Quantico Tactical

Archive for the ‘PM-SOF’ Category

Program Executive Office – Special Operations Forces Warrior Industry Collaboration (SOFWIC)

Monday, October 14th, 2013

I’ve spoken with quite a few companies as of late about opportunities like this. If you are innovating then this is one of many ways to get your ideas in front of the acquisition community. SOF has traditionally been the fountainhead of innovation within DoD and I recommend that you take a look at this.

The Program Executive Office Special Operations Forces Warrior (PEO-SW) will be holding “Industry Collaboration Day” on Thursday, November 14, 2013 from 0800-1700 at the Embassy Suites Hotel Tampa Airport/Westshore, 555 N. Westshore Blvd, Tampa, FL 33609. The objective of this collaboration day is to enhance PEO-SW team collaboration with industry in support of the SOF Operator. Industry is invited to submit nominations in the form of two-page unclassified white papers addressing innovative technologies as outlined in commodity/capability areas listed below. The intent is to share ideas that accelerate the delivery of innovative capabilities to the Special Operations Forces (SOF) warfighter.

Ground Mobility
• Passive noise cancellation for engines
• Reduced visual signature (eg camo, 3D camo) paint treatments
• Lightweight (thin)Transparent Armor (GMV 1.1 / NSCV)
• Rapid Emergency Egress doors
• Amphibious assault LTATV
• Purpose built armored NSCV

Visual Augmentation Systems
• Head-mounted Devices for:
-Seamless transition from low light to high light (transition time)
-Seamless transition to weapon sight while wearing NODs
-Jamming enemy image intensifier
-Multi-spectral night vision
-Increased field of view without loss of resolution
-Import/export data or images
• Hand Held Devices:
-INOD compatible spotter scope capability
-Capture biometric data for facial recognition
-Adaptive multispectral night vision
-Import/export data or images
-Sensing wind speed/direction to 1500 – 2000m; calculate ballistic offsets
-Reduce size, weight and power for smaller pocket configurations
• Weapon Mounted Device:
-Wireless universal power source rail system
-Capturing biometric data for facial recognition
-Multispectral night vision
-Wireless Import/export data or images
-Sensing wind speed/direction to 1000 – 2000m; calculate ballistic offsets
-Range dependent disturbed reticle sight
-Adaptive multispectral night vision
-Reducing complexity, weight, and bulk
-Cost and complexity reduction
• Fires / LASERs:
-Non-laser marking device or passive target engagement.
-Incorporation of terrestrial and celestial navigation into Joint Terminal Attack Controller (JTAC) equipment
-Integration of INS equipment with minimal start up time
-JTAC Simulation equipment
-Long Range image data transmission
-Non-proliferated band (out of band) illuminator/laser/sensor
-Non-laser marking device or passive target engagement.
-IR laser illuminator adjustable for short to long range use in one package
-Reducing complexity, weight, and bulk
-Cost and complexity reduction

Weapon Systems
• Round count and Tracking for weapon maintenance, barrel change

Ammunition/Demolition
• Polymer Cased lightweight ammo

Soldier Protection, Survival and Equipment Systems
• Hard Armor
-Lightweight
-Modular
• Special Operations Eye Protection
-Improved Anti-Fogging
-RX Options
-Improved Laser Protection
-Transition Lenses
• VAS Mounts
-Low Profile / Lighter Weight
-Interoperable with Multiple VAS Systems
• Website development for Special Operations Personal Equipment Advance Requirement (SPEAR) Asset Management

Tactical Combat Casualty Care Medical Systems

Find, Fix, Finish, Exploitation and Analyze

Read all of the details on what the day will entail and how to submit at www.fbo.gov.

SOCOM Interested In FR Combat Shirt and Pants

Friday, April 19th, 2013

The folks at Program Manager-Special Operations Forces Survival, Support & Equipment Systems (PM-SOF SSES) office at the U.S. Army Soldier Research Development, and Engineering Center, Natick, MA have been pretty busy. Recently, they issued RFIs for Snow camo and Overwhite garments. Now, they are seeking FR combat uniforms for test and evaluation purposes as well as the the fabric that the garment is made from.

