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MARSOC Multi-Purpose Canine Handlers Conduct Desert Training

Wednesday, November 15th, 2023

CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. – Instructors with Marine Forces Special Operations Command recently hosted the final phase of training for prospective Marines working toward becoming multi-purpose canine handlers for the command, Oct. 1-20, 2023.

The course, which is also used as continuing education training for senior MPCs and handlers, encompasses all aspects of requisite skills that a special operations capability specialist needs to be successful while attached to a Marine Special Operations Company. Everything from tactical movements to engaging enemy combatants is done with the canines right by the side of their handlers.

The portion of the course known as the desert package culminates all of the training the handlers and canines had been through while also shifting the environment to one that is unfamiliar.

“We have individually done all of the things we are being asked to do here,” said a student handler. “The change in environment, to something you just won’t see in North Carolina, challenges us to put it all together and really make sure we understand our dog and their personality.”

MPCs and handlers within MARSOC have a high bar to achieve. In addition to being the only special operations component that uses subject matter experts in canine handling to work on the teams, the canines themselves have more asked of them than normal.

“MARSOC really sets itself apart because we train to proficiency in all three facets of canine work,” said a senior MPC handler. “all of our dogs are capable of apprehension, or bites, explosive detection, and tracking, requiring a higher level of training”

To be able to accommodate the heightened requirements for the MPCs, the handlers are trained differently as well.

“Our handlers are not just handlers, they are trained to be trainers,” an MPC handler added. “There is a level of knowledge that goes beyond just working with the dog. Our handlers are capable of going to a partner nation and training their dogs and handlers to proficiency as well.”

Upon successful completion of the training pipeline, both students and canines are fully certified to be a working MPC team. Those teams then continue preparations to join a company and eventually deploy alongside critical skills operators and special operations officers on a team.

The multi-purpose canine handler pipeline is open to those within the 5800 military police occupational field. Interested Marines should reach out to a MARSOC recruiter to learn more about the opportunity.

Story by Cpl Henry Rodriguez II 

Marine Forces, Special Operations Command

LEON and the Corps’ Robotic Revolution in the Global Littorals

Monday, November 13th, 2023

Marine Corps Base Quantico, Va. —

As the Marine Corps prepares to take the fight to the global littorals, Marine Corps Systems Command’s Program Manager for Explosive Hazard Defeat’s Littoral Explosive Ordnance Neutralization—LEON–integrated product team is working on fielding a family of systems to strengthen Marine Corps mine warfare capabilities. 

Designed to address the concerns outlined in the Littoral Operations in a Contested Environment guidance, these systems fortify Marines’ mine warfare capabilities as the Corps continues with the strategic modernization outlined in former Commandant of the Marine Corps, Gen. David H. Berger’s seminal Force Design guidance.

The LEON family of systems encompasses various capabilities, among which the Explosive Ordnance Disposal Remotely Operated Vehicle—or ROV—stands out as an integral component. This innovative amphibious, unmanned robot system is specifically designed to detect, locate, reacquire, mark to avoid, render safe/neutralize, recover, exploit, and dispose of underwater explosive threats in the very shallow water, surf zone, beach zone and littoral transition points.

This bleeding-edge robotic technology—along with its integrated family of capabilities—strives to secure safe maneuverability for Marines within the littoral regions, extending support to the explosive ordnance disposal community and enhancing the overall service proficiency.

According to Product Manager for Explosive Hazard Defeat Rick Daley, LEON is a tool which will allow the support of ship-to-shore and shore-to-ship lane clearing operations more safely and effectively. 

“If we aim to conduct operations as part of a MAGTF or drug task force, it necessitates a World War II style island-hopping campaign, requiring safe access to the islands. Our adversaries will be trying to stop us, though. With the advent of the LEON initiative, the strategy shifts to ‘tech to avoid’—identifying safe lanes through minefields and enabling forces to securely land on the beaches,” he said.

