The U.S. Army is developing a brand new piece of technology ripped straight out of “Call of Duty” — Tactical Augmented Reality, a heads-up display designed to enhance situational awareness under any conditions.
A one-inch by one-inch eyepiece, the TAR was developed by Army Research, Development and Engineering Command's Communications-Electronics Research, Development and Engineering Center as the equivalent of night-vision goggles on steroids. The eyepiece constantly feeds GPS and video data through a monochromatic heads-up display that functions day or night, from a 2D overlay of an area of operations to real-time designating fellow squadmates, mission targets and enemy forces.
The TAR technology enables a tiny, heads-up display attached to the helmet, as modeled by Staff Sgt. Ronald Geer, a counterterrorism non-commissioned officer at CERDEC's Night Vision and Electronics Sensors Directorate, during Lab Day at the Pentagon, May 18, 2017.Photo via DoD
Staff Sgt. Ronald Geer, a counterterrorism NCO at CERDEC's Night Vision and Electronics Sensors Directorate, said that the eyepiece can connect wirelessly to a soldier’s body camera, a tactical tablet like these recently ordered by the service, and even the thermal sight mounted on an assault weapon.
Through a split screen, a soldier can peek downrange by raising his rifle above cover without exposing himself.
The TAR unit.Photo via DoD
Most importantly, each TAR augments situational awareness not just for individual soldiers, but entire units. According to Greer, the TAR’s wireless uplink allows troops to share info with far-flung comrades on the battlefield or back at HQ.
When you describe it like that, it really does like a “Call Of Duty” comms channel with fewer adolescent boys and gay jokes. Just look at the damn video:
According to the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), several TAR prototypes are already getting a workout with “certain units” downrange.
We can’t wait to see the DoD’s highlight reel of these guys in action — just as soon as I’m done with this game.
Every once in a while, we run across a photo in The Times-Picayune archives that's so striking that it begs a simple question: "What in the name of Momus Alexander Morgus is going on in this New Orleans photograph?" When we do, we've decided, we're going to share it — and to attempt to answer that question.
Members of the Syrian Democratic Forces control the monitor of their drone at their advanced position, during the fighting with Islamic State's fighters in Nazlat Shahada, a district of Raqqa. (Reuters/Zohra Bensemra)
MUSCAT (Reuters) - The United States should keep arming and aiding the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) following the planned U.S. withdrawal from Syria, provided the group keeps up the pressure on Islamic State, a senior U.S. general told Reuters on Friday.
Long before Tony Stark took a load of shrapnel to the chest in a distant war zone, science fiction legend Robert Heinlein gave America the most visceral description of powered armor for the warfighter of the future. Forget the spines of extra-lethal weaponry, the heads-up display, and even the augmented strength of an Iron Man suit — the real genius, Heinlein wrote in Starship Troopers, "is that you don't have to control the suit; you just wear it, like your clothes, like skin."
"Any sort of ship you have to learn to pilot; it takes a long time, a new full set of reflexes, a different and artificial way of thinking," explains Johnny Rico. "Spaceships are for acrobats who are also mathematicians. But a suit, you just wear."
First introduced in 2013, U.S. Special Operations Command's Tactical Assault Light Operator Suit (TALOS) purported to offer this capability as America's first stab at militarized powered armor. And while SOCOM initially promised a veritable Iron Man-style tactical armor by 2018, a Navy spokesman told Task & Purpose the much-hyped exoskeleton will likely never get off the launch pad.
"The prototype itself is not currently suitable for operation in a close combat environment," SOCOM spokesman Navy Lt. Phillip Chitty told Task & Purpose, adding that JATF-TALOS has no plans for an external demonstration this year. "There is still no intent to field the TALOS Mk 5 combat suit prototype."