PCU level 9 Photo – US Army SFC Keith Turner

This is a pretty interesting Sources Sought Notice on a variety of levels. First off, with one exception SOF have not been using FR uniforms. MARSOC has been purchasing FR combat uniforms in Woodland camouflage from several sources for the past few years. Second, they already have an approved combat uniform that was developed specifically for their use and that the PCU Level 9. Finally, Natick has tested virtually every FR uniform fabric available. In fact, the results of that testing is available in the same building as PM-SOF SESS.

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The desired characteristics in this RFI are generic at best and you can see those quoted below. If the desire is to field an FR combat uniform for SOF that can be accomplished in one of three fashions with little to no risk.

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Both the US Army and Marine Corps already field FR combat uniforms in the form of the Army Combat Shirt and newly developed Army Combat Pant and the Marines field the Fire Resistant Operational Gear ensemble. Another option, if neither of those garments meet SOF requirements is, to take the approved PCU level 9 uniform and manufacture it from one of the myriad of FR fabrics currently available.

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SOCOM is seeking:
This uniform will consist of two garments; pants and combat shirt. Both will be produced with materials which provide fire resistant performance characteristics. The design and material performance characteristics are detailed below. All garments submitted to this solicitation will be reviewed and evaluated for operational efficacy. This uniform is intended for use by USSOCOM Operators, and as such must be effective in all operational environments, and be compatible with all Operator equipment.

Design characteristics:

Pants
* Sized in 2-inch waist increments
* Two front hand pockets
* Two back pockets
* Two large pleated cargo pockets
* Mechanism at lower leg hem to allow for fit adjustments of pants legs

Combat Shirt
* Collar, shoulders and sleeves shall be the same material as the pants and blouse
* Torso shall be a lightweight, moisture-wicking material
* length zipper across the center front
* Two upper sleeve pockets
* Sleeves shall have adjustable tabs at the wrists

Material physical performance:

In addition to the physical performance, any material submitted must be capable of being produced in military camouflage patterns and meet associated near-infrared requirements.

Interested companies are asked to submit one sample of the each garment, pants and combat shirt, in order to demonstrate the design. These samples must be produced in the material that is being submitted. In addition to the sample garments, please include 3 yards of the material to be utilized for physical performance testing, as well as a report showing any test results already obtained for the material. Pricing and size range for each garment should also be provided. Submissions must be received by 16 May 2013. Each company is authorized only one design and one material submission.

Currently, there are only two manufacturers that offer both their own FR fabrics as well as finished goods made from that fabric so this is a pretty curious RFI. Everyone else will be offering combat uniforms in someone else’s fabric. So the question is, what are they actually looking for? Garment designs or FR fabric solutions? Government solutions for both are readily available. Granted, a true FR solution must combine garment design with FR materials to ensure it provides ample coverage but generally, this involves tweaking of an existing garment once an FR fabric is selected.

Manufacturing these garments may well not be an option as SOCOM’s approved requirement for environmental and combat clothing is PCU and it must be manufactured by a directed source; NISH.

Perhaps this is the team’s answer to not being able to interact with industry at trade shows due to budget cutbacks and it will allow them to see the latest and greatest. Or worse yet, maybe its an unlikely case that they can’t afford to manufacture samples and it’s their way of soliciting free test samples. Although, they do say that they will buy additional garments from respondents who have a concept the Government wants to examine further.

As with all Sources Sought Notices, industry will provide their sample garment, sample fabric and proposal/pricing on their own dime. With the current state of industry (and government procurement dollars) everyone has to ask themselves whether the money expended to answer these RFIs is a good risk. Is there a real possibility of a pay off?

For those who are interested, find the Sources Sought Notice along with specific information on the FR performance specs at www.FBO.gov

Natick SOF Office Issues Changes to Winter Camo RFI

Thursday, March 21st, 2013

There has been a great deal of industry interest in USSOCOM’s recent call for winter/snow camo examples through their Program Manager-Special Operations Forces Survival, Support & Equipment Systems (PM-SOF SSES) office at Natick. Since releasing the Sources Sought Notice last week they have changed the request to industry slightly. But those few changes make for big differences.

Two really stand out.

First, rather than just providing visual camouflage, the patterns must now also provide IR concealment which makes total sense.

The camouflage pattern should be designed to provide concealment in alpine to sub-alpine environments, where snow, ice and rocks are the primary environmental features. The camouflage patterns should provide concealment in both the visual and near infrared ranges.
Camouflage patterns submitted to this sources sought solicitation must be beyond the development phase, and be printable on lightweight synthetic materials.

