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The Case For Fleet Wide Maritime Command & Control By Morten Juhl Bødker, Product Manager, Systematic


Bespoke Command & Control systems are the mainstay of command support systems at sea today. The high cost associated with developing and delivering bespoke systems has resulted in deployment limited to major units – leaving a large number of vessels disadvantaged from a C4I perspective. Today however, this no longer needs to be the case.


Maritime - ship on water

Navies are broadly comprised of a handful of types of naval vessels – capital ships and their escorts, and minor war vessels, submarines and auxiliaries. While the large ships are the primary warfighting units and receive significantly more sophisticated Combat Management (CMS) and Command & Control (C4I) systems than the disadvantaged unit, an auxiliary or Mine Countermeasures Vessel may be the mission-essential unit that success or failure of the mission depends.

Disadvantaged vessels will often deploy with sub-optimal or legacy C4I systems as a cost saving measure. Typically, these systems lack synchronized near real-time situational awareness. They lack integration with the ship’s sensors and use legacy information standards that place a burden on the small number of personnel on board – limiting operational capability.

However, with the introduction of commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) maritime C4I system, this no longer needs to be the case.

Weighing the costs and benefits

The perception of high cost to equip disadvantaged units with quality C4I systems has long been rooted in bespoke software development. While most bespoke systems continue to present considerable costs, the introduction of sophisticated commercial-off-the-shelf C4I maritime systems has dramatically cut procurement costs and helped standardise C4I.

Historically, the primary motive for providing minimal or no C4I system to disadvantaged units has been cost driven. Their situation is exacerbated by fitting major units with more sophisticated bespoke systems, enabling them to produce more information products in less time. This disparity means that the already short-staffed, disadvantaged platforms have to work even harder to keep up with the information flow or filter information to only the most essential.

Additionally, the C4I systems help compile a wider Recognised Maritime Picture (RMP) to provide situational awareness across the fleet. The RMP should comprise all source sensor coverage, including that from minor war vessels, coastal sensors (AIS/radar), and auxiliaries. As many of these vessels occasionally need to operate independently, integrating the sensors on these platforms benefit the wide area picture.

The tangling issues of bespoke systems

Construction of new warships invariably incorporate the development of a Combat Management and C4I system that fits the vessel’s operational needs. Typically, these systems only receive major updates during refits but otherwise stay relatively static. This can be a very lethargic approach with the last of class receiving updates to a system that is already legacy when fitted.

As a result, many nations grapple with numerous bespoke warship systems that not only must integrate with each other but also the much larger fleet of minor warships and auxiliaries – not to mention interoperability standards to allow for coalition operations. The development approach means that many warships will rely on outdated systems for the majority of their service time.

Off-the-shelf C4I systems do not only fit disadvantaged units, modern systems are designed with the same level of sophistication that navies rely on in warships but at lower cost, with seamless integration, and include interoperability standards. Consequently, off-the-shelf C4I systems fit warships just as well and they will integrate with bespoke Combat Management systems that handle sensors and weapons systems.

For more information

To explore Systematic’s off-the-shelf maritime C4I system, please visit our Maritime Command & Control section to learn more about the systems features, interoperability and seamless integration with land and air forces.

Maritime Operations Centre

Planning, monitoring, and asserting control of the multiple types of operations carried out at static maritime operations centres require strong maritime C4I capabilities. Whether the Operation Centre is the national Maritime Component Command (MCC) or Flagship of a specific task force or task group, SitaWare supports your operations.

Afloat Commander

SitaWare is a fully scalable solution from a CTF Flagship through to the OTC (Officer in Tactical Command) of a serial. Moreover, the Composite and Principle Warfare Commanders get specialist support for their individual Maritime Warfare Areas.

Types Of Maritime Operations

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Recognised Maritime Picture (RMP)

The lynchpin of every successful maritime operation is maximisation of situational awareness of the surface, subsurface, and air pictures. Tracks from coastal and ship-based AIS, radar systems and remote sensors through TDLs are correlated and displayed in near-real-time. The tracks can be correlated either locally or distributed to a central processing centre for further management. You can configure the RMP to match your exact needs; from monitoring territorial waters and economic exclusion zones at national level to focused Area of Operations of a Task Group. The RMP can monitor multiple areas simultaneously and include both the classified Military Picture as well as the unclassified civilian White Picture.

Threat Assessment

When anomaly detections are triggered, operators must be able to quickly assess the threat level to decide the appropriate course of action. Track attributes, track history, and AIS spoof detection are some of the ways that SitaWare assists in quick threat assessment.

