BATTLE COMMAND ON THE MOVE MOVES TO CENTRE STAGE
By Julian Nettlefold, Editor, BATTLESPACE
28 Feb 08. It was apparent at this year’s AUSA that Battle Command on the Move using satcom-on-the-move systems as the main communications bearer is taking centre stage following lessons learnt in Iraq and Afghanistan. as the backbone means of communicating across the battlefield.
The JTRS GMR system will provide line-of-sight interfaces with FCS Brigade Combat Teams. The total communications requirement for the Army look to be provided by WIN-T and associated equipments such as Battle Command on the Move (BCOTM) now called C2OTM. C2OTM was recently won by Lockheed Martin against a General Dynamics bid, which GD is currently protesting.
There were a number of exhibitors at AUSA showing Battle Command on the Move Systems. These included: Boeing, DRS, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, General Dynamics, Hughes and EMS Technologies.
As well as US requirements other countries looking at Battle Command on the Move systems are the U.K. through the OUVS and Project Roberts Requirements and India.
We have covered Boeing’s system in our feature BOEING LEVERAGES Connexion TECHNOLOGY ONTO THE BATTLEFIELD, but a brief synopsis of their novel system is worth repetition as part of this feature.
The goal for Boeing was to provide non-line-of–sight systems using a mix of Ku, X and L-Band satcom systems. Boeing identified a number of commercial KU Band suppliers and developed a system for a complete Stryker Brigade, mounting antennas on a Stryker vehicle. Thus, the Company developed a flexible system which enables us to buy air time from different suppliers at different times. The secret of the system is not to have it tuned to one user all the time as this wastes valuable time and money; when a user is not using the system, we can give time and bandwidth to another user. Having demonstrated this to the Army at Fort Belvoir, Boeing was asked to extend the system across Iraq. Boeing used an L-3 antenna system and our own interfaces developed for CBB and mounted the systems on the Stryker vehicles in the green Zone in Baghdad in thirty days. They have been in country since January 2007 at 100% Operational Readiness. Boeing aims to have 40 systems operational in theatre by the end of 2008
We covered DRS’s system in detail in our March feature SATCOM – GATHERING MOMENTUM. Again an extract is worth repetition.
DRS recognised the growing requirement for SATCOM-on-the-move systems in 2004 and embarked on a privately funded programme to develop a number of systems in the X, Ku, and Ka band. The company’s DRS Codem Systems business unit is developing these systems as part of the overall DRS SATCOM strategy. The unit has approximately 130 employees and recently expanded and renovated its facilities in Merrimack, New Hampshire.
In October 2006 during the Association of the U.S. Army’s (AUSA) Annual Meeting and Exposition, DRS unveiled its new X-Band Satellite Communications On-The-Move (XOTM) system. The antenna subsystem is designed for continuous high bandwidth voice, video and data in a highly dynamic environment. The design approach provides an affordable on-the-move solution combining a rugged mechanical architecture with highest quality COTS components for vehicle, shipboard and aircraft applications. The design is based on proven technologies integrated into a complete on-the-move package. Integrating navigation sensors, control electronics and radio frequency equipment on a pedestal provides improved stabilization, acquisition and tracking performance. The combination of open-loop pointing, closed-loop tracking and software algorithms for sensor fusion enable high performance in an affordable architecture.
DRS had further examples of this system at AUSA and will be demonstrating the system at DVD this year.
Given that the C2OTM contract win is under protest, Lockheed martin could not di