Second, the option of submitting three patterns per company has unexpectedly been curtailed to one. Naturally, this doesn’t preclude a company from working through a partner to submit additional patterns.

Interested companies may submit one camouflage pattern which meets the description above for this solicitation.

You can read the updates at www.fbo.gov.

USSOCOM Interested in Snow Camouflage

Monday, March 18th, 2013

As last as last month, during the Military Mountain and Cold Weather Work Shop, snow camouflage was discussed and there was no formal requirement for it. So I found it most interesting that Natick’s Program Manager-Special Operations Forces Survival, Support & Equipment Systems (PM-SOF SSES) initially released a Sources Sought Notice for Winter/Snow Camouflage on 14 March and then just today released an additional Sources Sought Notice for Over Whites. Both were issued on FedBizOpps and they are looking for at this point are samples. Perhaps, from this an actual RFP will be developed and released.

It is important to note that this is for USSOCOM only and that the current US Army Camouflage Improvement Effort did not identify a requirement for Winter/Snow Camouflage. The US Marine Corps fields a pattern that was developed by HyperStealth but access to this pattern by other military organizations has been difficult.

USMC snow camo

For the Camo Pattern of which there are now a multitude of commercially derived examples, they are “…seeking winter/snow camouflage patterns for possible use on over white garments. The camouflage pattern should be designed to provide concealment in alpine to sub-alpine environments, where snow, ice and rocks are the primary environmental features.

Camouflage patterns submitted to this sources sought solicitation must be beyond the development phase, and be printable on lightweight synthetic materials.

Interested parties are asked to submit three yards of material, preferably a lightweight synthetic material, with the camouflage pattern printed on it for evaluation by PM-SOF SSES by 2 April 2013.” As you can see, not a lot of direction. It’s really more of a “hey, show us what you got.

The Over White RFI on the other hand is a little more detailed.

Parka
* Anorak style jacket large enough to fit over PCU Level 7/ high-loft jacket
* Half zip in the front center
* Large zippered pocket on the bottom front starting just below half zip, large enough to fit mittens
* Pass through pockets to access items in interior garment pockets or on body armor vest/load carriage
* Hood with drawstring which fits over helmet and PCU Level 7 hood
* Drawstring around the waist
* Coverage to approximately 4 inches below waistline when high-loft jacket is worn

Pants
* Full side zippers
* Two-way zippers
* Front button closure
* Two interior horizontal suspender attachment points
* Waistband with drawstring closure
* Mechanism at the end of each leg which will keep pants from riding up, i.e. hook or elastic band to attach to boots

The key physical performance characteristics that the material will be evaluated for are weight, compressibility and water resistance. Wind resistance and breathability are desired, but are secondary to the aforementioned key performance characteristics. The total cost of the parka is not to exceed $75, and the cost of the pants is not to exceed $50.

Companies are asked to submit one sample of the over white parka and pants in order to demonstrate the design, and can submit up to three different materials for evaluation. For each material submitted please include 2 yards of the material to be utilized for physical performance testing, as well as a report showing any test results already obtained for the material by 12 April 2013.

As this thing was originally discussed at the Military Mountain and Cold Weather Work Shop so I’m happy to see that something came out of it.

SOCOM Adopts Polartec Alpha as Insulation for PCU Level 3a

Friday, January 11th, 2013

This isn’t the first time that we’ve mentioned SOCOM’s Block 2 PCU Level 3a or its use of Polartec’s materials. Polartec has a long history of providing innovative fabric solutions for not only SOCOM’s Protective Combat Uniform program but for all of DoD. What’s more, their manufacturing partner is Patagonia. They too have a long history of supporting SOF and other specialized units going back to the 80s. In 3ID LRS I was issued blue Patagonia polypropylene long underwear and pile jacket and overalls in Germany in the late 80s. Later, Patagonia developed the Military Advanced Regulator System. Now, they are responsible for the design and manufacture of PCU. Below is the press release on this new insulation technology option for USSOCOM.

Polartec and Patagonia Collaborate to Provide Breakthrough Fabric Technology to Every Special Forces Operator
Patagonia PCU L3aJanuary 8, 2013 – (Lawrence, Mass.) – Polartec, the developer, manufacturer, and marketer of Polartec performance fabrics, has worked closely with the U.S. Special Operations Forces (SOF) to develop Polartec®Alpha, a new synthetic insulation technology that creates the first-ever breathable “puffy” garments for active warmth. The Special Forces are the first adopters of this breakthrough fabric technology and are presently fielding Polartec Alpha jackets designed by Patagonia to all SOF operators.

