Archive for the ‘SOF’ Category

Update – SPEAR Family of Tactical Headborne Systems Coxswain Helmet System Solicitation

Monday, July 10th, 2017

Natick has issued an update to the pre-solicitation for the SPEAR Family of Tactical Headborne Systems Coxswain Helmet System.

“Final solicitation is estimated to be released end of July/beginning of August 2017. Proposals will be requested within 1-2 months of RFP release. The response date indicated for this notice is an estimate at this time.”

The new estimated response date, when proposals are due to the government, is Sep 15, 2017 12:00 pm Eastern which is a change from the original estimate of Jul 25, 2017 12:00 pm Eastern.

The SPEAR Family of Tactical Headborne Systems Coxswain Helmet System will consist of a non-ballistic helmet system with modular accessories which will consist of a visor, ballistic mandible, non-ballistic (i.e. impact) mandible, and two piece ballistic appliqué. Additionally, the helmets require a variety of VAS Shrouds, Helmet Covers, Accessory Rails, Pads, Exterior Velcro sets, and Peltor Adapters.

The helmets will be offered in five sizes in Tan, Neutral Grey, AOR 1, AOR 2 and MultiCam.

The contract, when awarded will be valued at up to $95 million.

For full details, visit

1st Special Forces Group (Airborne) SOF Integration

Friday, June 30th, 2017

Green Berets of the 1st Special Forces Group (Airborne) train with Soldiers from 2nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division during Exercise Bayonet Focus 2017 at Yakima training center, WA, June 19, 2017. ( U.S Army photo by Sgt. Brandon Welsh.)

Green Berets have a vast amount of knowledge and experience on and off the battlefield. Because of their mission set they are able to think outside the box and operate in a way that most conventional units cannot. Special Forces, have a broader mission set other than just direct action that include unconventional warfare, special reconnaissance, counter-terrorism, humanitarian assistance, and peacekeeping. They have been through years of rigorous training to be experts in these missions. One could imagine the impact they can have while working side by side with a conventional Army unit. Private 1st Class Brennan Stubb, an infantryman assigned to C Company, 3rd Infantry Regiment, 2nd Battalion, 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team, said working with Special Forces “make us more prepared, and it changes things up from conventional Army training to get a different perspective.” The 2nd Infantry Divison soldiers received advanced medical training in first aid and self-aid and were shown better techniques to put the injured on litters and the use of a sked (a stretcher that can be drug on the ground) that will help them in future training and deployed environments. It is important for Special Forces to train their conventional counterparts in the unconventional techniques that they go by so they can better understand each other on the battlefield, according to Stubb.

Members of the 1st Special Forces Group (A) cunducted a Key Leader Engagement during training exercise Bayonet focus 2017 at Yakima training center, WA, June 17, 2017. The KLE was conducted to enhance training with 1 SFG(A) and 7th infantry divsion. ( U.S Army photo Sgt. Codie Mendenhall.)

The conventional units show their support to Special Forces by providing them with support from the ground and air. During this training exercise Green Berets were supported by soldiers in Strykers from 2-2 SBCT as they drove around in their all-terrain vehicles conducting their operations throughout YTC. Having the ability to go out to YTC and conduct operations together has a huge advantage for both units. While speaking with Scott a team leader with 1st SFG (A) said, “It’s a good training venue for both organizations and because we both use it, it makes sense that we co-utilize the same area.” According to Scott YTC has all the good qualities of going to either Joint Readiness Training Center in Louisiana or National Training Center in California without the long travel that also resembles the type of environment that they might encounter overseas makes the training that they do that much more effective. Both units can accomplish the training they need all while saving time and money as they can convoy out to YTC in their Strykers or be bused out. Working side by side with the soldiers from 2-2 gives them experience that can carry over during a deployment either to the Pacific Region or Southeast Asia. “They have a better idea of how we are organized and what our mission is and specifically in a deployed environment there’s so many lessons learned, command relationships, who’s responsible for what, how to battle track each other and how to communicate very basic things that can have a big impact down range,” said Scott.

Story by Sgt. Brandon Welsh
1st Special Forces Group (Airborne)

USSOCOM Announces Joint Threat Warning System Industry Day

Wednesday, June 28th, 2017

Joint Threat Warning System is the SIGINT Collection architecture for USSOCOM.  The current manpack version is the AN/PRD-13(V)2.  