This innovative new system ultimately aligns with Force Design’s modernization guidance, which calls on the Corps to, “acknowledge the impacts of proliferated precision long-range fires, mines, and other smart weapons, and seek innovative ways to overcome these threat capabilities.”

The LEON team has certainly taken the call to innovate seriously. A notable facet of the team’s strength is its proactive stance towards embracing emergent technologies, thereby fostering state-of-the-art solutions tailored for the complexities of 21st-century naval warfare.

This forward-thinking approach not only underscores their commitment to enhancing maritime operational efficacy but also positions them at the vanguard of navigating the multifaceted challenges inherent in contemporary littoral combat scenarios.

According to Daley, “It’s imperative to note that unlike many unmanned capabilities, such as drones, our systems operate fully submerged. Until the acoustic communications are fully online, direct communication isn’t necessarily possible. Therefore, there’s a need for either pre-programming or having advanced software programming to enable complete autonomous operation. This allows the system to execute the required tasks and then return to a recoverable location, which is crucial. Without such measures, we’re merely deploying assets with the hope that they fulfill the intended objectives.”

 “If we aim to conduct operations as part of a MAGTF or drug task force, it necessitates a World War II style island-hopping campaign, requiring safe access to the islands. Our adversaries will be trying to stop us, though. With the advent of the LEON initiative, the strategy shifts to ‘tech to avoid’—identifying safe lanes through minefields and enabling forces to securely land on the beaches,” 

-Rick Daley, Product Manager for Explosive Hazard Defeat

One of the ways that the LEON team has been able to gain so much success here is through the fostering of untraditional partnerships across the Corps’ – with a special focus on direct feedback from the fleet. According to Ronald Diefenbach, LEON project officer, this has made all of the difference.

He noted, “Our collaboration with [Naval Information Warfare Center] Pacific has been pivotal in refining our platforms. Furthermore, we had the advantage of having a Marine from I Marine Expeditionary Force, I MEF, embedded with NIWC Pacific from the program’s outset, providing real-time feedback during the development process. This setup significantly bridged any communication gap, ensuring our technological advancements are aligned with practical operational needs from the very beginning of the development stage.”

Similarly, Diefenbach noted how always picking the right contract vehicle for specific parts of the project helps save time—and ultimately—taxpayer dollars. And with the LEON team moving so quickly, the future of the program certainly looks bright.

This was exemplified in a 2021 exercise when Marines from I and III MEF conducted a littoral mobility exercise, showcasing how this bleeding-edge tech can be utilized in joint-force operations with the Navy.

The collaboration between the 9th Engineer Support Battalion, 3d Marine Logistics Group, 7th ESB, 1st MLG and U.S. Navy Explosive Ordnance Disposal Mobile Unit 1 ultimately demonstrated the seamless integration of diverse capabilities to establish secure beachheads for amphibious operations.

The exercise highlighted the pivotal role of integrated capabilities in supporting naval maneuver, aligning with the tenets of Force Design 2030 to enhance real-time situational awareness and expedite decision-making in amphibious environments.

At the time, 1st Lt. Brandon Cavil, who then served as Littoral Engineer Reconnaissance Team officer in charge, noted the “exercise was all about honing the Marine Corps’ interoperability with the Navy, specifically addressing where we can provide redundant and complementary capabilities.”

Ultimately, the success of the LEON team is a testament to the foresight of the 2017 Littoral Operations in a Contested Environment document and underscores the growing importance of naval mine warfare as the Corps continues its strategic shift towards the Indo-Pacific.

This important advance in maritime technology has not gone unnoticed. In recognition for their efforts, the LEON Integrated Product Team received the Department of the Navy’s 2023 Ron Kiss Maritime Technology Transition Award, which honors outstanding achievement in the defense acquisition community for successfully transitioning a technology into a program of record or operational use.

