Aug. 11 (UPI) -- Lockheed Martin has received a $12.9 million U.S. Defense Department contract for the Squad X Experimentation program for dismounted infantry combat systems.
The contract will go toward design and testing for prototypes of equipment for combined-arms squads. Work will be conducted in Grand Prairie, Texas and other locations throughout the U.S. and should finish by Aug. 14, 2019.
The Squad X Core Technologies program is an effort by the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency to develop easy-to-use man-portable gear for dismounted infantry. Mechanized and airborne units have access to real-time surveillance feeds and other technology that is otherwise too bulky, heavy and complex for a small unit on foot to leverage.
Its primarily focuses are precision engagement, non-kinetic engagement, squad sensing and squad autonomy.
These goals include improving situational awareness of dismounted troops in cluttered environments -- such as urban combat out to 1000 meters, where threats can emerge from any direction. It also seeks to employ and counter electronic warfare and cyber attacks at the squad level and provide better integration with unmanned vehicles and aircraft, as well as their surveillance and weapons capabilities.
The U.S. military has long sought to deploy more sophisticated technology for the individual soldier with programs like Land Warrior. High costs and the difficulties of using sophisticated equipment while moving on foot in complicated environments has delayed deployment.