Special ops commandos are already the savviest, most covert of all soldiers: They fly in stealth helicopters, wear high-tech camo suits and use nothing but the best face paint Pentagon cash can buy. But they’ve still got weak points. Most importantly, their own body heat and even the swiftest of movements can give them away.
That’ll change if U.S. Special Operations Command (SOCOM) gets its way. The agency in April announced that “invisibility” equipment for commandos was one of their top priorities. Already, commandos have uniforms that can block most of the heat they emit. But as SOCOM notes in their latest round of small-business solicitations, they’ve gotta be able to “breathe, see and hear,” making it tough to keep their faces concealed from sensors. Now, SOCOM is asking for proposals that’d “reduce the warfighter’s facial signature” in marine environments, to minimize their risk of heat-based detection by infrared sensors or motion-based spotting via electro-optical surveillance.
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