SOFWEEK 2024 EDITION: Imagine for a moment, that you are a 22-year-old going into harm’s way. You are sent into a confined space where there is a potential of bumping into industrial gases, gamma rad, and even blister/nerve agent threats. Furthermore, you are expected to make precise decisions on response and mitigation. Any ground truth intelligence can impact your recommendations given the changing dynamics as one proceeds deeper into the environment.

The simple equation and capability set that changes the calculus for a successful outcome most assuredly involves a couple of key goals: move from seeing to sensing, and from assessing to anticipating. These are simple, but highly effective goals per network centric operations where BlueforceTACTICAL and BlueforceCOMMAND Center enable small unit swarming (rapid formation of people, sensors, and AI) where warfighters and responders from disparate units and even agencies, form responder networks to counter coordinated and simultaneous assaults often directed against multiple targets, using highly mobile groups to inflict casualties, garner press, and to inflict considerable human and infrastructure damage. Asymmetric and hybrid operations (such as the Mumbai attack in 2008) highlight the destructive impact that trained, mobile and asymmetric “swarms” can cause.

Nothing is more frightening than asymmetric threats that involve the use of chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear (CBRN) agents by third-world adversaries, but more frightening, by non-nation state actors. Deployed tactical teams are increasingly being exposed to CBRN threats, including terrorist attacks with non-conventional means and where threats involve large quantities of toxic industrial chemicals, all posing severe hazards to deployed forces. As late as April 21, 2024, the press was reporting that ISIS was exploring the delivery of milled Fentanyl attacks dropped from drones. A lack of warning and reaction time is a prime characteristic of this type of scenario and can be deadly for the responders concerned, even with the most advanced CBRN detection and warning capabilities. Tactical gear must allow for rapid field adaptation as there simply is no time to swap out gear based on a changing operational environment.

Many agencies are adopting “network-centric operational” (NCO) models as a proven approach to mitigate asymmetric threats. NCO refers to forces participating as a part of a continuously evolving, complex “network” of people, sensors, and lean services interconnected by communications networks (including commercial 5G and even tactical 5G/CBRS) to provide superior information sharing on events and ground truth intelligence needed to empower decision makers. Now supporting more than 400 different sensor types (COTS) from more than 129 manufacturers, BlueforceTACTICAL and BlueforceEDGE provide a superior platform for NCO and it is most exciting that device manufacturers are beginning to embrace this capability by exposing communications and data interfaces in their tactical equipment that enables real-time recognitional support via Machine Learning and AI. Furthermore, some are implementing capability to adapt to changing threats on the ground.

Enter Wilcox Industries whose Hybrid PATRIOT 5510 APR/PAPR/SCBA provides a network enabled reporting capability for tactical awareness, but now with longitudinal support that ensures maintenance and supply chain visibility for near-real time replenishment and maintenance. Whether you are law enforcement, military, or first responder, the 5510 is a modular system that provides rapid adaptation to overcome any situation in CBRN environments. The system can be used in any mode of operation using a single mask and the operator can change operating modes by flipping the mode selector switch attached to the mask allowing for truly effortless breathing while conducting combat missions or law enforcement operations. Furthermore, the PATRIOT 5510 is modular in that it can be configured to provide a wide array of operational models that traverse Special Operations, Hostage Rescue, and more.

What makes the 5510 “network-centric” is the electronics package option which includes BlueforceTACTICAL (BTAC) and the Hybrid PATRIOT 5510 BTAC plugin. When used with BlueforceTACTICAL, 5510 telemetry such as PSI, battery, and operating mode can be shared in real-time with fellow operators as well as incident commanders using nothing more than the responder’s smartphone (off the shelf, or hardened/HAZLOC devices from companies like Kyocera DuraForce PRO). Fellow operators and commanders can consume real-time telemetry of an entire deployed force and receive real-time notification when parameters fall below prescribed thresholds or when operating modes are switched during the course of a response.

What really makes the package standout is the ability to fuse other operator worn sensing devices, thereby turning the operator into a moving sensing platform that delivers autonomous ground truth intelligence. BlueforceTACTICAL for the Wilcox Hybrid PATRIOT 5510 also includes BTAC plugins for biotelemetry (heart rate, respiration, body temperature) and accelerator/gyroscope (reports operator motion and inclination), but can also be extended to include environmental gas sensing, radiological sensing, and telemetry from other body-worn or person-carried sensors from companies like MSA, Thermo-Fisher, and others.

COMING SOON: A BlueforceEDGE Plugin that can monitor 5510 units for total time in PAPR and even SCBA so maintenance and supply chain partners can have increased awareness when a 5510 is soon to need filter updates, but also monitor total time per analytics.

IN CLOSING: Asymmetric threats are fundamentally non-predictive. The Wilcox Hybrid PATRIOT 5510 provides a multi-modal life support system that adapts on the fly. BlueforceTACTICAL enables rapid formation of predictive and non-predictive responder teams and then securely shares location, sensor telemetry, and other information in real-time amongst the entire deployed force offering a superior level of incident awareness amongst responders and their commanders. When used with Class DIV2 and/or intrinsically safe mobile compute, this capability is unparalleled in the market.

If it SOFWEEK 2024, please visit the Wilcox exhibit area, but also the Gates Defense Systems maritime demos on the waterfront in Tampa. For more information, please send an email to or call us at 866-960-0204.

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