Robots, rappelling, rifles: Showcase of special ops gadgets
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.
Here are some of the interesting gadgets that were on the trade show floor during the weeklong event, which wraps up Friday.
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