Warrior’s Corner #9: Next Generation Squad Weapons and Future Soldier SA Devices

Warrior’s Corner #9: Next Generation Squad Weapons and Future Soldier SA Devices


– Okay, and we’re gonna get started here with soldier lethality. My name’s Chris Donahue. I’m the CFT Director. Travis Thompson’s my deputy, back here. Chris Schneider and Elliot Kagans are around here. That worked this with us. And then, also we have Mr. Sando and General Britto are also here from the C.O.E. I would tell you that the one thing about this is if there’s any confusion of. Are we completely linked in with everything else that’s going on at Fort Benning? Absolutely. I would tell you our priorities are their priorities. If you would go to the next slide. So, of all the CFTs that are out there. The one thing that is different about ours is Dave Lesperance, my partner in crime down there at Fort Benning. He is very focused on the next generation combat vehicle. Ours is very broad, as you can see up here. So, as you see our programs and our approach. We had to take a little bit different approach. And also, we have a much wider depth of what we’re going on. You can see how we’re defining soldier lethality down there. And then, this is one of the things that we’re already working on. So if you could just read that quote. And keep that in your mind as we go through this brief. Next slide. So, this is the, this is our over-arching purpose. Fight, win, and survive in combat now and tomorrow. We have to start delivering capability for our dismounted soldiers pretty quickly here. This is overall what our mission statement is. But really what I wanna talk to you about is our principles. So the first thing is, that if you put anything into a squad. Specifically, onto a soldier. You can’t really tell us what that impact is. So we have to define that pretty quickly to make sure that we’re developing the right things going forward. We’re only focused on the 100,000 that close with the enemy. And that’s for two purposes. The first one is, this is from a scale perspective, we know that this costs a lot. So we have to make sure that we’re doing that. The other reason is, that we wanna make sure that we’re taking care of people. Not just infantry soldiers. So that includes the platoon medic, the FO, the Cav Scout. And that’s Active, National Guard, and Reserve. That very tiny part. So it’s just not the infantry, active duty squad. You can see that we’re collaborating with everybody. You’ll see some of our marine partners. There’s some SOCOM guys here as well. We just did a session, to put this in a example of, every SOCOM briefed their major programs. The marines briefed their major programs. And then we all agreed who was gonna be driving the different initiatives that are out there. To make sure that we’re doing all the things together. National Guard members, SOFT, they’re all part of our CFT as well. To include all the other agencies that move a product going forward. These user touch points. You just saw that quote that was up there. That’s from both mechanized infantry, or ABCT’s. Or Cav Scouts. And also the traditional Light, Airborne, and Ranger infantry. And then, of course, Striker. Then we wanna move at the speed of war. And we want the technology to be able to grow. We know that technology changes pretty quickly. If it’s not, doesn’t have the ability to grow. We’re probably not interested in bringing it on board as a CFT program. And then, mister Joe Latoi is running around here. He’s the director of the Secretary Mattis’ close combat taskforce. We are very well nested with him. In fact, we spent the morning with him and we’ll spend the afternoon with him. They’ve also provided the bulk of the money for our programs. So that is a very important task force that we’re very well linked into. And then the last one here, is this lethality analysis team. Back when we stood up in November, we realized very quickly that ours was a very broad portfolio. So we wanna make sure that we were going after the right things. So out of all that. That’s where we came up with this. They’re working a number of things for us. I just told you, we have to have the metrics right by the squad. They’re working that. They’re also making sure that we understand what’s out there from an enemy perspective. I see Pete Jones out there. We’re using the Russian New Generation study. And then also what we’re seeing with other near peers. To make sure that we are truly developing things that can accomplish what we need them to. We’re also making sure that all of Industry. We’ve had several Industry days for each topic that we’re looking at. And most recently, when we put this team together we had about 160 members of Industry in there with us. To help develop this. So that’s our basic principles going forward. If you go to next slide. So these are our initial capabilities that we’re trying to develop above the line. And these are the future ones. So as you look at the squad next generation weapon. The first program is to replace the squad automatic weapon. Okay, again, very specific. And that’s going after a very specific capability to defeat a target that’s out there. We’ve shared that information with Industry and For Industry Days. Our first prototype opportunity notice has gone out. So we know that Industry will come back with five prototypes in about a year. And then, we have one government one that we’re working as well. So that’ll be that. The next system that we’ll go after is the replacement of the M-4 carbine. And that’s already becoming a program. And that’ll be the next one. And again, everything we have right now works very well. This is changing because of the threat environment. I wanna make sure everybody understands that. We’re just not changing to change. It’s because of what our peers and near peers have out there in this equipment. A couple different things that are with this. We do know that we’ll have to develop new ammunition for this. And we’re in the process of doing that. And then also, we’ll make sure that we put the best technology for aim augmentation on there. So that you will, what you see is what you kill with your first round. And that will be build into the very first version. Next thing is the enhanced night vision