Lockheed Martin and CACI Inc. have won contracts to develop prototypes for a combined-arms squad valued at as much as $22 million and $9.9 million, respectively.
The Department of Defense has contracted both companies to design, develop and validate system prototypes that are intended to deliver the kind of situational awareness available to command posts to smaller deployed units.
According to the open-source, the U.S. Army is seeking new leading-edge technology that will allow Soldiers to fight off electromagnetic and cyber threats at the same time they fight physical ones. Currently, new technology is too bulky, heavy and complex for a small unit on foot to leverage.
U.S. Army officials also early said that under the new program will be designed and validate system prototypes for a combined-arms squad to have realtime coordination of a squad with its flying and ground-based drones and to have all relevant sensor data being presented in a useful way.
The main goals of the new system are speed to detect potential threats at a squad-relevant operational pace and increase squad members’ real-time knowledge of their own and teammates’ locations in GPS-denied environments using embedded unmanned air and ground systems.
In June, Army Technology reported that last year, DARPA performed experiments with CACI’s BITS Electronic Attack Module (BEAM) Squad System (BSS) and Lockheed Martin’s Augmented Spectral Situational Awareness and Unaided Localization for Transformative Squads (ASSAULTS) system.
The two systems focus on teaming between manned and unmanned systems and are designed to provide battalion-level insights and intelligence to small squads.
DARPA noted that the systems provided reconnaissance of areas ahead of the unit. Other key functions included flank security, surveying the perimeter and reporting to squad members.