland, for qualification testing, a process scheduled to take five months. The second PPV arrived at Rheinmetall Canada in Saint-Jean-surRichelieu, Quebec in mid-July. Rheinmetall completed land communication information system training with this vehicle, which was followed by electro-optical technical training performed by Kongsberg Protech Systems Canada and vehicle technician training by TM&LS. The third and fourth TAPV PPVs also are at Rheinmetall Canada, where vehicle

integration activities are taking place. Over the next several weeks, TM&LS is scheduled to finish work on two additional PPVs. At that point, five of the six PPVs will be sent to Canadian Forces Base Valcartier in Quebec for two weeks of operator and gunner operator training starting in late August. Immediately following, these pre-production TAPVs will begin reliability, availability, maintainability and durability (RAMD) testing at Valcartier. RAMD testing is expected to continue for eight months.

“Our pre-production vehicle assembly, testing and training is on schedule and moving us toward the start of full-rate production planned for January 2014,” said Neil Rutter, general manager of Textron Systems Canada. “We remain committed to working with our Department of National Defense customer and our partners here in Canada to build and support a fleet of TAPVs that provide Canadian soldiers with unmatched performance and protection for decades.”

SOTECH  11.8 | 15

Chess Master

Q& A

Every Day is Different, and Each Decision’s Outcome Has Strategic Impact Major General Mark Clark Commander U.S. Marine Corps Forces Special Operations Command Major General Mark “Droopy” Clark is a native of South Dakota and Minnesota. He is a 1980 graduate of South Dakota State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in commercial economics. He received his commission as a second lieutenant in June 1981 upon completion of officer candidate school. After completing the basic school, Clark was assigned to flight school and designated a naval aviator in May 1983. Follow on CH-53E training was conducted at HMT-204 at Marine Corps Air Station New River, N.C. Operational tours include assignment to HMH-464 as a CH-53E pilot, where he held the billets of adjutant, flight line officer, weapons and tactics instructor (WTI), assistant operations officer, and director of the weapons and tactics planning center (1983-90); HMH-461 as the squadron’s tactics department officer in charge and WTI (1990-91); and 2d air and naval gunfire liaison company as the 2d brigade platoon commander supporting the Army’s 82nd Airborne Division (1991-92). At the 20th Special Operations Squadron, Hurlburt Field, as the first MH-53J Pavelow Exchange pilot, he held the billets of director of the weapons and tactics department, flight commander and the assistant director of operations (1992-95). Follow-on assignments included HMH-461, operations officer (1996-97); HMM-264, operations officer (1997-98); MAG-26 operations officer (1998-99), and HMH-461 executive officer and commanding officer (1999-2001). Then, he served at Special Operations Command (Central) in Afghanistan with CJSOTF K-BAR as current operations officer and taken with Combined Joint Force Special Operations Command in Qatar as the Joint Operations Center Chief (2001-02, and later as commanding officer of VMMT-204 (2006-07). These assignments involved deployments to the Mediterranean, Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm, Haiti, Bosnia and Afghanistan. Other tours include: student at Army War College (2002-03); Center for Special Operations-J5 Plans and J35 Future Plans Division (2003-06); director, Strategy and Plans Division, Plans, Policies and Operations, Headquarters Marine Corps (200709); director of operations at United States Special Operations Command (2009-11), and chief of staff at United States Special Operations Command (2011-12). Clark was interviewed by SOTECH Editor Jeff Campbell. Q: MARSOC just launched a new website. How has the feedback been so far, and can you speak to the inspiration behind the recruiting motto, “Today will be different”? 16 | SOTECH 11.8

A: Since the launch of on July 16, we have a combined reach of over 90,000. We’ve received positive feedback from potential recruits regarding materials for download, including a 10-week prep guide intended to help recruits prepare for the uncertainties of MARSOC’s screening process. The website is targeted at providing direct support to recruiters in their efforts to attract highly qualified lance corporals and corporals to MARSOC, as well as positively affect strategic targets where developing an awareness of MARSOC and its critical missions will benefit the command. We really stress flattened communications in the command. That goes not just for the people within the organization—our families are a key piece of that. It is about being able to communicate with them, and also for them to communicate back to us. That aspect has been very helpful for us. You get a lot of useful information from the website, but there’s also that added benefit of people feeling like they have the ability to communicate directly with the command. I think this has brought it to a more personal level for our families and our Marines out there. The website, Facebook and other social media tools have allowed us to reach out to them and help them understand what we are about and what we do, and how they fit into that. “Today will be different” was developed based on a brand vision focused around the concept that MARSOC offers qualified Marines something different—whether it’s a different mission and environment,

a different team structure or a different opportunity. MARSOC is not right for everyone and should not cast a wide net. But it may be the right choice for Marines who are highly motivated, eager for challenges in ambiguous environments where the challenge for critical thinking is at a premium, excited by the unknown, and desire to take part in tactical actions that may have an impact at the strategic level. The brand vision complements overall Marine Corps principles and attributes, including professionalism, a dedication to excellence, and a close-knit Marine family. You can ask a lot of people about the phrase “today will be different,” and you may get different answers, but what it really gets down to is that the people who come to this organization come from a great background to begin with—being Marines and sailors. They want to take it to the next step of doing something different, taking on a new challenge. A lot of times you start out that day not knowing what that challenge is going to be, but you are confident that you and your team, your organization, will be able to take it head on and deal with it. I think it is quite a fitting phrase for us. Q: How well is the latest crop of graduates from Marine Special Operations School [MSOS] performing? A: MARSOC’s newly minted critical skills operators, special operations officers [SOOs], special operations capabilities specialists, and special operations combat services specialists are our SOF teams. The graduates of the individual training course continue to