While I used an early version of this system in Haiti over 20 years ago, it has come a long way from the AN/TRQ-30 DF loops first fielded to 3rd Group in 1990. They were the height of 1950s technology and the receiver used like 30 D cell batteries. 

As communication technology evolves, so must the equipment used to collect signals. Consequently, PM-JWTS is hosting an Industry Day, 13-14 July, 2017.

The Program Manager is specifically interested in signals intelligence technologies, ideas and solutions which advance One or more of the following Key Interest Areas:

1) Unique Signals of Interest

2) Modular and scalable open architecture systems (please see additional guidance below)

3) Remote C2 and Data Viewing

Further Clarification:

Modular and Scalable Open Architecture Systems: Need to allow the operator to choose relevant SIGINT applications and tailor the system to best support individual mission requirements. JTWS is seeking potential solutions with the below criteria as initial guidance but not formal direction:

• Hardware: Provide VPX (VITA 46)/Open VPX (VITA 65) based solutions that are modular and scalable from a body-worn or small UAS form factor to a vehicle/maritime platform to an airborne chassis. Focus should be on a 3U card size in order to maximize reuse between form factors. If use of VPX standards for small form factor solutions is not possible, alternative standards-based options that do not violate the remaining guidelines should be brought forward.

• Data: VITA 49 should be implemented for the data transport layer and output data using the Tactical SIGINT Data Model (TSDM). Systems should be JICD 4.x (currently 4.2) compliant at the sensor level for reporting, tuning, and collaborative geolocation.

• GUI: Partners should deliver capabilities with the ability to conduct full command and control and visualize mission data in RaptorX.

• Software: The adoption of the OpenVPX standard reduces the need for a pure open architecture solution across the program, but systems should still seek to implement open architecture solutions on individual cards in order to combine capabilities and maximize the capacity of each card within the system. Examples include GNU Radio and REDHAWK, but could be extended to any number of current industry and government developed environment.

Remote Capabilities: This capability needs to be Beyond-Line-of-Sight (BLOS), however the program office would prefer Over-the-Horizon (OTH) with minimal latency delays.

Vendors interested in attending the Industry Day should visit

NSWC-Crane Issues Presolicitation For New Optics – Miniature Aiming System – Day Optic Squad – Close Quarters Sight and Clip-On Magnifier

Tuesday, June 20th, 2017

The Naval Surface Warfare Center, Crane Division, which manages small arms development for USSOCOM, has issued a presolicitation, informing industry that it intends to issue a solicitation contract for a full and open competition for an anticipated Firm Fixed Price Indefinite Delivery Indefinite Quantity (IDIQ) contract that will cover a five year ordering period with five (5) additional one (1) year options that may be exercised at the Governments convenience. When you see the minimum and maximum for the IDIQ, your eyebrows will raise a little, but it will make sense.

The anticipated requirement is for a Miniature Aiming System – Day Optics (MAS-D) Squad – Close Quarters Sight (CQS) and Clip-On Magnifier (CM). The sights will be used on both compact and assault rifles. The anticipated contract minimum quantity is thirty (30) units OR $36,000 and the anticipated contract maximum quantity is thirty-nine thousand three hundred units (39,300) OR $47,160,000. These numbers give the command a great deal of flexibility, allowing them to select more than one contract awardee. Additionally, there is room for other organizations to purchase from this contract.

This slide comes from COL Samuel Ashley’s (USASOC G8) briefing at last month’s NDIA Armaments Symposium. Many know that USASOC divested itself from the use of EOTech Holographic Weapon Sights due to their thermal shift issue. What many don’t know is what they replaced them with as an interim solution. The 75th Ranger Regiment had an immediate need and a shoot off of Commercial Off The Shelf red dot sights was conducted at Ft Bragg, NC. The sights evaluated included the EOTech as a baseline, Aimpoint T2, Leupold LCO and Trijicon MCO. I am told that the EOTech performed very well but that it was not a candidate for selection due to its thermal shift problems. I am also told that the user evaluation preferred the Leupold LCO. However, in a second phase of the evaulation conducted at Crane, the LCO had some reliability challenges, so ultimately, the Rangers got the Aimpoint T2. Interestingly, 1st Special Forces Command (Airborne)(Provisional) chose to field the Army’s service common M68 optic, also by Aimpoint. The use of service common equipment saves the command’s MFP-11 Dollars for other capabilities.

