The U.S. military has launched a program to equip its front-line soldiers with the latest battlefield technology. The Squad X initiative would give an Army or Marine Corps squad new computerized weapons, the latest smartphone-style communications and even easy-to-use robot helpers.

The program aims to help the troops “have deep awareness of what’s around them, detect threats from farther away and, when necessary, engage adversaries more quickly and precisely,” according to Army Major Christopher Orlowski, who’s managing the Squad X effort on behalf of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), the Pentagon’s cutting-edge science department.

Squad X is still just a concept. It’ll be up to Orlowski, other DARPA officials and the defense industry to determine exactly what technology the program includes. But one thing is clear: The government wants to profoundly change the way squads move, communicate and fight.

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