SOFIC 2014 – international SOF demonstration

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Parachutists from several nations have joined SOCOM for the international SOF exercise, that culminated in delivery of free-fall parachute delivery from a n MC-130. The parachutists jumped from an altitude of 8000 ft and landed at the bay, in front of the convention center. Photo: Tamir Eshel, Defense-Update

The 2014 SOFIC (Special Operations Forces Industry Conference) taking place at the Convention Center in Tampa, Florida this week highlights the latest trends in special operations equipment and technology, depicted by SOCOM and defense industries from the US and abroad.

Among the event’s main topics are intelligence gathering and surveillance, command, control and communications. Aviation systems shown at the show address a wide range of systems, from conventional, manned transport and support, through parachute delivery to unmanned aerial systems. Some of the methods used by the US Special Operations Command, as part of its aviation unit – Task Force 160 – were demonstrated over the Tampa bay by SOCOM units that have joined foreign operatives from many nations joining the international SOF exercise. The demonstration took only three days to plan, and today’s performance was the grand rehearsal for the full display planned for Wednesday 21 May. 

The international Special Operations Exercise is a multinational exercise to increase interoperability among SOF partners. Through the exercise, special operators from 16 partner nations are conducting tactical, scenario-driven exercise in the vicinity of the Tampa Convention Center which overlooks the Tampa Bay. The exercise includes an MC-130 military freefall water jump, MH-60 Black Hawk helocast and fast-rope insertions, an MH-6 Little Bird sniper insertion and armed reconnaissance operations, a SEAL underwater infiltration and Ground Mobility Vehicle (GMV) and Rigid Hull Inflatable Boat (RHIB) assaults. Marine Corps Special Operations (MARSOC) is leading the US SOF support to the exercise.

Sixteen countries have accepted the invitation to send operators to participate in the exercise, including Belgium, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Jordan, Ireland, Netherlands, Norway, Peru, Poland and Thailand.

Other topics at the exhibition are individual and crew served weapons, as well as innovative precision strike systems, combining unmanned aerial systems technologies. and airborne and unmanned systems. Other topics highlight delivery systems – underwater, land based, parachuting and air delivery.

Defense-Update will publish updates from SOFIC through several photo reports and articles covering specific topics. Among the themes to be covered are news about the TALOS system, suicide drones, new intelligence, command and control systems, EO systems, all-terrain vehicles, and more.

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As part of the operation, TF160 Black Hawk and OH-6 Little Bird helicopters demonstrated the delivery of snipers, dinghies and commandos to their targets. Photo: Tamir Eshel, Defense-Update
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In synch with the heliborne assault naval special warfare (SEAL) teams demonstrated an assault using Rigid-hull inflatable boats (RHIBs). Photo: Tamir Eshel, Defense-Update