News 1998 Army Science and Technology Master Plan

C. Technology Program

To execute the MFP 11 responsibilities for technology development, SOCOM has developed a Technology Development Program that comprises the following efforts, as well as the leveraging and influencing of technology thrusts ongoing in defense–related research programs. These efforts are entitled: Special Operations Technology Development (SOTD), which concentrates on exploratory development and technology studies; Special Operations Special Technology (SOST), which concentrates on advanced engineering development and rapid prototyping; SOF Biomedical Research and Development (BIOMED), which performs studies on basic exploratory medical technologies centering on physiologic, psychologic, and ergonomic factors to enhance the ability of SOF operators to better perform their missions; Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR); and Tactical Exploitation of National Capabilities (TENCAP), which explores the tactical use and interface with national systems/architectures.

The principal driver of SOCOM’s Technology Development Program evolves around a list of prioritized Technology Development Objectives (TDOs). This prioritization reflects the SOF’s command and field perspective of its operational deficiencies and future capability needs, which typically requires either a new technology application or an advanced technology demonstration. The TDOs are required by DoD Instruction 5000.2. They are developed jointly by the SOCOM staff and its four components, reviewed, and—if necessary—updated every two years in conjunction with the POM process, prior to official approval by USCINCSOC. These TDOs provide focus to the command—as well as to technologists, engineers, and industry representatives—on areas of technology that potentially can address SOF operational deficiencies and meet future requirements or operational capability objectives for SOCOM. They are used as the foundation for selecting SOCOM technology projects and to influence service/agency technology efforts. They also assist with resource allocation decisions to support technology–based projects and studies. In an abbreviated form these TDOs are denoted as follows:

1. Weapons of Mass Destruction
2. Individual Survivability
3. Sensors
4. Power Sources
5. Mobility Platforms
6. C4I
7. Information Warfare
8. Countermine and Demining
9. Targeting and Tracking
10. Weapons and Munitions
11. Simulation and Training.

A wide and diverse set of concepts or systems is required to satisfy the deficiencies within each TDO. However, the following general characteristics, which are particularly important to SOF operators, pervade across multiple concept/system requirements: lightweight, small, rugged, minimalsignature, lethal, survivable, maintainable, and affordable.

The following is a more complete description of each of the SOCOM TDOs, along with a narrative of the types of technologies that are important in reducing the SOF shortcomings in these combat and noncombat functional areas.

1. Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) Detection, Classification, Neutralization, and Protection Systems

Technologies that should have the potential to provide capabilities for rapidly detecting, precisely locating, and accurately classifying fixed and mobile WMD threats from standoff distances in both semi– and nonpermissive environments. Proposed technologies should demonstrate potential for use as either a man–portable or a SOF mobility platform (ground, air, maritime) mounted system useable in underground facilities. Technology must be compatible with SOF mission scenarios and be suitable for SOF tactical or clandestine environments. Technologies are needed to detect deep underground structures; and also to assist SOF in disabling or defeating systems in such facilities. Technologies should be able to detect U.S., foreign, and improvised Nuclear, Biological, and Chemical (NBC) agents currently available or projected for use on the battlefield or in an Operations Other Than War (OOTW) scenario. Technologies are desired to assess and analyze NBC weapons in order to cause yield reductions; to assist in disassembly; to perform advanced diagnosis; and to help neutralize, render safe, or otherwise destroy the weapon in a semi– or nonpermissive environment. Technologies are also desired to perform initial chemical agent analysis and identification in a remote and austere environment. Most individual and unit NBC detection and protection technologies are more service–like items and, although desired and utilized by SOF forces, they usually are not suitable for SOF–only missions. For example, SOF requires very lightweight, one–time–use but low–volume NBC protection.

2. Lightweight, Low–Volume Survival, Sustainment, and Personal Equipment

Technologies that, in both favorable and adverse environment and mission conditions, should have the potential to provide enhanced performance, sustainment, and protection of SOF personnel; and that will include endurance/fatigue reduction, mobility, active and passive camouflage, signature reduction, lethality, alertness, protection against ballistic, DEW, etc. Proposed technologies should be applicable to the full range of individual SOF equipment and systems, to include: C4I equipment, rations, protective clothing, camouflage, signature reduction, laser and direct energy protection, body armor, sensors, maritime and diving equipment, individual water purification, etc. Camouflage/deception concepts should show adaptability to a variety of topographical and climatic backgrounds. Development of technologies and follow–on systems must not reduce durability, performance, or usability due to size and weight reduction; or adversely affect the individual’s physical strength, flexibility, endurance, etc. Robotic technologies for ground and air platform applications will be of interest to reduce the burden of noncombat essential equipment. Such technologies should demonstrate improvements in operational capabilities utilizing current and future advances in miniaturization and weight reduction, fatigue reduction, biochemistry, nutrition, electronics, fabrics, textiles, hybrid materials, metallurgy, or the life sciences. Medical technologies to enhance the treatment and prevention of battle injuries and nonbattle casualties will also be of interest.