By transcending traditional paradigms and fostering a culture of innovation and adaptability, Product Manager Explosive Hazard Defeat is not only responding to the shifting needs of the modern battlefield—it’s actively influencing the future of naval warfare. As the Marine Corps continues its strategic shift to the Indo-Pacific– guided by Force Design– the robotic technology that is being developed by the LEON team will play a vital role in navigating the dynamic and complex global littorals—ensuring the warfighter is prepared to fight and win when duty calls.

By Johannes Schmidt, Marine Corps Systems Command Office of Public Affairs and Communication | Marine Corps Systems Command

FirstSpear Friday Focus – Honoring Our Veterans

Friday, November 10th, 2023

Today, we offer our deepest gratitude to the brave men and women who have served our country in times of war and peace. We honor their bravery, sacrifice, and steadfast resolve in the face of adversity. We are inspired by their selflessness and dedication to serving a cause greater than themselves. To all of the veterans who have served our country, we offer our sincerest thanks. Your contributions to our nation will never be forgotten.

The FirstSpear family is no stranger to the sacrifices made by veterans. Our team includes many veterans who have served our country with distinction. We are incredibly proud of their service and grateful for their contributions to our company.

We also wish a happy 248th birthday to the United States Marines Corps.

Forging the Future: How Advanced Manufacturing Is Revolutionizing Marine Corps Logistics

Wednesday, October 18th, 2023

Marine Corps Base Quantico, Va. —

As the United States Marine Corps continues to execute its strategic shift towards the Indo-Pacific, the importance of overcoming the logistical challenges of the modern battlefield has become increasingly evident. At the vanguard of this transformative landscape, Marine Corps Systems Command’s Advanced Manufacturing Systems team, or AMS team, is innovating to overcome the logistical challenges of the modern battlefield.

As stated in the Marine Corps’ Installations and Logistics guidance, to succeed on the modern battlefield, the Corps “will need a logistics enterprise fully integrated with the broader objectives of Force Design, capable of supporting multi-domain and distributed operations in contested environments.”

Keeping these insights in focus, the AMS team is leading the charge to field bleeding-edge solutions to ensure the warfighter has access to mission-critical equipment and replacement parts without having to rely on traditional supply lines or navigate the constraints of iron mountains.

According to Matt Audette, AMS program analyst, having the ability to essentially 3D print key components on the battlefield could stand to revolutionize how the Corps thinks about logistics.

“With its smaller footprint and easy-to-use technology, we can construct essential components right on the battlefield, making us nimbler and more responsive in any combat scenario.”

-Matt Audette, AMS program analyst

“In a nutshell, additive manufacturing is a game-changer for the Marine Corps. It allows us to repair equipment and innovate solutions right on the frontline,” said Audette. “With its smaller footprint and easy-to-use technology, we can construct essential components right on the battlefield, making us nimbler and more responsive in any combat scenario.”

When speaking to the AMS team, there appears to be a consensus that this innovative approach to manufacturing enables rapid delivery of mission-critical components to the front lines, with multiple subject matter experts underscoring the significance of augmenting the traditional supply chain.

“Parts break—that’s the reality of the battlefield,” said Robert Davies, AMS team lead. “You used to have two simple choices: bring the parts or order the parts. Our advanced manufacturing solutions rewrite that playbook. Now, we can actually manufacture essential components right in the combat zone. When something breaks, a call is made: ‘We need a component.’ No more ‘We forgot it’ or ‘It’ll take months to arrive.’ We contact our machinists and within a couple of hours, we’re making and sending parts back up to the frontline.”

While it might be tempting to view advanced manufacturing as a futuristic endeavor still on the horizon, recent successes suggest otherwise and Marines are now empowered to create stand-alone items such as hand tools, jigs, table models, training aids, and even vehicle parts.

Just this past June, Navy and Marine engineers demonstrated the technology’s real-world potential by successfully 3D-printing a medical cast aboard a Marine Corps Osprey in mid-flight—demonstrating not only an increase in operational survivability but also an enhancement in battlefield lethality by minimizing downtime and accelerating troop readiness.

