The U.S. Air Force is fielding equip enhanced wearable command and control systems to enable dismounted elements to guide and control close air support operations. The Black Diamond Advanced Technology company was selected by Air Force Special Operations Command (AFSOC) to develop a specially configured version of its Modular Tactical System (MTS) wearable system. The company will deliver the new systems under a Firm Fixed-Price Contract awarded by the Air Force Materiel Command (AFMC) Aeronautical Systems Center.

The system, designated Battlefield Air Operations (BAO) Operator Control System (OCS), is a dismounted, precision-strike and communications-control solution primarily used by Special Operations Forces (SOF). Likely users of the new BAO kit are AFSOC Special Tactics Squadrons, Combat Control Teams, Tactical Air Control Party, and Guardian Angel pararescue personnel.

The BAO kit will upgrade the current equipment suite of the Battlefield Airmen in five areas: communications, computers, human input/output, power generation and management, and software. The OCS consists of a wearable vest with cable runs, cables, power manager and computer.

The Modular Tactical System (MTS) is already operational with various special forces and is one of the candidates for the US Army Nett Warrior (NW) soldier system wearable computer. Photo: Tamir Eshel, Defense-Update

MTS first fielded by special forces in Afghanistan in 2010 is a wearable multi-mission system that funnels control of mission-critical peripherals to a central display, to eliminate battery and equipment redundancies and lighten load-out. As an off-the-shelf solution with a patent-pending cable-management cummerbund system, the MTS allows the Air Force to fulfill its OCS requirements and field a truly foot-mobile solution.

SOF personnel are already using MTS for other applications, including precision targeting, C4ISR, situational awareness, explosive ordnance disposal, and unmanned systems operations and control.

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