3. Advanced Vision Devices, Sensors, Fire Controls for SOF Weapons, and Human Sensory Enhancement and Performance Amplification Equipment

Technologies that should have the potential to enable the SOF operators, drivers, pilots, or crew members to significantly improve their ability to detect threats and avoid obstacles in both favorable and inclement weather and environment conditions. Technologies should improve the ability to detect, identify, track, and maintain surveillance of threats (weapons systems, personnel, installations, sensors, emitters, targets, etc.). Technology should be capable of multispectral detection (radar, thermal, infrared, acoustic, visual) and be adaptable to both man–portable and mobility platform uses. The technology should not detrimentally interfere with normal sensory functions of hearing, smell, or sight. Sensor technology should provide enhanced sensory capabilities in night, fog, precipitation, smoke, dust, etc. Technologies should also improve range, magnification, field of view, and resolution during periods of both good and limited visibility. Technologies should encourage the ability to increase information and intelligence awareness. Any such technology should demonstrate potential for integration into all applicable planned system acquisitions.

Proposed technologies should significantly increase the capability, speed, and accuracy of SOF operators to acquire and engage targets—in all environmental and visibility conditions—using current and proposed SOF individual, crew–served, and platform–mounted weapon systems. Technologies should demonstrate adaptability to man–portable systems with all–weather capabilities, reliability, sustainability, and maintainability in field conditions. Technologies must possess the ability to process a full ballistic solution in near–real–time; have variable power optic/sensors; and provide day, night, and limited visibility capabilities.

4. Lightweight, Low–Volume Power Supply, Storage, Management, and Generation Technologies

Technologies that should have the potential to provide SOF with improved power sources, power storage, power generation, or power management capabilities for C4I systems, weapons, mobility platforms, and SOF equipment. Technologies should demonstrate significant improvements in power density, transportability (land, sea, and air), rechargeability, disposability, reliability, commonality, and size and weight characteristics. Substantially improved electrical generation storage and conditioning capabilities are required to enhance vehicle propulsion and support current and futureweapons systems/concepts.

5. Enhanced SOF Mobility and Attack Platforms With Increased Speed and Range, Decreased Detectability, and True All–Weather Capabilities

Technologies that should have the potential to significantly reduce mobility mission area deficiencies that include: improving performance; lowering the probability of detection; improving the supportability of SOF air, land, and maritime mobility platforms; and reducing the logistics signatures of SOF mobility platforms. Technologies should address reductions in multispectral (radar, thermal, infrared, acoustic, visible) signatures while providing mobility platforms with increased maneuverability, speed, range, all–weather capability, threat avoidance, survivability and protection, transportability, reliability, maintainability, and durability. Technologies must show potential for application to future SOF mobility platforms or upgrades to current systems.

Resupply technologies should have the potential to enhance the capability to provide accurate and timely resupply to SOF operators in an unmarked, denied, tactical environment without causing undue loss or damage to items being resupplied. Enhanced resupply systems must have increased accuracy in all weather, have significant standoff range, and have a Low Probability of Detection (LPD). Systems may include unattended resupply vehicles, low platforms, and rigging gear. Proposed technologies should show significant improvements over current systems capabilities.

6. Improved Digital Transmission, Switching, Information Transfer Automation, and Human–to–Machine Interface Communications (C4I) Technologies

Technologies that should have the potential to provide improvements in weight reduction, size, LPI/LPD, power consumption/management, over–the–horizon capabilities, transmission rates, processor throughput, programmability, modularity, multiband operations, simultaneous transmission/reception capabilities, real–time information, imagery/system/sensor fusion, spectral utilization, compatibility, seamless GPS integration, and miniaturized Automated Data Processing (ADP). Technologies must be suitable for application in extreme environments and be compatible with standardized open architectures and complementary technologies, such as integrated navigation, direction finding, security, Identification, Friend or Foe (IFF), automatic encryption/authentication, etc. New systems must comply with SOCOM’s architectural tenets, which specify that systems must be seamless, robust, automated, use the full spectrum, and be standards compliant.