Similar successes to those achieved with the medical cast are seen in the creation of vehicle parts, with the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle serving as a prime example.

“We’re taking what our guiding documents say about modern day battlefield foraging and creating a real capability to do so with repair parts,” said Audette. “With our 3D printers and CNC mills, we can now craft these parts right where the fight is happening. What’s more, our allies possess the same industrial capabilities as we find here in the US. This also means that whether we’re in Darwin, the Philippines, or Japan, we can harness local expertise and resources to ensure our equipment remains mission-ready without relying on traditional supply chains.”

Dr. Kristin Holzworth, chief scientist on the AMS team, explains that this capability becomes increasingly vital as the Corps continues its strategic shift towards the Indo-Pacific.

“We have to do some very creative work to do additive manufacturing and 3D printing forward.”

-Gen., Eric M. Smith, Commandant of the Marine Corps

“Large-scale advanced manufacturing offers a solution to complement our limited assets. What makes it truly advantageous is its adaptability. Unlike traditional manufacturing, where we conform to one build, with 3D printing, we tailor each print to the specific mission’s requirements,” she noted.

Ultimately, advanced manufacturing technologies help advance Force Design’s transformative goal of creating, “Smaller but better-connected formations that organically possess a complete kill chain appropriate to echelon, and that can prevail in a contested operating environment.”

Citing “major end items” such as aircraft engines and propellers, Gen. Eric M. Smith, Commandant of the Marine Corps, recently told the Senate Armed Services Committee, “We have to do some very creative work to do additive manufacturing and 3D printing forward,” stressing the importance of taking pressure off of the lines that come from the United States through contested logistics areas.

After all, as he noted, “Every pound matters when you’re trying to move things across the expanse of the Pacific.”

As the Marine Corps continues its journey towards modernization under Force Design and the challenges posed by a pivot to the Pacific, feedback from Marines on the ground has been overwhelmingly positive. Notably, younger generations of Marines, who have grown up in a digital age, are embracing advanced manufacturing technologies with remarkable ease.

According to Audette, “The advantage of additive manufacturing is its accessibility and rapid training. Unlike traditional machining, which requires months of training and involves large equipment, additive manufacturing’s smaller machines have a lower learning curve. Many junior Marines already have experience with 3D printers, enabling us to quickly train them in a matter of days, enhancing readiness and problem-solving capabilities.”

This easy access to the capability aligns closely with the objectives of Talent Management, which urges the Corps to cultivate an adaptive, highly skilled force that can “solve problems faster and more creatively.”

“Advanced manufacturing isn’t about replacing traditional production lines; it’s about supplementing them.”

-Robert Davies, AMS team lead

But advanced manufacturing does much more than reduce iron mountains and streamline logistical demands; it also offers significant cost savings to the taxpayer.

“In traditional manufacturing, it takes time to scale production and achieve cost efficiency. With additive manufacturing, we reach optimal cost on day one, making it possible to produce low-volumes of parts efficiently” Audette explained.

It is important to understand, however, that this capability is not meant to replace industry partnerships; rather, it serves as a crucial alternative for the warfighter in the heat of battle who cannot afford to wait for traditional resupply channels to fill a request.

“Advanced manufacturing isn’t about replacing traditional production lines; it’s about supplementing them,” said Davies. “We’re not here to mass-produce hundreds of components in an hour—that’s for dedicated facilities. What we offer is the ability to produce a limited number of key components on-site when they’re urgently needed, all while respecting intellectual property laws. This shortens the supply chain and enables rapid response, whether that means getting Marines into the fight quicker or extracting them more safely.”

 The AMS team is not solely focused on monetary or cost savings; instead, the true triumphs are found in the logistical innovation and the time efficiencies that heighten combat readiness.