goggles. And really what I describe is, heads up display, version one dot oh. The first one, this is dual tube fusion nods. That we also now will put data and everything up into the you know, reticles of what we’re doing that. We’ve already had three soldier touch points as we test this. And if you look at the increased lethality of our soldiers. Just by taking that thermal reticle off of the weapon and putting it up into their eye. The testing has been off the chart. And this is all through existing systems, right now. The other portion of this is, obviously dual tube. Which gives you greater mobility. Gives you depth perception. Anyone who’s ever used single tube versus dual tube. You realize the different capability. Especially, if you’re doing offensive operations. The next one is, heads up display three dot oh. That we’re working very closely with General Gervais in the synthetic training environment. And we’re already starting to prototype that with Industry as well. That one should come out in about 18 months. Our first prototype. And then the adaptive soldier architecture. What we realized pretty quickly too as we looked at this is. If you just look at any of the, just take nods as an example. Every company that builds a nods, they build their own mount. If you looked at how much money the United States Army has spent just on mounts. It is the taxpayers would not be happy. I’ll put it to you that way. It is a significant amount. So you now have a universal mount that we’ve put out. And Chris Schneider is here. Him and his team, up there at Fort Belvoir have done a remarkable job. So we now have a standard mount for anything that we develop. That’s true for everything that goes onto a soldier or a squad now. So we will put out those standards now. And everything that we put out for stuff that we wanna get. The next one is tactical power. Everything that we do. We’re trying to increase you know, what we’re doing. From whether it’s digital, thermal. That means that we need more power. As you know, energy, anything that we have that produces energy right now that we can put on a soldier. That is not going up. As dramatically as the demand is. So we now have to make sure that anything we develop. The demand is either keeping it neutral or down. And right now we’re consolidating things onto various systems that may increase the energy for that one item. But the overall demand is going down. And you’ll see that in the things that we’re doing. And then again. Training is very important. So right now we’re working with Major General Britto of the maneuver center of excellence commanders approved a pilot. To move from 14 weeks to 21 weeks. And we’re working with General Townsend. Who’s also been briefed on this concept. And then also, the Chief of Staff of the Army. And we look forward to that pilot coming here pretty quickly. ‘Cause this is all great. But if you don’t have a trained, ready soldier. It doesn’t really matter. And that’s the last thing we wanna talk about of the things we’re doing. These are the future capabilities that we’re looking at. And with that, I know we don’t have a lot of time. So I wanna open it up to any questions from the field. – [Man] PEO Strive? – Yes sir?
– No, no, you’re working with PEO Strive for training. You work with PEO Strive for training. – Absolutely.
– Good. – Sir. – When it says OSIC and AIT extension at the bottom there. What does that look like? – So, the test program that we’re gonna do. Right now it’s currently 14 weeks. And our proposed pilot that we’ll start in July will move it out to 21 weeks. And that’s, and what we want ultimately is we want some, you know, any soldier that graduates from OSIC. That they can immediately go in and join any formation that they need to go to. No matter what phase of the sustained readiness model they’re in. To make sure they’re ready to go. (woman talking) Specifically, we’re working on a number of things. The first thing we wanna do is we wanna make sure that we’re training them on all the skills we assessed they need to fight against a near peer, okay? Very important. Also we wanna make sure that we are, just as you look at the length of time that we have and what happens to someone when they show up to their first unit. We’re gonna make sure that they’re ready and we’re not, they’re fully prepared. With any of the physical and mental demands that they’re gonna get. So, those are the three big things we wanna make sure we increase. – Yes sir, I’m a little interested in the squad operations around the ABCT. So is there any effort to align what they’re seeing in their heads up displays, and being able to talk to the vehicles and have a common, you know, common UI if you will, a visual so that, you know, when the gunner decides “Okay I’m gonna be a squad leader”, and he moves out, he doesn’t have a completely new set of optics to learn? – Yes, so a couple of things here. One, if you look at all the people that we’re working with across. So, one, this ties into Major General Gallagher and the network. General Gervais and synthetic training. But also with, you know, Brigadier General Lesperance and next generation combat vehicle. So, if you look at that end user device that General Gallagher already has and is using, okay? If you drop a pin on heads up display one dot oh. We’re already doing this. So if you drop a pin of that end user device, okay? That automatically, when it hits that end user device for that soldier. However they set it, it’ll automatically populate. Right, so that Bradley commandeered off that end user device. And he’s looking at broader than just the individual soldier. What we’re gonna put on platforms as well. He’ll drop that pin and say, “Look to the east”. Whenever you look to the east, you’ll see that red dot. That’s not make-believe. We’re doing that right now, okay? So, all those first three user test points. Again, increase lethality. By taking that sight and projecting it up into their reticle. Tested in January. What you’re describing, all the, you know, basically icons that we wanna use. We’re just down selecting now. The soldiers are telling us what they want on that. So. – Most of what you describe was even material or training solutions so far. Can you talk about the other dot mil pf outcomes of this work? – So, one very good question sir. That’s why the importance of we have to be very well nested with General Britto and what the center of excellence is doing. So whenever we talk about OSIC extension. I would tell you one of the number one things we wanna do there is we wanna make sure that we’re looking at the performance of the individual as well. ‘Cause that additional seven weeks will make sure that we can increase both. Not just what they’re doing as far as shooting better and everything else. But we’re now preparing them better for a near peer battlefield. So that’s extremely important to us. – [Man] With next generation squad weapon possibly coming in at a new caliber. At what point does Lake City Army Ammunition plane start looking over your shoulder and doing some modeling?