Below is another slide from that same briefing that shows, in generalities, what USSOCOM expects from a Close Quarters Sight and how many they want to buy.

The anticipated timeframe for the release of the solicitation is expected to be in the Fall of 2017. For full details, visit

USSOCOM Alerts Industry To Aviation Body Armor Vest Requirement

Friday, June 2nd, 2017

Natick released a Sources Sought Notice to industry for a new Aviation Body Armor Best to support SOF aviation customers.

1. Must be capable of supporting the following items:
a. Spear Cut Level 5 Stand-alone, Swimmer Cut Front, Back, and Side Plates
b. Under-Arm Flotation System Modular Water Wing Design
c. SEA LV2 (Emergency Breathing Device)
d. M-4 Magazines (Qty: 3 with the ability to increase to a quantity of 6)
e. M-9 Magazines (Qty: 2 with the ability to increase to a quantity of 3)
f. CAT Tourniquet
g. Individual Medical Aircrew Kit (5.5″L x 5.5″W x 3.25″D)
h. Individual Survival Aircrew Module (5.5″L x 5.5″W x 3″D)
i. Universal radio pouch capable of holding the CSEL or 148 series Radio with Thales GPS
Side Mate Module Assembly
k. Modular holster for M-9 Beretta capable of being mounted and reconfigured between the vest and belt, and capable of being mounted vertically, horizontally, or angled on the vest.
2. Must be interoperable with Swimmer Cut Generation V SPEAR Body Armor Plates
3. Must have an integrated extraction / retention system consisting of:
a. Belt shall be capable of being used independently as a method of extraction and retention
b. Chest connection point shall be capable of being used independently for retention. It shall be capable of being used for extraction in conjunction with the belt while maintaining the chest connection point as the single point of attachment to the hoist line.
This system should be capable of being used as a single point for both retention and extraction.
c. Capable of supporting a 400lb load for rescue hoisting from both belt and chest connection points and provides retention through a chest connection point compatible with lanyard part numbers AMTC-S1379 (7′) & AMTC-S1380 (12′) & 001-HSLSOCOM.
d. The belt must be rated in accordance to meet NFPA 1983-2012 – 3000lbs for 1.5min.
The criteria for the static pull test of the belt is a minimum break strength of 3000 lbs in an upright and inverted position. Pull Test (two iterations): Horizontal & head-down with a max buckles slippage of 25 mm (1 in.). The criteria for the static pull test of the chest connection is a minimum break strength of 3,000 lbs. for 1.5 minutes in horizontal, vertical, and angular directions.
e. Any harness worn with the belt must not diminish the pull strength in any way.
4. Must be available in Multicam and be capable of being printed in other patterns. ABAV must meet minimal requirements for not creating Visual and Near IR (VIS/NIR) offenders. If nonprinted materials are used, they must be in Tan #499 and meet VIS/NIR Tan #499 compliance.
5. ABAV must be flame resistant, no melt /no drip, and be self-extinguishing. The items shall be tested in both the warp and fill directions. The average melt / drip that occurs after removal of the source flame shall be less than 1 droplet. The average after flame in each direction (warp and fill) shall be no longer than 3.0 seconds, the average afterglow in each direction shall be no longer than 2.0 seconds, and the average char length in each direction shall be no longer than 4.5 inches for samples prior to laundering (0 washes) and after laundering (5 washes). Laundering shall be conducted according to AATCC Method 135, and the vertical flame testing shall be conducted according to ASTM D 6413
6. Environmental conditions cannot degrade the ABAV to the extent they cannot be used for its intended mission (e.g. buckles and fasteners must operate in extreme cold and hot conditions and be resistant to sand and debris).
7. Must withstand the effects of full climatic range of operations ranging from -50F to 130F.
8. Must withstand storage temperatures ranging from -50F to 185F.
9. Must be resistant to rot, mildew, DEET, Petroleum, Oil and Lubricants (POL), chlorine, UV light, and salt water.
10. Shall have a shelf life of not less than five years in a sealed package.
11. The ABAV must be easily usable and adjustable while wearing a wet suit, exposure suit, and/or cold weather gloves to the maximum extent practicable.
12. Must be backward compatible with all currently issued SPEAR Load Carriage items.
13. Shall provide adequate amount of surface area for carrying mission essential equipment tailored to duty position (e.g. rifleman, medic, engineer, etc). The ABAV shall be compatible with existing
USSOCOM equipment when minimally or fully loaded in accordance with operational practices.
Existing USSOCOM equipment includes Military Free Fall (MFF) equipment, fast rope and static line parachute equipment, combat swimming equipment, backpacks, equipment belts, and NBC gear (MOPP 4).
14. Shall have a handle capable of dragging or supporting 400 lbs. during dynamic motion in combat.
15. Fine adjustments to fit shall be easily made while in minimally and maximally loaded configurations. This includes the need for fine adjustments of any straps, harnesses, cummerbunds, or any other type of adjustment system while wearing the entire ensemble without removing it.
16. Provide equal weight distribution, be configurable for additional load carriage, and provide shoulder-hip distribution capabilities. These capabilities shall not interfere with any others, and should only add additional capability without detrimental aspects.