exceed expectations around the globe. From combat operations in Afghanistan to multi-lateral, joint training in Australia, MARSOF multi-dimensional operators are setting the standards for generations of Marines to follow. The cadre and staff at the MSOS continue to meet the demands of the operational units and produce well trained SOF operators ready to join the ranks of their future teammates.  The current continuum of basic individual skills to advanced individual and unit training is working extremely well right now between the MSOS, the Marine Special Operations Regiment and our G-9 [Exercise Branch]. We will continue to assess the operational requirements for our  entry-level MARSOF operator, and as the world and the missions change MARSOC will remain agile and flexible  and adapt the training to meet those demands. They truly keep getting better and better. I think that has a lot to do with not just the quality of the operators that we get coming in, but with the process and the tools that we use to assess and select, and then to read and train them. When you keep seeing each group get better and better, then you know you are continuing to improve as an organization, rather than to remain stagnant, thinking “what was good last year is good this year.” I think our team has done a great job asking “what can we do better,” and also “what has changed in the world” that we need to now change our assessment or teaching process to make [Marines] better prepared for wherever they may deploy next. I’ve been very happy with that—the quality of instructors is unmatched.

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Q: Your career has taken you to many different locations, far removed from the heartland of South Dakota. Does MARSOC require Marines with unique adaptive qualities, who are able to exceed expectations in any environment? A: MARSOC Marines possess the inherent Marine Corps values and warrior ethos of all Marines. It is these values and ethos, combined with a belief in the SOF truths, an unconquerable spirit and resiliency, that define the MARSOC operator. We require Marines who are intelligent, dependable, able to work well within a team dynamic, and are physically strong.  We bring a lot of different skills to this organization, and I think we do a pretty good job of putting those different talents together that then allow our teams and companies—and sometimes one or two operators out there on their own—to be able to adapt to any environment. They had the skills to begin with; we just helped hone them to that level. In a lot of our training, the assessments that prepared them for this gave them situations where there was no right answer. They had to go in and do the best they could with what they were given. I think they do a very good job of adapting to the environment, the situation, often with little or no guidance. They are going to be out there in a small team, and yes we have communication systems, but there are going to be times when they are put in a situation where time dictates that they have to take action. Within the mission guidance that they’ve been given, they know their left and right lateral limits and they make the best

decision they can at the time—and usually it is a pretty darn good decision. MARSOC Marines need to be proficient in what we call the three chessboards. First, they have mastery of SOF skills and basic language equating to tactical actions focused on the enemy. Second, they have the ability to understand foreign culture and effectively map human terrain, equating to the operational ability to influence the local population. And third, they can effectively integrate all activities into their operations, which can produce strategic effects. The MARSOC Marine needs to be comfortable working on every chessboard in any environment. On any given day, they will be operating at the tactical level, and then they will find themselves in a meeting with an ambassador or a community leader at whatever country they are in. What they say and what they do has strategic impact, and they know that. Q: What were you most proud of during the historic first visit by a secretary of defense to MARSOC this summer? A: The secretary of defense’s visit was a historic event for MARSOC. He was able to meet Marines for each discipline represented in a Marine Special Operations Company [MSOC], operators and each enabling capability, including intelligence collection and analysis, C4I and combat service support. The secretary was engaged and genuinely interested with the Marines and, I think, walked away with a sense of the tremendous capability that a MSOC provides. In the auditorium, the secretary spoke to an audience of more than 200 about some of the tough fiscal decisions ahead and spent over 30 minutes answering questions from the Marines. I was impressed with candor, insight and thoughtfulness of Marines who asked questions and appreciative of the candor and thoroughness with which Secretary Hagel answered them. It was a good dialogue, and they didn’t hold back just because he was the secretary. They asked him some tough questions—and good on them. Q: How did the role-player exercise last month help soon-to-deploy operators prepare for missions in the Philippines? A: Role-players have been a staple of our exercise program at MARSOC since inception.  The value they bring in allowing our forces to work through the complexities of communication, culture and establishing relationships is invaluable. Role-players, in terms of local population, give our forces the opportunity to test its ability to map the terrain and truly separate the reconcilable from the irreconcilable, as well as demonstrate judicious use of force in close proximity to a civilian population, and to be able to see through the “white noise” of a village, or a town. Role-players, in terms of a partner force, allow the units to practice their ability to train and advise another military formation as well as lend some credibility to the exercise, simulating a 24/7 environment.  We have a certain amount of script, but then there is a little bit of free-play as well, and our role-players really do a good job of throwing injects in when it makes sense to really keep our teams and our operators having to adjust and see how they respond. Some injects they were expecting in certain situations, and in some situations they were not, which is good; when they do their after-action review it gives them a good opportunity to pause and reflect, and hopefully it will help them during their deployment. I think it really puts our units through a very good test of their capabilities. There is no getting away from the natural friction that occurs when you have groups of

