The Army’s Rapid Capabilities Office is beginning to expand to new areas of interest.

Initially stood up in 2016, the RCO was designed to address the Army’s biggest capability gaps by delivering solutions in one to five years. The original focus areas for the office included electronic warfare, position navigation and timing and cyber.

While in the past few years it has moved out a bit into areas such as countering unmanned aerial systems, officials presenting Aug. 22 at TechNet Augusta explained the organization is now officially looking into much broader areas.

The first is in future communications and narrowband communications. Rob Monto, Emerging Technologies Office lead at the RCO, explained these new areas of interest for the RCO could allow for fall-back or redundancy in denied environments.

They could also allow paths for certain specific messages, such as medevac, to be transmitted.

Monto then outlined an interest in robotics for employing logistics and maintenance for heavy platforms. Robots can help replace parts faster during war or even augment humans in the way Special Operations Command has conducted experiments with exoskeletons.

The next area is in conformal antennas, which Monto said were of interest in order to reduce the profile of vehicles.

Monto described a keen interest for the RCO in electric drives and drivetrains, noting that commercial industry and heavy machinery have started to take this route.

Lastly, Monto noted that the RCO is interested in high-energy lasers and directed energy technology.

Anything in these areas are starting to become a broader portfolio for the RCO, Monto said, adding they are looking to bring new technologies in that might not be specifically leveraged today.

Mark Pomerleau is a reporter for C4ISRNET, covering information warfare and cyberspace.

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