Ultimately, advanced manufacturing is a pivot point in military logistics, crystallizing the future of warfare into an immediate reality. By infusing cutting-edge technology into the very sinews of Marine Corps operations, the AMS team is not only revolutionizing logistics but also fundamentally altering how we conceive of readiness and adaptability on the 21st-century battlefield.

As the Marine Corps intensifies its focus on global littorals, particularly within the intricate geopolitics of the Indo-Pacific, advanced manufacturing emerges as a crucial enabler for sustaining combat effectiveness. This technological leap is more than a contingency; it’s a strategic imperative. By melding innovation with real-world application, the Corps isn’t just gearing up for future conflicts—they’re actively shaping the battlespace of tomorrow.

By Johannes Schmidt, MCSC Office of Public Affairs and Communication | Marine Corps Systems Command |

Editor’s note: Learn more about how the AMS team is redefining the Corps’ logistical capabilities on MARCORSYSCOM’s Equipping the Corps podcast, featuring Matt Audette, here:

Welcome to the Jungle: MARSOC Diversifies Training Environment

Wednesday, September 27th, 2023

HAWAII – A team of Marine Raiders recently completed a jungle tracking and mobility course as part of their pre-deployment training program.

The course, administered by instructors from the Tactical Tracking Operations School, teaches mobility in a jungle environment, rope and rappel work, jungle tracking, and anti-tracking techniques.

For roughly two weeks, the team worked on enhancing these skills to be able to effectively operate in a jungle environment while deployed.

“Looking at the Pacific and deployments in that region, learning these skills is essential,” said a critical skills operator. “For so long we trained for desert environments and now we have to look at where we could be needed next, and the jungle is top of that list.”

Since 2015, TTOS has been offering some manner of jungle training for U.S. Special Operations Command units, and in 2021, upon the arrival of their current vice president, Cody Carroll, the program began to evolve into what it is today.

“My last deployment as a reconnaissance officer was to the Pacific region,” said Carroll. “Through my own research and training, I realized most units didn’t have the hard skills or training to succeed in this environment.”

The creation of the current course was not about creating a new, innovative program, but more about getting back to how historical forces would have trained.

“These same problems that we have now: low visibility, difficulty for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance platforms, broken communications, and logistical issues, they all existed for troops during WWII and Vietnam,” Carroll said. “We didn’t need to reinvent the wheel, just build the skills that we stopped training because we spent 20 years in the desert.”

Throughout the two weeks, the team trained in every aspect of jungle mobility. They had to navigate thick brush, scale and rappel cliff faces, and traverse rivers and other water features. All while either tracking an adversary or preventing an adversary from being able to track them.

They also spent time learning jungle specific counter improvised explosive device techniques, reaction to contact in dense vegetation, and setting and countering ambushes.

“You see guys that are newer to the team start out very hesitant in these different drills and in tracking,” said a CSO. “By the end of it, the confidence is through the roof, you’ll see those same guys find a track and maneuver the jungle like they’ve been doing it their whole lives.”

The course culminates with an exercise designed to last up to 72 hours where the students are ambushed by an adversary and must regroup and utilize their command and control to organize tracking teams to capture the adversary using all of the tracking and mobility techniques learned over the two weeks.

The team all responded positively to the training, praising its effectiveness and the foundation it provides for SOF units to build upon as they deploy to regions where this sort of mobility is needed.

“I’ve been through this training with two teams now and both experiences were beneficial to everyone on the team,” a CSO said. “I really think every company that can deploy to a jungle environment should come do this training. It’s invaluable.”

Story by Cpl Henry Rodriguez II,

Marine Forces, Special Operations Command

Depot Tackles Supply Chain Issues with Advanced Manufacturing

Monday, September 11th, 2023

MARINE CORPS LOGISTICS BASE ALBANY, GA – The Marine Corps Advanced Manufacturing Center of Excellence (AM COE) recently helped the Navy solve a supply chain issue for the USS Kentucky.