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people living in austere conditions conducting demanding and tiring training. Those situations could never be scripted and often are more valuable learning opportunities for the individual Marine than anything we could dream up and inject. Q: Have any significant adjustments been made to the 48 teams in 12 companies goal? A: There have been no adjustments to that goal. MARSOC will soon have 12 MSOCs, each with four Marine special operations teams [MSOTs], available for operational employment. We want to do everything possible to maintain the companies and the teams, because the demand is out there for them by the theater special operations commands and the geographical combatant commanders. That is our customer, so we owe it to them to maintain that capability. Obviously, we will never go to the point where we build a hollow force, where we build teams and companies that aren’t operationally ready, but we think we have a plan in place where we will be able to maintain that. We will take a look at some of the other areas that we have to cut back on with combat service support and the headquarters staff. We will take risk there, but we do not want to take away from what is expected of us and required by our customer. If we had more teams and more companies, they would take them, because the demand for special operations is going to increase over the coming years. Cuts to defense spending and Marine Corps structure will almost certainly impact MARSOC, but we will do everything we can to preserve the capacity and capability of 12 MSOCs and 48 MSOTs. Q: After sustained periods in the desert, how eager are MARSOC operators to be back on the boat? A: In fact, MARSOC is not going back on the boat. The SOCOM commander, the Marine Corps commandant and I agree that the best use of SOF is being part of persistent engagement. If you are continuously on a ship, then you are going to lose out on that capability. What we have determined as a good course of action was to increase that interaction and interoperability to provide a better capability between those deploying Marine-air ground task forces [MAGTFs] and SOF— in many cases on a ship—that is either deployed or getting ready to deploy to the TSOCs out there. That is where we came up with this concept, and we are still working through the finer details of it, but it will be a special operations force liaison element [SOFLE] that works and deploys out on the ships. It is a SOCOM initiative to provide deploying amphibious ready groups [ARG] and Marine expeditionary units [MEUs] with a SOFLE. These six-member SOFLEs will embark on the ARG with the MEU and will act as a conduit for coordination and support between the global SOF network and the naval expeditionary capabilities of the ARG/MEU, both during crisis response and during theater security cooperation efforts. It is about being out there with them and providing the best advice and interface with that deploying MAGTF, the SOF forces and the TSOC, in whichever area of operations that they find themselves. Additionally, the TSOCs and the MEUs will exchange liaison officers in order to ensure rapid communications and transparent planning. These collaborative efforts will provide a more capable and complete force package to the combatant commander for employment. That is the concept we are looking at: Special ops providing

reach-back and press-forward capability with our comms will provide a great capability to the combatant commanders. Q: How is the plan to formalize a career path of MARSOF officers progressing? A: We are working on proposals to manage and improve the career paths of special operations officers [SOO]. Efforts within SOCOM, MARSOC and HQMC to track and place individuals where their skills are of most value are underway. There is room to refine and improve implementation, which is focused on policy updates and process development. I’ve tasked my staff to look at what makes sense to be able to continually capitalize on the training, investment and experience that we put into these officers. How do we then tie that into either the bigger Marine Corps and to the SOCOM community, into the TSOCs, or back into MARSOC? We are trying to figure out what I call a “gray circle route” where they get a good foundation at MARSOC, and then they go to another command, come back to MARSOC, go to a joint command and so on. We also want to encourage them to pick a billet in the Marine Corps that is in a position to help influence or inform the Marine Corps on MARSOC-type issues. Anecdotally, it appears as though officers, working through Marine Corps Manpower, are doing a good job of balancing MOS credibility and progression with SOF assignments and development. However, there is more that we can do to optimize an SOO’s career path, such as identifying key billets across the SOF enterprise and coding them as an SOO billet, so that monitors are cued to fill those billets with SOOs. The good news is that officers who serve at MARSOC and in other SOF billets remain competitive in the Marines Corps and that officers are allowed to serve more than one SOF assignment without damage to career opportunities. The recent Marine Corps Lieutenant Colonel Command Board results illustrate this point.  The Marine Corps is selecting the very best MARSOC performers to return or remain at MARSOC to fill battalion command positions, and officers who serve at MARSOC remain competitive for command selection elsewhere in the Marine Corps. Q: Is there anything you’d like to say to the civilian Marines, CSOs and SOOs who, true to the motto, keep MARSOC Always Faithful—Always Forward? A: The SOF truths apply to a lot of organizations, particularly the Marine Corps. Certainly for us, I’ve always held to the phrase “mission first, people always.” It really gets at the fact that people are our most precious asset. We put a lot of our focus, effort and priority into making sure that we are taking care of that most precious asset, our people—whether they’re wearing a uniform or not—and their families. Whether through the preservation of the force and families initiatives, or the resiliency in our family readiness programs, we take care of our families for life, including those whose sons or husbands have paid the ultimate sacrifice. Our wounded warrior and care coalition programs are available for those who will be carrying the scars of battle for the rest of their lives—we keep faith with them. They will always be part of this family, and we will always take care of them. I am proud of each and every one of them. This is a great team, it is a great family. I can’t think of any other place I would rather work. Every day, I come through this door, knowing that today will be different. And at the end of the day when I leave, I know that today was different, and it was good. O SOTECH  11.8 | 19

The cognitive load bears down on the operator’s mind and muscles.

