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By Julian Nettlefold, Editor, BATTLESPACE

18 May 05. BATTLESPACE Editor Julian Nettlefold was briefed by Northrop Grumman at the AUSA Logistics Symposium in DC with regard to developments of its Standard Integrated Command Post Platform (SICPS CPP) (See: BAT) Making the system wireless and secure using systems such as the Harris Secure Local Area Network (SWLAN) solution. The Harris SecNet system saves deployment time, does away with the need to build a floor to duct cable and reduces weight of the all-up system. We discuss the Harris system later on in the article as Harris says, “Your network should be as mobile as you are.”

One of the major problems encountered by the U.S. Army logistic commands during Operation Enduring Freedom in Iraq was the long-tail of the advance and subsequent loss of communications. Initial problems were blamed on Northrop’s bespoke Logistics Software package but it soon became clear that as in the Desert war of 1940-2, the advancing troops had out-run their logistic tail and there was no way of signalling for new spares or support. The proposed CPP from Northrop envisages the operator being able to electronically source and deliver spares from his control panel on the move

Thus there has been an urgent requirement placed with the Army for additional CPP systems. “Another problem encountered during OIF was the transformation of units of action to theatre. Returning units had dedicated digitization systems which had to be stripped out of vehicles and reconfigured with the new Unit of Action’s requirements. Thus we realised that we had to develop a common CPP to enable this to be deployed quickly with no re-configuration required.” In addition users had to recognise the requirements for three key technologies in any advanced CPP, Environmental controls; the system has to operate in temperature exceeding C140 degree, ample power requirements to enable the system to deploy when stationary, this can be provided by a towed APU although hybrid HMMVs such as those developed by DRS are being trialled to reduce the need for towed trailers; a common server configuration; the current U.S. Army structure deploys a number of server packages, the CPP has a Z Microsystems box to manage servers; size of fleet, the CPP is based on the 82nd Airborne’s SHARK vehicles which are deployed by air, two to a CP. At present 6 vehicles are being used for the CP, this causes over-use of vehicles, more logistic support, more manpower and a greater footprint. SICPS CPP envisages 2 vehicles, one with the systems such as servers, radios, sitcom, routers, APUs and support systems and the other providing support and a trailer with the tent and food and support materials. This problem has already been encountered in the U.K. with the ample press comment given to the Bowman vehicles. It is likely that 5th Mech. Brigade will suffer from similar problems on its return from Iraq with its dedicated BOWMAN Land-Rovers. The U.K. is believed to be looking at a new CP structure and it is likely that it will follow the same line as CPP with a dedicated CP vehicle such as the Duro III or 6×6 Pinzgauer, discussed in last week’s issue, becoming the de facto standard.

In addition, the system also required an ability to deploy satcom on the move, due to the fast moving force structure and the loss of line-of-sight comms using EPLRS.BATTLESPACE discussed the GD Satcom on the move solution, but Northrop has now offered a COTS solution with Titan which is less bulky, does not take up valuable space in the vehicle and is low silhouette, thus deployable in a C-130. This system gives huge advantages to the existing V-Sat system which has to be deployed whilst the vehicle is stationary.

The Marines also have a requirement for such a system in their Condor project which Northrop will be bidding against GD.

Finally and most importantly the Tiger Team managing SICPS CPP has mandated that the system should be wireless.

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