Track Correlation

To ensure a high quality Recognised Maritime Picture, it is vital that the Command is presented with coherent tracks from a wide variety of sources – and that the bulk of track information is automatically correlated. That is why SitaWare comes with a mature and proven correlation engine that is capable of handling tracks from multiple AIS and radar sources; that being tracks either received directly from the sensors or received via other C4I, VTS or CMS systems.

Anomaly Detection

Early detection of possible threats and illegal activity is essential to a successful mission. Time is always a limiting factor when you need to respond to actual threats. In SitaWare, operators can define detection rules that automatically identify suspicious behaviour and notify the Command about anomalies. This includes vessel of interest sightings, tracks entering or leaving defined areas or proceeding outside set parameters.

Compile the Operational Picture

SitaWare is capable of combing a true common operational picture (COP) into one single view. The COP may consist of the Air Picture, Maritime Picture and the Land Picture as well as the Environmental Picture. This gives the commander joint situational awareness that allows him and his staff to do proper assessments of the current situation. On top of the COP, information about unit movements and control measures may be overlaid to let the commander compare the current situation with his envisioned orders and directives. Each individual user is able to customise his view to see exactly the information in the COP which relevant for his function. This ensures that the ever increasing amount of data does not lead to information overload.


W736 Recognised Maritime Picture

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Map Engine

Use most charts and map formats
including S-57 maritime charts.

Use Standard

Use the hardware you already have.
No need for large investments.

No Installations,
No Plugins

You can access SitaWare directly
from your standard browser.

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Maintain the operational tempo through the use of chat and military messages between national units and partners. Exchange military e-mails, STANAG 4406 and ACP-127 messages through a plugin to Microsoft Outlook including full support for APP-11, USMTF, and OTH-Gold formatted message templates using IRIS. Take advantage of instant messaging in distributed chat rooms in a XMPP and JCHAT compliant client compatible with both high and low bandwidth networks.

Sitaware Maritime Chat Large

Planning and Tasking

The ability to visualise, communicate, and distribute details of an operation is essential to ensure effective tasking of all units and platforms. The extensive planning toolset in SitaWare includes OPLAN editor, overlay sketching and task organization editor. It also includes an editor for managing NATO APP-11 or USMTF compliant OPGEN and OPTASKs.
Plans and tasking can easily be shared via military messaging, email, or chat.

W736 Optask


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Interoperable with Partner Systems

Maritime commands often need to coordinate operations with air and land commands, coalition partners, coast guards, or other civilian and governmental agencies. This coordination requires the ability to exchange information with partner systems. SitaWare lets you exchange tracks, plans/orders, and messages in a wide range of formats such as APP-11, OTH-Gold, AIS, WAIS, USMTF, Link 11, Link 16 SIMPLE, Link 16 JREAP, ADS–B, Asterix CAT 048, NVG, KML, NFFI and MIP.


W736 Defencewebmaritime Onemonitor

An Intuitive User Experience

Thanks to its modern, intuitive user interface, only minimal training is required. This makes SitaWare a highly cost effective solution to deploy and maintain. Moreover, the intuitive interface enables users to make full and effective use of its rich C4I capabilities supporting critical decision making in high tempo situations.

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Learn fast

Modern and intuitive
user interface makes SitaWare fast
to learn and operate.

Low training Costs

Only minimal training is needed
to operate SitaWare. An online user guide available if needed.

Minimize Human Error

Concise user experience
based on best practices minimizes
human handling mistakes.

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Adapt and extend SitaWare to meet your exact needs, maximizing your investments

Integrating the C4I solution with existing equipment, sensors, and surrounding systems is crucial for both leveraging the benefits of your existing investments and maximizing operational capabilities. To give you the operational capabilities you need, SitaWare’s open APIs let you do a wide range of integrations such as radars, sensors, CMS systems, and ship databases.


Get your integration project up and running with SitaWare’s Product Development Packages

With SitaWare’s open architecture, modular design, APIs, and Product Development Packages you can combine the advantages of COTS products with the flexibility to add your own integrations and extended functionality. With the SitaWare Product Development Packages, your staff gains valuable technical insights on how to integrate your existing equipment without the need for vendor of third party involvement.

You will remain flexible and vendor independent while keeping valuable knowledge close to your own staff. If you wish, you can share your experiences and learn more from the ever-growing SitaWare COTS products user community. Systematic can also take the task of adding your integrations and extended functionality. The choice is yours.

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