By Jeff Campbell, SOTECH Editor

a key capability for operators who need real-time information.” In addition to reducing the physical weight burdens troops SAVR is also interoperable with the wideband network, allowing carry, industry is helping reduce the individual’s cognitive load, for a wider distribution to users with more time to spare. Before which bears on the operator, affecting their ability to assess a situdevelopment of the SAVR, that video would be transmitted back to ation. Think of a platoon staked out in the Hindu Kush. From its the operation center, where it would be reviewed by analysts and disadvantaged position, the platoon is left with little ability to see commanders and translated into orders for the platoon, a timebeyond the next precipice. The terrain renders radios ineffective. consuming process. Unsure of its location relative to friend or foe, it seems the platoon’s For all its capability, the SAVR may sound bulky, but in fact it only choice is to send scouts to navigate their surroundings, risking is lightweight, portable, and the same size and shape as a Harris exposing the platoon and jeopardizing the scouts’ safety. Falcon III AN/PRC-152 handheld radio—which is already widely Harris RF Communications Senior Sales Manager Joe Adams fielded by special operations forces—offering a familiar user interhas an alternative for the platoon. Task a UAS—equipped with an face and common accessories and batteries. onboard video camera—to fly over the dangerous area. Through The software-defined architecture in SAVR allows Harris to the Harris RF-7800T situational awareness video receiver (SAVR), provide new capabilities through upgrades. “We provide these the camera transmits video from the UAV directly to the operator upgrades as they emerge, based on customer requirements,” Adams on the ground. “This feed allows ground forces to gain an immedisaid. “Our most recent addition to the receiver was the addition of ate understanding of the situation they are about to face,” Adams the small unmanned aerial systems digital data link (SUAS-DDL) said, noting that the military’s demand for intelligence, surveillance waveform.” With SUAS-DDL, the RF-7800T is now and reconnaissance (ISR) has increased dramatiable to receive advanced encryption standard (AES) cally over the last decade with the proliferation of video feeds from multiple small unmanned aerial sysnon-linear, asymmetric warfare. “As a result, spetems. “Users simply change presets to view feeds from cial operations and other armed forces are being other sources within range,” he said. “Because the tasked to take on missions in smaller and more RF 7800T is based on the Joint Tactical Radio System dispersed groups, far from any centralized tactical software communications architecture version 2.2, operations center.” this ensures future compliance with emerging data SAVR offers distinct advantages for the special link and encryption standards.” operator. “The user can choose to receive video Both DoD and allied armed forces have employed directly in the field, rather than over the network,” the SAVR since 2010. Harris intends to continue Adams said. “Direct video transmission eases bandJoe Adams delivering this and other solutions that allow the width congestion and speeds decision-making, 20 | SOTECH 11.8

warfighter to process, exploit and disseminate tactical video. Adams told Special Operations Technology that the demand for video—and the bandwidth to process it—is only going to increase. “The RF7800T allows SOF operators to easily integrate RF-7800 ISR with tactical mobile ad hoc networks established by the AN/PRC-117G and AN/PRC-152A,” he said. “This integration allows ISR to be seamlessly shared among all levels of the network and SOF information enterprise (SIE).” The SAVR is ruggedized according to military standards. “This means it is built to operate in severe conditions such as frigid or desert-like temperatures,” Adams said. “Our receiver is also built for flexibility, offering output to various displays such as helmet and goggles as well as ruggedized laptops.” Whether right in front of the operator’s eyes or sitting in his lap, video is just one example of sensor/ISR data that can now be disseminated across the battlefield via secure wideband tactical networks. “Harris has been a pioneer in helping utilize these networks,” Adams said. “The RF-3590 tablet computer, for example, allows the SOF operator to easily access video, SA/BFT, data, email text and imagery.” The tablet is optimized for integration with wideband networks enabled by Harris’ AN/PRC-117G and AN/PRC-152A radios. “These radios operate mobile ad-hoc networking waveforms that automatically form high-speed IP mesh networks,” he said. “This allows SOF forces dispersed throughout the mission area to remain continuously connected to each other, to network services, and to the SIE.”

Clear Eye in the Sky One sure way to achieve situational awareness over an area of interest is with a set of eyes continually scanning for threats. Controp USA’s gyro-stabilized miniature payloads (STAMP) for small UAVs range from 2 to 15 pounds. “The STAMP family of products has a variety of lenses and cameras to meet different mission requirements and detection ranges for a variety of vehicle constrains,” said James Dotan, chief executive officer of Controp USA. “The systems provide operators the ability to detect targets of interest; operators can use the payloads on small UAVs, aerostats, small ships, and vehicles for mobile operations.” Controp entered the UAV market in 1988 with large payloads like the DSP-1 system. In his five years with the company, Dotan has seen the small, hand-launched UAVs grow quickly. “We took the technology and shrank it, miniaturized it,” Dotan said, recalling that since the company started to develop the smaller-size payloads seven to eight years ago, the weight has shrunk from 50 pounds to about 2 pounds. “The company won a small UAV competition and now it flies on Elbit Systems’ Skylark Mini UAS, Aeronautics’ Orbiter UAV and others.” All of Controp’s STAMP products have three gimbals on two axes in a lightweight payload to enhance tracking and target detection. “The systems will provide high stabilization while on the move or in a high vibration environment as well,” Dotan said. Achieving stabilized images on a small UAV was a slow, difficult process, but worth all of the effort to enable to operator to lock onto

