Dismounted Soldiers often head into the field carrying gear that weighs 100 pounds or more for extended periods over rough terrain. The added weight increases the risk of musculoskeletal injury, particularly in vulnerable areas such as ankles, knees, hips and the lower back. Heavier loads also exacerbate fatigue, which increases the chance of both acute and chronic injury and impedes Soldiers’ physical and cognitive abilities to perform mission-oriented tasks.
DARPA initiated the Warrior Web program in September 2011 to help address these challenges. Warrior Web seeks to create a soft, lightweight undersuit that would help reduce injuries and fatigue and improve Soldiers’ ability to efficiently perform their missions. The garment would protect injury-prone areas by stabilizing and reducing stresses on joints and promoting efficient and safe movement over a wide range of activities (walking, running, jumping, crawling, etc.). The suit would also include technologies to augment the work of wearers’ own muscles, helping reduce fatigue during endurance-related tasks.
Comfortable, durable and washable, the garment would not interfere with body armor or other standard clothing and gear. DARPA seeks to create a working prototype that significantly boosts endurance, carrying capacity and overall warfighter effectiveness—all while using no more than 100W of power.
The program envisions numerous benefits, including:
DARPA expects to develop the Warrior Web program in two related efforts between FY 2012 and FY 2016:
DARPA has scheduled a Warrior Web Task B Proposers’ Day for potential performers on Thursday, Sept. 5, 2013. The Special Notice for the Proposers’ Day is available at http://go.usa.gov/jJjT and more information is available here. The Broad Agency Announcement (BAA) for Warrior Web Task B is available at http://go.usa.gov/jJbR.
LTC Joseph K. Hitt, USA, Ph.D.firstname.lastname@example.org