COBHAM LAUNCHES IDSS INTEGRATED DIGITAL SOLDIER SYSTEM
By Adam Baddeley, Deputy Editor, BATTLESPACE
Cobham Defence Communications (CDC) Integrated Digital Soldier System (IDSS), is somewhat like it’s almost namesake, Ian Duncan Smith (IDS) in being the ‘quiet man’ of soldier modernisation. Larger, much better resourced companies have tried to develop solutions but fallen by the wayside. IDSS has without great fanfare notched up several successes in the notorious fraught soldier modernisation market, in particular supporting the UK’s Future Integrated Soldier Technology (FIST) programme.
As its name suggests IDSS provides an integrated self-contained C2 core designed to provide both the capability and interfaces to seamlessly build an overall Soldier Modernisation ensemble. Integrated with Raytheon’s EPLRS Microlight for the transport layer, IDSS has since late 2006 being used by the FIST PCMO in successive platoon and company level trials to generate C4I data for FIST Main Gate later this year, that should have been provided by the FIST V2 Trials in November 2005.
The integration problems and RF interference experienced in those trials have being avoided this time around. Steve Collier Managing Director CDC said, “ We’ve done an awful lot of work over last few years to prevent that happening. You have to understand the RF situation as whole. Everything that goes into the systems has to be isolated – you don’t just bolt it together. Within the core design of IDSS everything is either isolated or balanced otherwise it just doesn’t go in.”
In the FIST trials the IDSS was issued to the section commander and 2IC with other transmitting their location automatically.
The basis of the software on IDSS is the Battlehawk suite of BMS software, developed by the former WA Systems, which was acquired by Cobham in 2005, designed to be scalable from command platforms down to soldiers. The software is common to all versions and runs on Windows XP with the differences lying within the functionality enabled on each implementation. The software is already on platforms in service with Brunei, India, Belgium and the Royal Navy.
The IDSS, designed for the individual soldier is built around ease of use; no complex pull down menus, just a single tough screen and stylus – a highly simplified GUI. Users can send a spot report on screen in three touches and messages can be typed or written via an onscreen keyboard. The user can then tap the vehicle, user or multiple user groups he wants to send the message to, and then IDSS sends it.
The IDSS uses a developed Lightweight harness developed with Fine and Sons, which incorporates cable runs from partner Newchapel so there is no cabling outside the webbing which could snag. This then integrates with existing British Army webbing although Cobham have produced a new yoke to support the IDSS.
The IDSS has been mounted on chest adapted webbing for FIST and is cabled although it also has a wireless option. The FIST-specific units also have a VGA port which allows the integration of a monocular device required for the FIST trial for night vision. The same port could also run a HMD but this would connect via the docking station.
Cobham are finishing a 3D software update, which takes terrain spot highs allowing the user to manipulate the image to view it from any direction and walk through it. This uses the same processor and could use geo-referenced imagery from satellite. It doesn’t have the ability for urban area as the processing power requirement that imposes is simply too high.
Cobham have tested IDSS using an integrated Leica Vector 1500 7x 42 laser binoculars connected via an IDSS RS232 port to first laser a target, automatically geo-locate it on the map and then communicating it up the command chain.
The IDSS hub has a 800MHz processor and 4Gb solid state memory, sufficient to hold the bulk of the UK using OS mapping and offers RS232, Ethernet and USB interfaces. A veh