SOTECH  11.8 | 21

include using DFSS as a driving aid, for a ground surveillance system or an unmanned ground sensor. “What it does from a situational awareness prospective is gives you not only the awareness that people or vehicles are in a scene, based on a thermal signature, but it also gives you a heck of a lot more detail than what you normally see with standard IR systems,” Hansen said, noting that the DFSS enables operators to see into windows, which they can’t do with a standard thermal system. “You’ll be able to see details on a uniform, and a much better differentiation between rifles and shovels, for instance.” One scenario that can cause confusion is a hot body walking in front of a hot door. On the standard system, the operator won’t know for sure if that person went inside or if he’s still standing outside, because his heat signature is masked by the door’s heat signature. “In our system, you still see the visible details of that person,” Hansen said. “You see his hair, his hands, if he’s wearing dark trousers or a light shirt.” Another situation where the DFSS could be beneficial to a SOF operator might be looking at a tree line through a UAV, trying to determine if an enemy target is inside. “Obviously, they’re going to be wearing camouflage, so your standard daytime sensor isn’t going to help you all that much,” Hansen said. In addition to locating a heat source, the new system is able to tell the operator the target’s position relative to other items like trees or buildings, as opposed to finding a heat signature but not being able to convey its location to the rest of the team because of the lack of detail in thermal sensors. “It’s that sort of benefit where DFSS starts to stand out.” The sensor’s weight, just 144 grams, also stands out. “We had some really brilliant engineers at BAE Systems take a look at what effect we were trying to achieve and they realized that they could help reduce the processing power needed by how they positioned the sensors,” Hansen said. By taking that step, BAE Systems was able to do the fusion in a field-programmable gate array, which other companies do in a separate processor unit. “That’s how we get down to a system where the entire fusion process is done onboard a very small set of sensors.” BAE Systems has received anecdotal time reduction evidence from soldiers who have had a chance to experience it. “‘Wow, I get it,’” Hansen said the soldiers told him. “The fact that you are seeing both the thermal cue and the details around it at the same time—as opposed to trying to switch back and forth between different sensors to fully understand what it is you’re looking at—the DFSS certainly helps you form your situational awareness much faster than with standard EO and IR-based sensors,” Hansen said. BAE’s ultimate goal for the DFSS is improving the cueing for Cognitive Load Reductions soldiers so they don’t need to think much about what they’re seeing. “Instead of having to stare at it continuously, we’re going to empower Depending on the context, situational awareness can mean many the sensor to let the soldier know there is something in the scene that things. For SOF, the operators need the most accurate, actionable he or she really needs to pay attention to,” Hansen said. information available to quickly identify targets. That His team is also looking at different approaches as to time has been reduced with BAE Systems’ digitally how they present the data. “We might end up finding fused sensor system (DFSS), which combines multiple out that different people see things differently and they capabilities in a single sensor. The system blends lowwant to have the option of picking a view that suits light and infrared images, enabling operators to view their particular style.” images during full daylight, in deep shadows, on illuA particularly nice feature for the user is the minated night operations and in darkness. system’s ability to adjust itself, with a range from full While it’s often referenced in situations using sunlight down to a quarter-moon and below. “The small UAVs, the DFSS is just applicable to other sensor knows which of the two signals to boost up, situations, according to Eric Hansen, business depending on how much information is coming in,” development manager for intelligence, surveillance Eric Hansen Hansen said. “So if it is really dark, we are going to and reconnaissance solutions at BAE Systems. These a target. “Usually if you have only two gimbals, and you look down at the video, it is harder to keep line of sight at 90 degrees,” Dotan said. “When you have three gimbals, you can look down continuously, or if you’re on a helicopter or a small UAV going in circles to hold the target from 2,000 feet above, it allows the operator to stay on target and concentrate on essential recognition tasks.” One of the best values in the STAMP family is the uncooled IR camera with continuous optical zoom lens. The lens offers a lighter, inexpensive solution with higher reliability and better detection capability. It is found in several cameras, including the single camera U-STAMP, dual camera M-STAMP and the T-STAMP. “The imagery is provided from a stand-off position or from right above the target with a zoom capability for better target recognition and reduced operator workload.” HD video quality is widely available on private televisions, and soon the operator will be able to see imagery from small UAVs in full HD. Dotan is not aware of a UAV manufacturer who has a HD downlink available to use, but Controp is ready when the time comes with an HD sensor that provides better resolution. “These achievements always need to be planned ahead and an elaborate design and development effort is required to insert an HD solution on a very lightweight payload,” Dotan said. Controp also has airborne solutions for larger payloads, called Speed-A, which weigh 60 pounds, with five gimbals on three axes. Dotan said this configuration is important for Aerostats “in order to minimize the ‘gondola’ roll effect of the Aerostat that reduces the operator’s ability to stay alert on a target, due to the video’s unstable roll motion.” The ground based electro/optical radar Speed-V has a continual scanning function that gives 24/7 coverage of an area of interest. “It will continuously go back and forth and detect intruders,” Dotan said. “Similar staring products will have 2 to 3 kilometers of visibility; this Speed solution can look all the way to 10 kilometers and more, and detect vehicles coming in automatically and alert the observer.” Soon that continuous scanning will also be available to Speed-A, Controp’s EO/IR camera payload for persistent surveillance on Aerostats and balloons, which was first displayed at the Paris Air Show in June. That autonomous function is a big benefit for an operator scanning for a small target across a large area. “With continuous search, the system is doing that job for you,” Dotan said. “When something is moving, it will alert you. It gives the operator a higher rate of success to detect objects.”

