Airbus Defence and Space has unveiled next generation mobile deployable communications technology dubbed an ‘office on the frontline’ that enables armed forces to communicate securely and effectively in theatre where conventional networks are unavailable or difficult to access.
Experts have set up a ‘mock’ headquarters in the grounds of Airbus Defence and Space in Newport, South Wales to demonstrate how the Tactical IP (TACIP) technology can work in an operational environment.
This is the result of new research and development by Airbus Defence and Space building on many years of experience in secure deployed communications and will continue to develop.
Richard McLachlan, Project Manager described TACIP as a ‘dynamic communications network that is equipped to support fast moving and demanding military operations’.
“TACIP is adaptable to changing operational missions thanks to its scalable nature,” he explained.
“It is quick to set up and move around in a changing environment.
It is easy to use and exploits commercial off the shelf technology. It can support between six and 250 users without any engineering or technical support.”
The ‘mock headquarters’ comprises a unified communications capability of voice and video with application sharing. It allows users to connect via LTE or wifi over an extended area wirelessly, using multiple different devices – laptops, phones or tablet.
TACIP offers autonomous communications and IT services with a deployed environment for military sites. This could be used by reconnaissance teams, forward operating bases, HQs, airfields.
It securely joins together deployed locations and links them to the homeland fixed infrastructure.
It is also suitable for civil contingency, humanitarian aid or disaster relief situations where reliable systems are needed within an austere environment.
TACIP comes in three sizes to fit mission requirements The three sizes include: ten users for small teams, 150 users for forward operating bases or up to 500 users for joint or component headquarters.
TACIP is divided into five functional areas: enterprise systems, management systems, mobility solution, bearer systems and gateways.
A version of TACIP is being used by NATO and is the NATO Deployable Communication and Information System (DCIS) that is currently deployed and being used by military personnel across the world.
TACIP has also been provided to the UK MoD through the DII project and has been deployed successfully as part of that project.
Mr Mc McLachlan explained that next steps include looking at integrating satellite communication systems into this demonstration and looking at different scalable versions, from man portable to larger headquarter variants.