POL_Alpha_smallUnlike down and existing synthetic insulations, Polartec Alpha provides active warmth that allows air exchange for breathability and comfort in more dynamic situations. It was developed to meet the specific performance requirements of the United States Military Special Operations Forces. The development brief required materials that are warm, wind resistant, highly durable, quick drying and more breathable than any existing insulation products. In field and lab testing, Polartec Alpha received the highest testing results of any Polartec product ever tested by the Special Operations Forces evaluation team. The garment will replace two to three layers, reducing costs, saving weight in the field and improving combat effectiveness.

In close collaboration with Polartec, Patagonia designed and developed the overall garment design for SOF. The company spent months maximizing the details of the design to take full advantage of the performance characteristics of Polartec Alpha. The final product is the SOF Protective Combat Uniform Level 3A Jacket, a standard issue piece fielded to every Special Forces Operator in the service.

“Polartec Alpha is a significant technical achievement that has created an entirely new class of fabric technology,” says David Costello, Polartec’s Military Business Manager. “This fabric innovation has been made possible due to our longstanding relationship with the Special Forces and has come to fruition in a final garment through the creativity and drive of the Patagonia design team. The demanding mission profile of the SOF operators requires absolute performance from every element of the operator’s ensemble. Polartec Alpha meets this test and has tremendous potential as a platform for future development.”

“Patagonia constantly works with suppliers to push the limits of what is possible. We have been pushing these limits with Polartec for several decades now; the result has been many groundbreaking products over the course of those years, culminating into this pinnacle innovation. This technology allows technical product designer/developers an interesting new challenge for the next several years; to ‘dial in’ the perfect CFM (or breathability) of a low loft garment,” says Eric Neuron, Patagonia’s Director of Strategic Product. “Without the demands and feedback from Special Forces Operators, this jacket and technology would not exist. We are very proud to support their needs. ”

SOCOM Purchases New Armor Plates

Friday, September 28th, 2012

According the the Department of Defense, on 21 September 2012 –

Leading Technology Composites Inc., Wichita, Kansas, is being awarded a firm-fixed-price contract (92222-12-0-0024), for the purchase or Special Operations Forces personal equipment advanced requirements ballistic plates in support of U.S. Special Operations Command (USSOCOM). The contract value is not to exceed $24,912,093. The work will be performed in Wichita, Kan., and delivery will be completed by September 2013. U.S. Special Operations Command, MacDill Air Force Base, Fla., is the contracting activity.

PCU Pocket Users Guide

Monday, June 4th, 2012

In concert with Kwikpoint, makers of waterproof basic language guides currently in use in theater, ADS is offering a pocket users guide describing PCU components, environmental conditions and a wheel to help the user correlate components with conditions. Although the aide memoire depicts the Block 1 version of PCU the garments of Block 2 are quite similar and function in the same way. In fact, it is a must for users of any multi-component environmental clothing system.

PCU Level 9 Kneepads

Thursday, May 24th, 2012

Yesterday, we showed you a picture of the knee of USSOCOM’s Protective Combat Uniform level 9 combat uniform component manufactured by ReadyOne. You may have noticed these interesting holes on the corners of the double knee.

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The holes are for a new two-part kneepad system developed by Patagonia for this uniform.

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The two-piece design consists of a foam padding component that fits inside the double knee through a slot in the bottom that is secured with Velcro. The male portions of the snaps are aligned in the four holes located at the corners of the double knee and the outer, hard plastic shell is snapped into place, providing abrasion resistance and protection from sharp objects.

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As you can see, they snap together and fit through those holes. These are only made for the PCU Level 9 and are not compatible with any other system.

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As an added bonus here is a snapshot of the Block 2 PCU Level 3A we wrote about back in January. It uses a Polartec fleece-based insulation sandwiched between a level 4 face fabric and a soft nylon backer fabric. As you can see, it is quilted like the old field jacket liner and is very comfortable. Level 3 now offers 3 options. The classic fleece level 3 jacket, this model (3A) and the 3B which features a WL Gore fabric story.

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