22 | SOTECH 11.8

focus on more IR, but we are also going to get as many of the details from the low-light EO channel as we can.” Then vice versa, when operating in full daylight, the IR channel is going to be pretty hot. “We’ll be looking for those things that stand out, and we’ll boost those up in terms of signal,” Hansen said. “I’m constantly amazed at what it is doing in the background to give me the picture that we see outdoors.” This month, BAE Systems will run the DFSS through a series of scenarios at the Department of Homeland Security’s remote airborne platform systems testing range in Oklahoma. The company recently took the system to the Army’s night vision labs, where Hansen said program managers were very impressed. “They would like us to push even harder on different fusion algorithms,” he said. The degree to how much smaller these systems can get may only be limited by industry’s imagination. “We’re certainly looking at ways that we could make it smaller,” Hansen said. “There is certainly an interest from the military for smaller UAVs that are perhaps throwaway or so lightweight that they fit in your cargo pocket and you don’t think much about them until you pull it out and fly it.” A big challenge that comes along in regards to getting so small is having very precise optics. “What people are finding now in small UAVs is that they have commercial cameras, which are great for looking at a scene, but when you want to zoom in, they have a hard time getting the details.” That’s another area where Hansen said BAE Systems stands out, because the DFSS has a high-definition camera. The DFSS team recently took the system to Texas A&M University’s Disaster City,

where some of the state of Texas’ search and rescue teams practice. “That picture is so sharp that we could actually determine whether a house is stable or not, just by doing a structural analysis from your video,” Hansen said team members told him, “which says a lot about the high level of detail that we bring to the market that is not really available otherwise.” The information comes down the standard datalink to whatever controller the operator is flying their UAV on, and they’ll see it in real time. “There are issues with some of the datalinks in being able to sustain all the data in the picture, but as more people move to hi-def cameras, the datalinks are going to have to move forward with them,” Hansen said. “Our low-light level camera is a hi-def camera and our IR is a standard uncooled IR sensor, just like we use in the hundred thousand thermal weapon sights we’ve built.” Hansen said the key is to not necessarily put DFSS in a box that just has to do with UAVs. “The technology and even the device as it stands right now is still very useful in unmanned ground vehicles, in manned driving systems, and potentially for unmanned ground sensors,” Hansen said. “We should not be satisfied with the choice of EO or IR. The level of expectation should be moving up—the bar should be set at fusion,” in Hansen’s opinion.O

For more information, contact SOTECH Editor Jeff Campbell at or search our online archives for related stories at

SOTECH  11.8 | 23

Sniper Rifles SOCOM recently awarded a contract for its new Precision Sniper Rifle. Gun makers are waiting to see whether the U.S. Army follows suit. By Marc Selinger, SOTECH Correspondent

It may not have been the shot heard ‘round the world, but it definitely made noise in military gun circles: In March 2013, Remington Defense won a hotly contested contract to supply U.S. Special Operations Command with a new precision sniper rifle (PSR). Remington Defense, part of Remington Arms Company LLC, based in Madison, N.C., bested at least four other competitors with its modular sniper rifle. The company received a 10-year, $79.7 million contract to deliver up to 5,150 rifles and 4.7 million rounds of ammunition, the Department of Defense announced. The work will be done at Remington facilities in Elizabethtown, Ky., and Ilion, N.Y., and at a Barnes Bullets plant in Mona, Utah. “We look forward to the production and delivery of quality PSRs to the valued SOCOM customer,” said Joseph Bolmarcich, director of government contracts and DoD compliance at Remington Defense. SOCOM has described the bolt-action, multi-caliber PSR as a replacement for existing medium-caliber weapons that will provide significant increases in precision and anti-personnel engagement distances to 1,500 meters.

24 | SOTECH 11.8

During the competition, Remington Defense touted its rifle as durable, easy to operate and reconfigure, highly accurate, lightweight and supported by a dedicated defense force. It also described its gun as a mature, fielded system that it had already sold to “select military units” in the United States and to government agencies in Colombia, Sweden and Thailand. Upon winning, Remington said it rolled up its sleeves and quickly began executing the new contract. Work on PSR is proceeding smoothly and has avoided the kind of hiccups that often plague new programs, Bolmarcich said. “So far, so good,” he told Special Operations Technology. “Nothing is happening out of the ordinary.” The company delivered the first 20 rifle systems in July 2013 and, at press time, was planning to deliver another 40 in September. Bolmarcich said the initial batch was successfully tested at the Naval Surface Warfare Center in Crane, Ind. While Remington is focused on fulfilling the new contract, landing such a high-profile program could provide other benefits. Remington’s win has already sparked interest from other potential customers.

“People know about the win and they are already asking about it,” Bolmarcich said. “People are very jazzed about it.” Remington continues to build sniper rifles for other military customers. In July 2013, for instance, it received an order from the U.S. Army for another 1,080 XM-2010 enhanced sniper rifles, bringing total Army orders for the 1,200-meter-range XM-2010 to 2,558.

Protest Denied Remington’s PSR victory did not go unchallenged. Beretta USA, one of the losing bidders, filed a protest with the Government Accountability Office, saying SOCOM’s evaluation of its proposal resulted in unfairly low ratings for management approach, technical approach, past performance and pricing. The GAO, however, denied the protest. The agency concluded that SOCOM’s assessment of the Beretta bid “was reasonable and consistent with the solicitation’s evaluation criteria,” and that SOCOM “reasonably determined the proposal was not among the most highly rated proposals,” according to a 14-page decision dated July 12 and publicly released August 20. Beretta’s protest “challenges every aspect of the evaluation that identified a weakness, significant weakness, or deficiency in its proposal,” the GAO wrote. “Although our decision does not specifically address every one of Beretta’s challenges, we have fully considered them and have concluded either that they do not provide a basis

to sustain the protest, or that the firm was not prejudiced by the alleged errors.”

