16 May 06. Cisco Systems is to help UK frontline troops and commanders communicate more effectively during military and peace keeping operations using data, voice and real-time video over mobile networks built around Internet Protocol (IP) using the Cisco 3200 Series Mobile Access Router. This Cisco technology is expected to help increase network speed and capacity, and will significantly increase the number and type of applications that can be communicated over the network. Existing tactical battlefield networks are largely limited to voice communication.
Cisco Systems is part of a consortium led by BAE Systems Integrated System Technologies (Insyte) which is providing the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) with a mobile battlefield information infrastructure system called FALCON for the UK Army.
Cisco’s ruggedised 3200 Series Wireless & Mobile Routers, located inside specialised military vehicles, will be deployed into frontline military operations around the world and will act as the battlefield network node. It will help enable troops to send and receive information such as real-time video of battlefield situations, geographical information system (GIS) maps, enemy positions and provide data communications with front-line commanders. Cisco technologies utilised within FALCON are Commercial Off The Shelf (COTS) based and will enable FALCON to integrate with other UK armed service communication systems to allow commanders to send and receive real-time information with troops anywhere in the world as part of the UK Network Enabled Capability (NEC) initiative.
The Cisco technology will also help UK armed forces in combined operations. Because FALCON is based on international open standards, it can readily link into communication systems used by other military forces such as the US or NATO who are also standardising on IP.
Cisco was chosen to provide the battlefield network equipment because of its expertise in IP technology and because of its experience in providing networking communications to other armed forces around the world. The FALCON system will use Cisco 3200 Series Wireless & Mobile Routers which can be deployed in harsh conditions such as the battlefield environment.
“The use of Cisco technology marks a significant step in using cost effective and easy-to-support equipment in highly specialised and mission-critical UK government applications,” said Alan Kelly, Head of Defence & Criminal Justice, Cisco Systems UK. “As a COTS technology, the Cisco 3200 Series provides the MoD with a very competitively priced piece of equipment that uses standard systems and technologies making it simple to maintain and upgrade.”