DARPA wants to ‘fuse’ grenades, drones, robots and ground penetrating radar for the U.S. Army


The Pentagon’s research and technology arm is the test of a “breakthrough” AI-enabled technology for dismounted mobile combat units that synthesizes drone feeds, robot sensors, small arms, fire detection, and ground-radar — “from the cycle’ the enemy of decision-making, and attack with success.

Instead of having to collect, organize and analyze the overwhelming amounts of rapidly emerging control of variables, soldiers and marines can directly access a single, integrated or “fused” product that they are enemies to destroy, “the first.”

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, the TEAM of the X-program, that is all the testing with both CACI and Lockheed Martin, the information of the drone video feeds, and armed ground robots, and acoustic sensors for the detection of the origin of the incoming enemy small arms fire and use automation to a combined picture to be squad leaders in combat.


“A Marine squad not ever stop moving. They have a ‘bias toward action.’ We want a form of autonomy, which also has a ‘bias in the direction of the action’ maintaining the initiative. With human supervision, we made use of automated commitment,” the Lt. Col. Philip Root, program manager for TEAM X, told Warrior Maven in an interview.

The system, according to Root, is also inspired by the ground radar, night-vision targeting and infrared electro-optical sensors to inform ground units in the battle. For example, if the ground radar were able to put an enemy object at a certain distance, a nearby drone can be cued to collect video feeds and add the target information, with maps and other sensors, allowing soldiers a full control of the photo in a few seconds. Among other things, this will prevent soldiers from losing time analyzing overwhelming amounts of incoming data from disparate sources, or nodes.

CACI-system, according to DARPA developers, depending on the RF frequency of innovations; Lockheed system consists of a synthesis of the sensor and targeted information.

The process can quite accurately be identified as a “ground” version of the F-35s-known as “sensor fusion” phenomenon. By this technical process, otherwise disconnected sensor input, such as targeting, navigation, and threat warning systems, are “fused” and is classified in a single display for the pilot. Referred to often as a relaxation of the “cognitive load,” the concept is to make informed, accurate and quick human decision-making. In fact, TEAM X has on the ground what sensor fusion in the air. Carrot in comparison with the historic and famous OODA loop has long been used to train Air Force pilots. The OODA loop, defined as the Observation, Orientation, Decision, Action-is meant to fight pilots in order to complete the attack process, or “cycle” faster than an enemy and get in the loop to attack and kill an enemy “the first.”


“We look at how to engage in close combat with the OODA loop. In seconds or fractions of seconds, we find the use of AI tools to the off-cycle of the adversary,” Root said.

AI-authorized computer automation may collect and process information by themselves to fill in the otherwise time consuming analyses. Human cognition, apart from the computer high-speed processing, it will of course be necessary when making important, dynamic combat-relevant decisions and solving some problems. Computer automation, enhanced by the AI, can make use of algorithms to find and synthesize main points of interest. Perhaps it is information of a soldier-worn acoustic sensor detects incoming enemy small arms fire and sends this information to a drone. A nearby drone or ground robot can then collect additional information about the enemy targets, and with a human decision-maker in orchestrating deadly violence, attacks to carry out — while soldiers and Marines remain at a safe distance.

Root explained that in the past, soil or air sensors to be used in a more stovepiped fashion, only able to gather information from their own sensors, without the benefit of others in real-time.

“We have seen vehicles that were in a fight, because the sensors do not detect that there was a shot in the near. We want to provide a new form of sensing,” Root says.

TEAM X testing is already demonstrating this kind of new integration, Root said, adding that the simulation has enabled testers “insert radar numbers in the system” and a copy of the actual combat scenarios.

DARPA’s Tactical Technology Office-documents provide additional detail in the objectives and technologies TEAM X. One of the main goals is described as the voltage of the kinetic technologies, such as guns and targeting sensors — electronic warfare and cyber domains.


TEAM X, according to DARPA, strives to give the rifle squad exactly engage threats out to 1000 meters, while maintaining compatibility with infantry weapon systems and human factors limitations”, and also non-kinetic technology to the rifle squad to disrupt enemy command and control, communications, and the use of unmanned assets to reach more than 300 meters, at a squad-relevant operational pace.”

The technology is also responsible for the accuracy of the location of the rifle teams within six meters in GPS-denied environments by means of “cooperation with unmanned systems,” DARPA information states.

TEAM X “Precision Grenade”

While often challenged to work in urban areas, with walls and buildings may interfere with sensor signals, the TEAM X has already shown an ability to fire a first-of-its-kind “Precision of the grenade.” The grenade has to travel a predetermined spot in the sky, and then, using a small camera to identify targets. Then, a soldier or marine can look directly at the purpose of the information, and guide of the grenade.

“A camera in the nose goes to, and gives a picture of the squad leader, then the approval of the target and launches a precision grenade of a drone or any other asset,” Root said.

An exact timeline when this will be operational has yet to be determined, probably a few years. However, DARPA is now working closely with the Marines and Army to bring the system to the required level of maturity, so that it can transition to a formal program of record.

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