More Competitions More U.S. military sniper rifle competitions may be coming. In November 2012, the Army issued a draft request for proposals for the compact semi-automatic sniper system (CSASS) program, which would replace or upgrade the 800-meter-range, Knight’s Armament-built M110 semi-automatic sniper system (SASS). At press time, industry was awaiting the publication of a final RFP. Beretta USA, which is based in Accokeek, Md., and part of Italy’s Beretta Holding Group, plans to offer a semi-automatic rifle that would fire 7.62-by-51 mm cartridges and provide improved accuracy, said Gabriele de Plano, vice president of military marketing and sales at Beretta USA. “This family of rifles will consist of several modular variants and be able to meet multiple roles besides that of the traditional infantry battle rifle: close quarters battle, sniper support and designated marksman,” de Plano told Special Operations Technology. Knight’s Armament, based in Titusville, Fla., is seen as a potential competitor but declined to comment. Remington will likely compete as well, Bolmarcich said. Industry is also awaiting an Army decision on how it will proceed with its own version of PSR. Undeterred by its loss in the SOCOM competition, Beretta plans to offer the Army the same

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weapon: the TRG M10 made by sister company Sako, based in Finland. “This multi-caliber, modular platform allows the sniper to tailor the gun to his ergonomic and shooting preferences, while also allowing a quick and easy barrel and caliber change to meet his mission’s needs,” de Plano said. “Besides being able to choose the caliber, the sniper can also choose the barrel length, allowing him to optimize size and weight against ballistic performance.” Other companies are also eyeing a possible Army PSR program. “Should the U.S. Army put out a solicitation for a PSR-type sniper rifle system, Accuracy International would absolutely compete for the award,” said Scott Seigmund, vice president of Accuracy International of North America, which is based in Fredericksburg, Va., and part of England’s Accuracy International Ltd. The company A recent development, the precision guided firearm system, integrates with a long-range rifle to provide “fighter-jet precision would offer a variant of its AX rifle, “depending in a firearm.” [Photo courtesy of TrackingPoint] on the specification put out by the Army,” he said. “We have been producing and selling the AX rifle in all our “The PGF is meant to enhance innate human ability, not traditional markets to many of our traditional customers for the replace the human element,” said Darren Jones, TrackingPoint’s past three years,” Seigmund added. “Sales of the AX have grown coordinator of public relations, marketing and special events. significantly in the past year as more potential customers become Although the PGF was initially designed for hunters and recfamiliar with its capabilities,” including enhancements in comporeational shooters, TrackingPoint believes the system could be nent integration, ergonomics and reliability. adapted for battlefield use, and it has begun discussing its capabiliAs for Remington, “in regard to any future Army program for ties with potential military customers. Jones said the PGF’s usersniper systems, we certainly would be honored by the opportunity friendly features significantly improve first-shot success probability, to submit a bid, as we have a proud and successful history of prowhich would greatly reduce training time and ammunition costs. viding dynamic sniper products to Army customers,” Bolmarcich “A sniper typically fires tens of thousands of rounds to qualify, said. “Right now, our full PSR focus is delivering quality sniper get certified and maintain proficiency,” Jones said. “PGFs could cut systems to meet our PSR contract with SOCOM and support milithat by 90 percent. A lot of people are skeptical about PGFs until we tary operators.” shoot, and then it’s interesting to see the look on their faces. Once The Army did not respond to requests for comment about its you shoot it, you get it.” sniper rifle plans. Funding Uncertain Improving Snipers Like other parts of the tightening U.S. defense budget, funding for sniper rifles remains a major source of uncertainty. Besides government-funded efforts, industry continues to look “At this point in time, none of our sniper rifle or other small at ways to make sniper rifles better. Austin-based TrackingPoint, arms opportunities has been affected,” de Plano said. “This could for instance, recently developed the precision guided firearm obviously change if some of the budgets and programs are cut in (PGF) system, which integrates with a long-range rifle to provide the future.” “fighter-jet precision in a firearm.” The company asserts that its Budget constraints have already influenced how gun makers product makes the average shooter five times more accurate and interact with military customers. able to easily hit targets at distances of 1,000 yards or more. “We have been affected by DoD’s restrictions on discretionary The PGF’s tag button allows a shooter to tag a shot impact travel, and this has already resulted in several military shows and point on a target. The system’s digital scope, which includes a events being canceled,” de Plano said. “I believe this will simply heads-up display, then automatically computes a firing solution result in more ‘on-base’ events that will not require military perbased on wind speed and direction, distance to the target, humidsonnel to travel. We have already reacted by increasing the number ity and other variables that affect shot accuracy. The shooter then of office visits and industry days. If our customers cannot come to aligns the gun with the impact point and pulls the trigger. The us, we will certainly assist in any way we can and come to them.” O guided trigger prevents the rifle from firing when the shooter is off-target. The system also can record video and share it with a smartphone or tablet via an onboard wireless server, allowing a For more information, contact SOTECH Editor Jeff Campbell at or search our online archives spotter, unit leader or incident commander to see exactly what the for related stories at shooter is seeing in real time. 26 | SOTECH 11.8

The advertisers index is provided as a service to our readers. KMI cannot be held responsible for discrepancies due to last-minute changes or alterations.

SOTECH RESOURCE CENTER Advertisers Index AAI Unmanned Aircraft Systems. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3 2d3 Sensing. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11 AR Modular RF. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7 Ceradyne. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17 General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . C4 iRobot Corporation. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23 Leupold & Stevens. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . C3 Lockheed Martin. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . C2 Persistent Systems. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21 Ruag Ammotec. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 25 SOF Symposium. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18 Syntonics LLC. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13 USGIF. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 27

Calendar October 21-23, 2013 AUSA Annual Meeting Washington, D.C.