1. Must be easily and quickly releasable when unloaded or fully loaded in all combat environments, including submerged / maritime environments where crashed aircraft is possible.
2. All aspects of the design and integration of the ABAV and its Accessories shall be simple, easy, and intuitive to use. The ABAV must be easily setup prior to use, and easily adjustable during use.
3. The holster must be capable of being transitioned from mounting on the vest in a horizontal, angled, or vertical configuration, to mounting on a belt.
4. Materials and designs of the ABAV must provide maximal comfort, full range of dynamic anatomical motion, and maximal agility during movement in all environments.
5. The ABAV shall minimize water retention, maximize drainage, and minimize drying time.
6. When fully loaded, the ABAV must allow the operator to bring and maintain all weapons to a good firing position or adjust firing position. These weapons include M-9, M-4, and crew served weapons.
7. Must not hinder or significantly interfere with the operator entering or exiting SOF ground vehicles, aviation platforms, movement through hatches or doorways, and must maximize comfort while riding on SOF/Service aviation platforms.
8. The Accessories should be simple to use, minimize bulk, retain necessary equipment, and allow easy access for removal and replacement of equipment into the pocket or pouch.
9. All Accessories should firmly attach to the ABAV in a way that minimizes relative motion between equipment-filled pockets and the ABAV. Fastening mechanisms shall be simple, easy to use, and durable for all operational environments.
10. Shall be capable of fitting the 5th to 95th percentile chest size (33″ circumference, 16″ torso length to 49″ circumference, 24 ¼” torso length
11. ABAV and Accessories must be able to integrate with a low profile, modular floatation system that has an easily installable bladder capable of providing no less than 70 lb. of positive buoyancy when inflated on the surface with 40 lbs. at 1 ATM. Modular flotation sub-components shall not reduce or will only minimally reduce the area available for Accessory attachment. Bladders and floatation capability must be easily removable.
12. ABAV and accessories must have durability and abrasion resistance during extended land operations.

Responses are due, NLT 7 June 2017. Visit for full details.

USSOCOM Issues Pre-Solicitation for SPEAR Family of Tactical Headborne Systems Coxswain Helmet

Wednesday, May 24th, 2017

The United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) recently issued a pre-solicitation notice to industry pursuant to their requirement for a multi-year contract to procure Special Operations Forces Personal Equipment Advanced Requirements (SPEAR) Family of Tactical Headborne Systems (FTHS)-Coxswain Helmet System. The Coxswain Helmet system is the most interesting helmet system from a technical standpoint and more closely resembles the recent Next Generation Helmet work done for SOF by Ops-Core and Revision.  Although Ops-Core is keeping their’s under wraps, Revision recently released their candidate commercially, as the Batlskin Caiman Head System.

DoD Photo by MSG Timothy Lawn.

The coxswain helmet will consist of a non-ballistic helmet system with modular accessories which will consist of a visor, ballistic mandible, non-ballistic (i.e. impact) mandible, and two piece ballistic appliqué. Additionally, the helmets require a variety of VAS Shrouds, Helmet Covers, Accessory Rails, Pads, Exterior Velcro sets, and Peltor Adapters.

