FACTORY TO FOXHOLE – DRS JOINS THE DOTS
By Julian Nettlefold, Editor BATTLESPACE
09 Oct 06. BATTLESPACE Editor Julian Nettlefold interviewed Steve Schorer who leads the DRS C4I Segment as president
He explained that the recent management changes announced by the Company (See: BATTLESPACE UPDATE Vol.8 ISSUE 40, 06 October 2006, DRS TECHNOLOGIES ANNOUNCES NEW OPERATING ORGANIZATION), were in line with the natural dynamic growth path and customer alignments post-the ESSI acquisition.
“I am very excited about the synergies produced with the ESSI acquisition,” Schorer said, “We now have a natural marriage between C3 and Logistics. At the moment there is no link between on-board computers such as our V4 Appliqué FBCB2 unit and Test & Energy Management. It would not be difficult to merge the capabilities of the systems to enable diagnostics and fuel consumption to be displayed on the Command & Control computer giving the vehicle the ability to pass up to date diagnostic, fuel and ammunition consumption on a real-time basis. In addition, given our expertise in the provision of HUMS systems for the Bradley and M1A2 armoured vehicles, a link to the HUMS system would provide Prognostics and spares provision. We care also working on integrating the Comtech vehicle tracking system into the V4 computer,” Schorer said, “There would be huge cost benefits resulting from the merger of these systems as well as saving space. The whole system could be managed by one integrated computer as envisaged with FCS. In addition to this new hardware capability we have also inherited a considerable expertise in software development that is being pushed through to our C3 segment. The next stage is an FBCB2 Lite system which would enable dismounted operations.”
As well as discussing these developments, Steve Schorer was particularly excited about the introduction of its new X-Band Satellite Communications On-The-Move (XOTM)system, developed entirely with Company funding. 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 RF equipment on the 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.
“The growth of the use of satcom systems in the Iraq war coupled with the speed of deployment created a huge requirement for the development of a satcom on the move system so that Blue Force Tracking and communications were enabled on a continuing basis. Using static systems resulted in data-collision and the loss of positions and crucial communications (See: BATTLESPACE UPDATE Vol.8 ISSUE 41, 13 October 2006, COMMON STANDARDS – THE MESSAGE FROM CECOM, By Julian Nettlefold, Editor, BATTLESPACE)
DRS had a developmental system mounted in a HMMV at AUSA and took the Editor for a ride to show off its capabilities. Using the X-Star Loral/Spanish satellite as a carrier, DRS linked the Booth at AUSA with and Army Depot managing the system. The clarity of the streamed video and voice clarity was immediately apparent even in the built-up area of D.C. We spoke to General Paul Kern at the booth who expressed his satisfaction with the system stating that the small size of the dish (18 inches) made it clearly soldier-proof and protected from damage when used in wooded areas at night.
As well as supplying satellite hardware, DRS also inherited a considerable services segment thru the ESSI acquisition. Dr Mitchell B. Rambler, president of the former Support Services business, leads