The Largest Intelligence Event of the Year OCTOBER 13-16, 2013

November 5-6, 2013 SOFEX Fort Bragg, N.C.

Next Issue



October 2013 Volume 11, Issue 9

Cover and In-Depth Interview with:

Rich ard Holcomb Deputy to the Commanding General USASOC

Speci a l Section •

SOF Unplugged

Fe atures • • • •

Comms at the Tactical Edge Portable Power Transportation Non-Traditional ISR

BONUS DISTRIBUTION AUSA Annual • Washington, D.C. SOFEX • Fort Bragg, N.C.

Insertion Order Deadline: September 27, 2013 | Ad Materials Deadline: October 4, 2013

SOTECH  11.8 | 27


Special Operations Technology

Bob Gamache, Ph.D. Director Special Mission Systems Northrop Grumman Q: Are you continuing with efforts on a SOF-tailored medium assault vehicle-light [MAV-L]?

Bob Gamache, director, Northrop Grumman’s Special Mission systems business unit, is responsible for a portfolio of major weapon systems support and airborne ISR programs. Gamache graduated from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology with a Ph.D. in aeronautical engineering. He is a retired U.S. Air Force officer and graduate of the U.S. Army Airborne Course. Q: How does Northrup Grumman work with SOF to provide capabilities as quickly as possible? A: At Northrop Grumman, we have excelled at delivering the quick reaction capability [QRC] solutions needed to support our nation’s SOF, using both commercial and military unique off-the-shelf items. Whether a customer needs to modify an existing system or develop a new one, we have the engineering, facilities and equipment to drive to a usable capability in a very short time, including rapid prototyping. Our vision of QRC development is not to cut corners; it is a disciplined activity, executed with speed through modular integration approaches and in-depth experience with all the underlying cutting-edge technologies. It also means standing shoulder-to-shoulder with the SOF warrior to understand the mission and what it takes to turn special operations into successful missions. Q: In what areas of SOF support are you currently most focused? A: Our four major focus areas are C4ISR, unmanned systems, logistics and cyber. One of our key capabilities is the ability to rapidly design, integrate and operate special mission aircraft with advanced multi-intelligence sensors—full motion video, signals intelligence, synthetic aperture radar, ground moving target indicator and maritime moving target indicator, hyperspectral imaging, wide-area airborne surveillance, foliage penetration and light detection and ranging—six to nine months from contract award. Our QRC product offerings range from the low cost 28 | SOTECH 11.8

single-engine AirClaw, to an affordable twinengine TalonEye, or the extended range Talon LongView. We also operate the SOF extendable integration support environment laboratory at Warner Robins Air Logistics Complex; providing high-fidelity integration and testing for SOF aircraft for over 20 years. We are the preferred provider of the electronic warfare environment for the Air Force Special Operations Center weapons system trainers. Our SOF joint training support team provides comprehensive training and exercise support to the Force Management & Development Director’s joint collective training office. Q: What are some ways Northrop Grumman thinks ahead to provide for the SOF future force? A: Today, it is all about speed. We are facing both irregular warfare and peer competitor challenges where the question is: How do I find, fix and finish the bad guys operating in diverse environments? Our emphasis is evolving from to augment technologies needed in high altitude and desert environments with those needed in triple canopy rainforests, littoral regions and maritime approaches. Our enemies are very capable and modify their behavior, technology and tools to try to stay ahead of us. Through QRC, Northrop Grumman can quickly respond to changing needs with confidence that the product is safe and will achieve the intended mission. We strongly support advanced concept technology demonstrations, command post exercises, and field training exercises to evolve our solutions as part of concept of operations that provide SOF warfighters with the edge they need.

A: Future warfare will require a lightweight, very maneuverable off road vehicle for many reasons, and we think the MAV-L is an ideal solution. However, as shown in recent conflicts, there is a common need to stay off the roads and avoid choke points. We’re looking at applying the MAV-L technology to existing vehicle fleets to give them added capability they need without a new start program. Our allies have similar needs and not just for military application, but also for first responders and commercial applications. Q: What challenges do you see in supporting SOF in the future? A: Industry must develop affordable solutions to emerging SOF challenges and be ready to go to support “tip of the spear” operators. Revolutionary, not just evolutionary, capabilities are needed. Industry must also support the mission shift back towards partner nation security assistance and training. As we go forward, we see providing solutions with versatility to work across the conflict spectrum as a key requirement. The change in geographic focus will also drive the need for new capabilities to operate successfully in different environments. As a leading global security provider, our challenge is to look ahead and find solutions before these material shortfalls effect real-world missions. Q: Is there anything else you’d like the SOF community to know? A: Northrop Grumman is well positioned to anticipate the future needs of the SOF community. Northrop Grumman invests in product technology to give every advantage possible to the warfighter to ensure a successful mission and a safe return home. Northrop Grumman will continue our commitment to the SOF community to develop innovative and affordable solutions to meet future challenges. O

For our Freedom

over a century oF experience and a liFetime oF u.s. based liFe cycle support. leupold tactical optics: designed, machined and assembled in the u.s.a.


Improved Gray Eagle

EXTENDING THE EDGE NETWORKING THE FORCE • Up to 42-hour endurance • External payload increases from 500 to 1000 lb

• Increased capacity for missionized payloads: SIGINT, EW, optical change detection, real time LiDAR, hyperspectral • Organic GPS-targeting • Capable of video dissemination via JTRS network


©2013 General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc.

Leading The Situational Awareness Revolution

Sotech 11 8 final

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