AFSOC SWIPE test featured at JEFX 06

HURLBURT FIELD, Fla. -- During Joint Expeditionary Force Experiment 06, eight initiatives will be tested for possible use by U.S. forces Monday - April 28.

For the special operations community, one initiative in particular aims to give them a greater ability to collaborate with other warfighters and manage their missions using new software packages built into wearable computers and communication systems.

“The SOF Warfighter Process Enhancements (SWIPE) builds on existing wireless communications networks to allow Special Forces teams to better plan and execute their missions,” said Luis Tirado, the AFSOC JEFX program manager.

SWIPE isn’t a stand-alone system, it’s simply the umbrella term for four enhancements to the special operations toolkit.

The four components — the Special Operations Tactical Network, Remote Sensor-Iridium, Geographic Suitability Assessment Tool, and Command and Control Mission Manager — combine to give SOF teams enhanced mission-planning and execution capabilities.

“At JEFX, we’ll test the four components to validate how they’ll be used by SOF teams in an actual combat situation,” Tirado explained.

“If they work as we suspect, then they’ll be integrated into the computers our teams use as soon as possible.”

Using standard military software and secure wireless networks, the Special Operations Tactical Network portion of SWIPE brings new collaboration tools to small teams in the field. The software package has a “white-board” function so teams can share data and images, chat functions and video capability.

Using a wireless network, team members located in remote areas can “daisy-chain” information from one person to the next, providing seamless command and control for SOF team leaders. 

Satellite-based communication may be the only way for geographically isolated SOF teams to get information to and from a higher headquarters. The Remote Sensor-Iridium portion of the SWIPE initiative is a sensor approximately the size of shoe box that can be hidden in an area and then report data via the Iridium satellites in near real-time.

While unattended, it can automatically feed data back to mission planners or the Combined Air Operations Center.

Using a series of databases, the Geographic Suitability Assessment Tool graphically illustrates threats anywhere on the globe. Planners can look at a map of a particular region and easily discern key data such as chemical or biological threats, weather and soil types, as well as topology.

The Command and Control Mission Manager is a web-based application that automates the process for SOF teams to request air support. It allows mission planners to work off-line (with no internet or radio connection) and later upload their requests to coordinating authorities as needed. 

“These four components of SWIPE aren’t just nice features to have,” said Mr. Tirado. “They’re the next generation of capabilities for our Special Operations warfighters — JEFX 06 will help us to refine and prepare these systems for Team Hurlburt to employ worldwide.”