The helmets will be offered in five sizes in Tan, Neutral Grey, AOR 1, AOR 2 and MultiCam.

The government intends to award a five-year Indefinite Delivery Indefinite Quantity (IDIQ) Firm Fixed Price (FFP) production contract for a fully developed item to the offeror with the best value to the Government. They are looking for Commercial-Off-The-Shelf items. The actual solicitation should be issued in June and the minimum contract value will be $150K and the maximum contract value will be $95M.

Because of the scalability of the Coxswain Helmet I wonder how long it will be before other SOF personnel want it instead of the standard SOCOM helmet already in solicitation.  

For full details, visit

75th Ranger Regt To Stand Up 5th Battalion

Wednesday, May 17th, 2017

On Monday, 22 May, 2017, at Fort Benning, Georgia, the 75th Ranger Regiment will stand up a fifth battalion. There haven’t been five active Ranger Battalions since World War II.

However, this battalion is a little different. It’s the Military Intelligence Bn (Provisional). The battalion’s two companies will offer expanded capability beyond the current MI Co in the Regiment’s Special Troops Bn. It’s mission is to provide multi-discipline, full-spectrum, worldwide, expeditionary, and reach back intelligence capabilities for the 75th Ranger Regiment enterprise. Furthermore, it institutionalizes and professionalizes the find, fix, finish, exploit and analyze (F3EA) targeting methodology required to counter enemy combatant forces’ tactics, techniques, and methods.

The RMIB(P) will consist of a Ranger Military Intelligence Company providing all-source analysis, GEOINT, IMINT, HUMINT, and UAS functions along with a Combat Electromagnetic Activities Capabilities (CEMA) Company which will offer EW, SIGINT, Technical Surveillance and Cyber support. Additionally, there is a Headquarters and Headquarters Detachment.

Congratulations Rangers!

Revision Showcases FTHS Special Forces Head Systems At SOFIC

Tuesday, May 16th, 2017

Essex Junction, Vermont (May 15, 2017) – After a rigorous and collaborative development process, Revision Military, the world leader in integrated head systems, will showcase the Company’s new Special Forces helmet systems at the 2017 Special Operations Forces Industry Conference (SOFIC) in Tampa, Florida on May 16th. Revision’s Special Forces helmet solutions were developed for SOCOM’s highly anticipated Family of Tactical Headborne Systems (FTHS) program, a solicitation that is primed to define Special Operations Forces (SOF) head protection for the foreseeable future.

“True to form, Revision took this generative, ground up process to the extreme, setting ambitious goals for performance and innovation while working on a narrow timeline,” said Jonathan Blanshay, CEO, Revision Military. “The scope and creative latitude of this program fit well with Revision’s capabilities and reputation for sweeping innovation. Revision invested heavily in this project—in time, personnel, and financial capital—and, in parallel, we significantly strengthened our manufacturing—adding several million dollars of new equipment and expanding our principal helmet manufacturing facility—modernizing our operations and increasing capacity to support this program simultaneously. In this process, Revision brought a wide-range of SOF users to the table. Special Forces operators can feel real ownership of the end-product, knowing that their demands were addressed and readdressed continuously. We are genuinely excited to unleash the full scope of our vision for the future of Special Forces head protection.”

Revision’s SOF helmet suite addresses SOCOM’s technical challenges head on: optimized weight, protection, and mobility indices and system component integration. Revision has developed two cutting-edge helmet systems: a Carbon Bump System and a Ballistic System with liner system, rails, and Wilcox® Mount. Revision’s Carbon Bump helmet can be ballistically-enabled—add-on armor appliques up the protection level for ballistic, blunt-force, blast-force, and fragmentation threats. And, the skeletonization of all system components has significantly reduced the overall weight of these helmet systems.

Revision’s FTHS head systems showcase at SOFIC represents the culmination of an intensive ground-up design and development program, dating back to the beginning of 2016, as well as exhaustive testing, analysis, and trials. Communicating with esteemed Special Forces operators, from across the special ops spectrum, Revision created a head systems suite tailored to the experience and feedback of SOF operators.

Revision’s FTHS solutions will be available commercially in 2017. The suite of products will be known as the Batlskin Caiman Head System. Additional Caiman Head System accessories and components are planned for later this year and early 2018.