The Kentucky, an Ohio-class ballistic submarine (SSBN), needed a specifically designed cover for a ventilation system, and a long lead supply chain and the complex geometry of the part meant that a creative solution was needed.

In December, Naval Sea Systems Command’s Trident Refit Facility Bangor (TRFB), which is responsible for repairing, incrementally overhauling and modernizing the Pacific Fleet SSBNs during refits, contacted the Marine Depot Maintenance Command (MDMC). The AM COE, part of the Marine Corps Maintenace Command, leverages AM technology to increase depot production and bolster supply operations and expeditionary capabilities for the Fleet Marine Force.

Aluminum printed by Marine Depot Maintenace Command’s Production Plant Barstow using an EOS 400-1 machine for the USS Kentucky.

When TRFB reached out to the MDMC’s Advanced Manufacturing team for a solution, they answered the call. The Marine Corps AM COE reengineered the provided drawings to meet 3D printer specifications and MDMC’s Production Plant in Barstow, California, 3D printed the aluminum using an EOS 400-1 Machine.

This is the first additively manufactured metallic component produced to solve a supply chain issue on Ohio-Class submarines.

“We appreciate the tremendous work of the Marine Corps Advanced Manufacturing Center,” said CAPT Mike Eberlein, commanding officer, TRFB. “Having access to AM greatly increases our efficiency and this is just one of many examples of multiple commands working together to solve problems for the benefit of our warfighters.”

The Marine Corps AM COE continually explores ways to expand partnerships and welcomes inquiries from organizations across the U.S. Marine Corps, Department of Defense, industry and academia.

Learn more at the AM COE Website: Advanced Manufacturing Center of Excellence

Advanced Infantry Marine Course Hawaii

Thursday, August 17th, 2023


Across the thick jungles and mountainous terrain of Oahu, U.S. Marines participating in the Advanced Infantry Marine Course execute their patrol plans under the watchful eye of their combat tested instructors. Each iteration of the course is mentally rigorous and physically demanding, pushing Marines to the limit of their capabilities, and molding them into ready, highly proficient warriors.

Over seven intense weeks, Marines hone multiple infantry skills such as calling for fire and close air support, patrolling techniques, jungle and urban terrain warfare, and casualty care. Each skill is first taught in the classroom, followed by demonstrations and practical application in the field. For these Hawaii Marines, training took place aboard Marine Corps Training Area Bellows and throughout the Kahuku Training Area, each offering a unique, and realistic venue to prepare for modern warfare. “MCTAB and KTA are perfect for creating authentic and realistic training scenarios for our students…” said Staff Sergeant Ricardo Hernandez, Staff non-commissioned officer in charge for Advanced Infantry Training Battalion, Hawaii Detachment.

[blockquote: “MCTAB serves as a crucial component in shaping the training experiences of our infantry marines.”: Staff Sergeant Ricardo Hernandez, Staff non-commissioned officer in charge for Advanced Infantry Training Battalion, Hawaii Detachment.

“The training areas have been designed to simulate urban environments, encompassing a diverse range of scenarios.”

For the students, all infantry Marines, the tropical climate, and the effects on the body present another variable for consideration during long patrols and extended operations in the field. This additional layer of realism offers a unique opportunity to students to make decisions and gain leadership experience when they are tired, hot, sweaty, and hungry. Sgt. Connor Hoovler, a rifleman with 3d Littoral Combat Team, 3d Marine Littoral Regiment, 3d Marine Division, attests to the environmental impacts, “The climate and humidity make this course more difficult. Staying hydrated and maintaining peak performance are a constant struggle we face.” 

Aside from development of individual skills and the opportunity for Marines to learn more about themselves in stressful situations, AIMC also collectively develops cohesion, teamwork, and camaraderie. Even in the thick and humid jungle air, the students share a common bond – the ‘ohana spirit’ – thought responsible for building strong and resilient families. “Living out in the field for weeks at a time, your Marines to your left and right become life family,” Hoovler added. “Trust and seamless cooperation are crucial for team success.”