7. Automated Information Warfare (IW) Systems Enhancements To Influence and Protect Information Systems, Links and Nodes

Technologies that should have the potential to provide SOF advanced capabilities for deception, Electronic Warfare (EW), Psychological Operations (PSYOP), and speech technologies.

Technologies for deception and EW should enhance capabilities to disable, jam, spoof, or otherwise confuse enemy sensor and detection systems, including radars; thermal imageries and other optical–electronic systems; acoustic detectors; and seismic sensors and systems. Other areas for enhanced tactical deception include disruption, disablement, or reducing the efficiency of communication and command and control systems, which may have Radio Frequency (RF), laser, hard–wire, fiber–optic, or other links.

Advanced PSYOP technologies are also required to develop, produce and disseminate PSYOP products, including: radio (AM/FM/SW); television broadcasts; and printed material. Technology must support production, distribution, and dissemination of PSYOP products to, from, and within forward and remote locations. It also should include the integrated utilization of broadcasts or products using broadcast range extenders, aerial pamphlet disseminators, loudspeakers, high–capacity print facilities, translators, etc. Technologies should enable the development of new and advanced means of disseminating or projecting PSYOP messages to a target audience. Such technologies might include direct satellite broadcasting, UAV payloads, digital signal processing, voice synthesizing, laser video, acoustic generators, holograms, artificial intelligence applications, and attitudinal/behavior agents. Applicable speech technologies should provide automated recognition and translation both from English to the target language and from the target language to English. Technology must have the potential to achieve real–time, voice–to–voice translation; speaker identification; be a small, lightweight package; interface with C4I systems; and transcribe and translate text at a near–real–time rate.

8. Passive Shallow Water/Terrestrial Mine, Explosive, and Boobytrap Detection, Identification, and Neutralization Technologies

Technologies that should have the potential to provide passive, accurate, tactical detection and classification of surf zone, shallow water, and terrestrial mines, explosives, and boobytraps. Demonstrate or identify technologies that enhance the ability to destroy or disable mines and boobytraps on land and in shallow water without posing a threat to the individual operator. Technologies should be applicable to all ground and sea–bottom soil types, lead to increased detection capabilities, longer ranges, lower false alarm rates, and autonomous or standoff capabilities. Technologies should apply to magnetic, acoustic, command–detonated, and pressure mines, as well as to future mine and fusing/detonation systems and must be transferable to man–portable, modular packages. Technologies should be applicable for land and water applications and be compatible with either timers, command detonation, or smart activation. Technologies and systems must apply to both SOF submissions: antimining and demining. Antimining is a combat mission where SOF identifies, marks, or neutralizes mines and boobytraps during, or just prior to, combat operations. Demining is a humanitarian assistance mission where SOF either trains the trainers in demining activities, or SOF trains and assists indigenous personnel to detect, mark, avoid, and neutralize mines and boobytraps in a permissive environment.

Attaching systems should demonstrate or identify technologies that provide SOF the capability to accomplish positive nonmagnetic adhesion in fresh and salt water; and on dirty, uneven, nonmetallic, and petroleum–coated surfaces. The adhesive needs to have comparable holding/bonding properties as current adhesives are used to bond explosives to dry, smooth, nonmetallic surfaces. The system must be user–friendly underwater. It must retain its holding abilities in the surf zone and on an ocean/lake/river floor for an extended period of time and in extreme temperature ranges.

9. Clandestine Target Locating, Tracking, and Marking Technologies

Technologies that should have the potential to provide SOF an improved passive or semiactive method to mark both fixed and mobile targets for identification, tracking, targeting, and precision munitions guidance to include GPS integration. Marking methods must be undetectable by the enemy, but positively identified by both SOF and conventional airborne, waterborne, and ground/vehicular sensors and targeting systems, to include the AC–130 gunship. Technologies for IFF and Combat Identification (CID) must seamlessly interface and integrate with Service systems, plus allow SOF IFF to deep strike fire–and–forget conventional weapons. Marking methods should include a removalcapability without special equipment.

