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Special Forces Communication Gear - Four Common Challenges

Posted by Mikael Westerlund on Feb 23, 2018 3:21:09 PM

Changing operational requirements

Special forces teams face many different challenges in the modern battle space these day. Not only the scope of the missions has increased but so has also the pace and the frequency of these missions. As the operational requirements change, as do the requirements for many of the systems and tools used by the special forces operators as well. Special forces units today both within Armed Forces, Police, Civil Defence, Customs and Border Guard types of services are faced with many similar types of challenges within this area of: Special forces communications equipment.

From our viewpoint at Savox we clearly want to address the points that are related to operator used equipment. We are looking at these Special Forces challenges from the communicaton gear point of view. The increased pace and frequency of missions result in less time to prepare for each single mission. A big challenge for the teams is staying connected and reachable, for being able to respond to received new information, and possibly act quickly based on the new information.

Special forces communication gear challenge #1: What communication gear to use in different misson phases (brief/planning, waiting/standby, in-action, post-action, mission debrief)?


Many communication tools; radios, mobile phones, tablets, intercoms, sat-coms etc.

Communication needs vary depending on the mission phase. We see that many of the user groups today are equipped with both tactical command radios, soldier squad radios, broadband devices such as mobile phones/tablets, DMR radios, sat-com and intercom systems on different platforms. As the use of mobile phone type of devices and services increases, we see that a need for capability to easily swap between a regular phone call (point-to-point) to a conference call or vice versa also increases, as well as being able to run and operate a number of VOIP PTT type applications on your smart device. All this of course on top of the need to be able to run and operate a growing number of tactical and squad type of radios and intercom systems from a single device, a Special forces PTT unit.

Special forces communication gear challenge #2:  What communication gear to use in combination with the different communication devices and still be able to operate each of them efficiently?


With or without protective equipment; helmet, tactical ballistic vest, respirator mask, gloves etc.

The use of hearing protection is mandatory for most of today´s Special forces teams.The combination of ballistic helmets and the need to maintain comm’s in all situations is typically solved by using helmet mounted hearing protection cups or in-ear worn plugs. This is still common and straight forward. The challenge matrix only gets more complex when adding a respiratory mask, tactical ballistic vest and gloves to the mix. One clear challenge within this area is the possibility to communicate clearly with civilians, hostages or hostiles.
Special forces communication gear challenge #3: What communication gear to use when using a full matrix of protective equipment and still wanting to be able to communicate with non-team members?


Headsets, headsets, headsets

Indeed, the need for having a Special Forces headset is obvious. However, as the need from the operational perspective is difficult if not impossible to predict from one mission to another, it is also clear that many Special Forces operators are not able to use a single headset solution for all mission scenarios. The need varies from only a simple semi covert earpiece to full covert communications set with in-ear miniature speaker, from low cost passive hearing protection earbuds with boom microphone to simple tactical headsets, from active tactical headsets to tactical headgear systems. Finding a communication gear that is capable of interfacing and running all these types of headset options can be challenging.

Special forces ommunication challenge #4: What communication gear can provide the broadest headset options for the varying mission requirements?



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Topics: communications, tactical, special forces

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