The SOFIC Conference is over and the turnout, especially on Tuesday, was heavy. The conference is a fantastic display of weapons, equipment and nice to have gadgets for the Special Operations Forces on not just the United States but others as well. While it is billed as a gathering for US personnel, there was a smattering of other countries uniforms as well.
If you are a guy that loves the latest in weaponry, communications, equipment, and virtual reality components as well, then SOFIC is like Disneyland on steroids. Except for these are toys for big boys, and you don’t need a CGI artist to make them come to life. These pieces of equipment are the real deal and it won’t be long until you see some of them come to life on CNN or Fox News…or if you are a subscriber on SOFREP.
It’s like a supermarket for Navy SEALs. A grocery store for Green Berets. A Costco for commandoes.
It’s a conference for military special operations forces and their gadgets, weapons and tools. The Special Operations Forces Industry Conference is held yearly in Tampa. Here, the U.S. Special Operations Command — the Tampa-based unit that oversees all of the nation’s elite military teams — shops for equipment.
Lantern-jawed Marines in camo mingle with computer geeks in chinos who run complex intel programs on the convention floor. Panels such as “Tactical Assault Light Operator Suit Sessions” are popular, and alphabet soup acronyms are common in casual conversation (“Are you going to the USSOCOM J-Code Directors Panel?”).
Outside the convention center, maritime displays of sleek boats with mounted weapons cruise by, and underwater drones surface.
Prototypes of new gadgets and gear are showcased. Robots, holograms, tanks, lethal weapons — it’s all on display.
Deep Trekker is a Canadian company that sells underwater drones. The small grey cylinders with cameras can be remote-controlled on land or in the water, and Sam MacDonald, president, says the device can dive down 150 meters — it’s great for hull inspection or contraband, checking out port security.
“We’ve also had it used in the Special Forces, for things they can’t really tell us a lot about,” she said.
While the keynote addresses were a bit slim this year, the conference is well-worth the time to go down to Tampa and take it all in. See you at the 2019 SOFIC conference.
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Photo courtesy SOFREP