10. Future Force Application Weapons and Munitions, Enhanced Explosives and Munitions, and Nonlethal Technologies

Technologies that should have the potential to provide the basis for advanced offensive and defensive weapons and weapons–related systems that demonstrate significant improvements in responsiveness, range, accuracy, reliability, and target effects. Systems are desired for fixed and rotary wing aircraft, small boats, and HMMWV–size vehicles. Defensive weapons are desired to counter IR, laser, TV, and other smart or seeker–head guided munitions. Demonstrate or identify technologies that provide miniature guided or precision projectiles with long–range, non–line–of–sight destructive capabilities. Technologies must destroy, disable, or render unusable fuel tanks, light armored vehicles, fortified positions, other soft military vehicles, and SO-critical military and industrial target nodes and systems. Technology should allow the operator to conduct firing operations with an LPD and from within enclosed areas.

Applicable technologies should have the potential to provide SOF operators a man–portable, reliable, long–range, accurate, signature–less, sustained rate of fire, day and night capable, tunable, or nonlethal weapons system. In the nonlethal role, the system should be man–portable and must be able to stun an opponent or temporarily incapacitate multiple targets in close proximity to the operator. Nonlethal technologies are needed for area applications (crowd control), for point applications (selected individuals in close proximity to noncombatants, prisoners, etc.), and for antimaterial applications.

In the lethal role, the weapon system must be able to be used in a medium–range (250 to 600 meters) sniper role to defeat key personnel and to disable soft targets, such as radars, C2 vans, aircraft, sensors, POL containers, weapons systems, etc. An effective range up to 2,000 meters is the eventual goal. Demonstrate or identify technologies that provide increased lethality, enhanced flexibility, reduced weight and volume, increased accuracy and controllability, and improved safety of explosive charges and munitions. Technologies should demonstrate antimaterial capabilities for a wide range of target types for small and medium caliber SOF weapons systems—both handheld and platform mounted. Multipurpose, low–detectable munitions and explosives are preferred. Items must be certifiable as safe for use and transportability (land, sea, and air) by all Service or SOCOM safety review and certification boards.

11. Advanced Learning, Training, and Mission Planning/Rehearsal Technologies

Technologies that should have the potential to provide for fusion of diverse and multispectral data, application of artificial intelligence, effective use of constructive, virtual, and live simulations as the basis for future systems for enhanced Mission Planning, Analysis, Rehearsal, and Execution (MPARE); or provide integrated, insertable upgrades to current systems. Technologies should address the potential for networking and include realistic sight, sound, olfactory, and motion sensations. Technologies must have application to as many SOF mission areas, skills, environments, and component-unique requirements as is feasible. Improving rapid learning and retention techniques forforeign languages are also of interest.

This completes the description of the TDOs.

SOCOM’s technology development programs are separate and independent from our specific acquisition programs and they provide a valuable process that links SO–peculiar requirements to new warfighting systems through emerging technology development. New capabilities enabled under the technology development programs can be transitioned to SOF operators through rapid or normal acquisition programs or inserted into existing systems through system upgrades or in conjunction with Preplanned Product Improvements (P3Is). Table F–1 below summarizes the distribution of the SOCOM’s FY98 Technology Development Program funding, which is managed by the Advanced Concepts and Engineering Division (SOAC–DT) of SOAC. This program, which totals approximately $16.4M, covers four of the five Technology Development Program efforts mentioned earlier in this annex; the fifth effort, TENCAP, is managed by the Program Executive Office for C4I within SOAC.

Table F–1.  SOCOM’s Technology Development Program Funding Structure

Program Element

Line No.

Project Title

% Program Funding



Special Operations Technology Development




Special Operations Special Technology




SOF Biomedical Research and Development




Small Business Innovation Research


Note:  Of SOCOM’s total RDT&E budget for FY98, the above is the distribution of just the technology development funds, with the exception of TENCAP.

Some of the specific individual projects under the FY97 SOTD program are:

Active Noise Cancellation
Audio Deception Emitter
Color Night Vision Fusion
Enhanced Thermal Protection
Head-Mounted Thermal Vision
Maximum Efficiency Language Trainer
Thermal Imaging Device
Underwater Tactical Display.

Some of the specific individual projects under the FY97 SOST program are:

Advanced Sniper Weapon Fire Control
Aircraft Off/Onload System
Clandestine Lighting System
Communications Helmet
Hasty Hide Shelter
Intrusion Sensor System
Low Observables, Covert Obstacle Avoidance Navigation System
Nonlethal Submunition
Quick Erect Antenna/Mast
Remote Miniature Weather Station
Sensor Hardening
SOF Enhanced Weapons
Very Slender Vessel
Weapons Control System

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