– So, Colonel Hector, I’m not sure if Brigadier General Abramson is here or not. But he and his team are already part of this CFT. In fact, we’re going out to Lake City to go over what that plan is. I don’t wanna get into the timeline here. But it’s a very aggressive plan to get that first Saw replacement out. And I will tell you, we’re already starting that process. So, we will look forward to getting out there. But General Abramson and Colonel Hector Gonzalez are already doing great work with that. – Thank you sir, I’m sorry. Major Underwood from System for Health. The question from my team is: How are we creating a more independently resilient soldier using sleep activity and nutrition? – So, that’s not part of this CFT. But I’ll put my infantry comment on hat on. Colonel Kelly Kendrick, the 198th Commander out there who runs OSIC. He’s already doing all of that. He has a study ongoing right now. To make sure that we’re properly feeding all of our soldiers. And making sure that when they come out, they’re stronger. So, thank you. Any other questions? – Sir, do any of your initiatives up there provide CAT 1 targeting information to mortars or other indirect fires? – So, we’re working on that. So the first thing is, and Chris I’m gonna send it over to you if you wanna add anything once I say this. So, whatever we’re gonna put up into that nod. You can actually put MILS and all those other things. So, we have not with this current version had it so that you can reach out. Get a grid off of a target and it automatically populates up there. We can do that. It’s just a matter of putting all those systems together. Now, if you look at what we’re gonna put on there from a small arms fire control. And Elliot Kagans is back there. Is it really both of them coming together? We could do that. However, okay, that’s weight. So, it’s, that’s that trays that we’re talking about. So, the first version’s, no, we’re not gonna do that. But I think we could get there over time. You’re probably talking three dot oh across what this is and what that is. But the first versions won’t have that. The first version of that Next Generation Squad Weapon will have, it will send out, when we talk about aim augmentation. Laser will go out. They’ll hit a target and come back and it’ll give you a better solution. Just to shoot the target. Chris, anything you wanna add? – Yes sir, you’re spot on. We actually may be able to do that in Heads up one oh. It’ll take the Cat 1 grid information that we get from jets or LDR3 and put it up into the display. But the system itself will not generate a Cat 1 grid. Does that help? – So to Chris’ point, whatever we wanna project up into that reticle. That tube, is pretty easy. It’s just a matter of how you get it. And then, how much data. You know, so you wanna, you know we don’t need out too much information than they’re used to. That’s leadership. But, you know, we gotta figure that out. That’s why those soldier touch points are so important. Sir. I know you’re gonna ask me a good question. I can tell by your demeanor earlier. – Do any of your initiatives include the weight reduction on your vertical lift aircraft? – Um, I just wanna make sure I understand. Are we trying to make the soldier lighter, ultimately? Or how is this linked into FVL? – (mumbles) Is part of the cross funds functioning team. – Absolutely.
– Okay, do you wanna reduce the weight on the aircraft itself to give you more payload capability? – I’m an infantryman.
– Sure. – Of course, I want everything to be lighter, cheaper, shoot better, and do everything else. That’s gonna be trades. But what I do know about FVL. I mean, compared to our current helicopters. That thing’s gonna be able to lift a lot. So but yeah, I think we’re very well nested. By the way, all this stuff right here. In particular. That’s gonna be of great interest to our pilots as well. And so, again, a start point is the 100,000. But then after that it’s a decision of the army of what’s gonna spin out. Sir.
– Any ideas on what the next weapon’s caliber will be? Any ideas on what the next weapon’s caliber might be? – So again, we put out five prototypes so I hope that you noticed, part of it is, we want Industry on every, they’ll come back with their proposals. We will pick those five. And then there’s the one that we’re working right now. So, what we have given out to Industry. Part of those Industry days is we have used government developed, six point eight round as a point of departure. But, we do not wanna limit, if someone comes back, and they come back with some other caliber. And it is a better thing. We’re interested, of course we are. We want what’s best. So, but six point eight is the point of departure. And that’s been shared with Industry. Elliot, anything you’d like to add to that? Okay, I appreciate everyone’s time. You all have a great day. (man claps)

2 comments

  1. Is there any possibility of the Brig. General's slide deck being released? Thank you for uploading this presentation.

  2. I've heard the older ARSOF vets (circa 90s Somalia thru OIF1/2)ask for a LARGER SAY w/this new AR round (being SOF but ALSO realists w/their SMU exp) regarding an M4 replacement? AWG's disseminating AR options to put in real world use vs near peers is SO TIME SENSITIVE today! Why this Textron/SIG/etc obsessed focus? SIG (remember first MCX's issues?) may not be it!

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