At the heart of AIMC lies the development of an adaptable mindset and decisive problem-solving skills. Marines learn to thrive in unpredictable environments and must make sound decisions on the fly. “The ability to devise effective solutions under pressure is invaluable,” said Lance Cpl. Nicholas D’angelo, a rifleman with 3d LCT, 3d MLR, 3d MARDIV. “It instills confidence and transforms us into more capable leaders.” Under high-pressure scenarios, trainees are tasked with crucial leadership roles and decision-making. “During the fleet event, I led my squad through a challenging blocking position, formulating and executing a plan under tight timeframes that tested my leadership abilities,” Hoovler said.

Completing the AIMC is a badge of honor and garners respect within the Marine’s platoon and their entire company. While it is a career requirement for many Marines, it serves as a stepping stone and showcases their dedication to their Military Occupational Specialty. AIMC is more than a training regimen; it’s a transformative journey that forges warriors. “The training environment at Marine Corps Base Hawaii is meticulously designed to deliver an unmatched level of realism, preparing our Marines for the complex and ever-evolving challenges of modern warfare,” said SSgt. Hernandez. These Marines emerge stronger, more resilient, and better equipped to face the unknown challenges that await them on the battlefields of the future, standing ever ready for any clime and place.

By Cpl Cody Purcell | Marine Corps Base Hawaii

Aries Defense Selected for Marine Corps Program of Record

Tuesday, August 15th, 2023

Aries Defense CheckPoints and RECON 5 OverWatch systems join the Marine Corps TCS-GS Remote Surveillance Imager (RSI) capability set

SUFFOLK, Va., Aug. 15, 2023 — Aries Defense, the leading tactical hardware and software solution provider, today announced the Aries Defense CheckPoints and RECON 5 OverWatch (R5O) systems will be utilized by the United States Marine Corps Ground Reconnaissance, Scout, Sniper and Ground Sensor Platoon communities for Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) collection purposes.

The Terrestrial Collections Systems Ground Sensors (TCS-GS) program collaborated with Aries Defense to field the CheckPoints and R5O systems as part of the Remote Surveillance Imager (RSI) capability set. Aries Defense provided exceptional technical expertise, training and customer support during testing and integration phases at the Naval Information Warfare Center Atlantic (NIWC Atlantic).

With the selection of the Aries Defense Checkpoints and R5O kits as a Marine Corps program of record, Marines now have the capability to transmit full motion video from virtually any optic with a video output over any tactical radio at their disposal and manage the resulting data within the full suite of TAK products and MCH.

“At Aries Defense, we specialize in tactical-edge video solutions and help manage network bandwidth at the edge. We are honored to be a part of the Marine Corps’ first major update to its core reconnaissance and surveillance gear set in more than 20 years,” said Douglas Pillsbury, President and CEO at Aries Defense. “The Marine Corps is moving in a direction that has greatly increased the lethality and survivability of the warfighter at the tactical edge and enhanced their ability to ‘see first, sense first, and shoot first.'”

The Aries Defense CheckPoints and R5O Kits provide enhanced situational awareness, force protection and a drastic reduction in the latency of information flow between Marines at the edge of the battlefield and decision makers in the rear. These systems are sensor and tactical radio network agnostic and integrate seamlessly with radios and optics already found in Marine Corps unit inventories across the service, as well as new technologies that are currently in the development and procurement process.

The CheckPoints and R5O systems provide operators the capability to integrate with their existing surveillance systems and further increase their effectiveness by adding in Teledyne FLIR Thermal capability as well as networking previously non-networked legacy systems. The Aries Defense systems are supported by Android standalone, MCH Plugins and ATAK Plugins.

For more information about Aries Defense, please visit