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By Stefan Nitschke, M.Sc., Defence Analyst

Network Centric Warfare (NCW) is the methodology the armed forces intend to fight battles in the future. The idea of NCW is to radically improve execution power by networking the individual warfighter with support operators and decision-makers regardless of their location and understanding to achieve shared awareness, increased speed of command, increased agility and survivability, and more rapid, effective decision-making. However, today we are also challenged to win the Global War on Terrorism, transform our forces, meet current demands, and prepare for future symmetric and asymmetric threats. To this point, forces acting under the umbrella of NCW are highly dependent on an accurate characterisation and knowledge of the environment and its effects. This can be brought into action by embarking on highly specialised simulation and training tools which provide both decision-makers and multi-service effectors with a 360 degree view of the mission.

In doing so, EADS developed the NetCOS simulation tool which is a synthetic, platform-independent environment for the design, evaluation, demonstration, and monitoring of networked operations (NetOps). Dr Stefan Zoller, CEO of EADS Defence and Communications Systems told BATTLESPACE at the ILA 2004 that the process of transformation affecting the forces but also non-military organisations and agencies will put together a real-time, highly synergistic network able to provide a challenging technology to cope with today’s and tomorrow’s symmetric and asymmetric threats. Within this concept, anything ranging from manned/unmanned platforms, naval units to forward-deployed observers or small units’ intelligence coordination cells (ICCs) will be interlinked and able to communicate with each other. With European military budgets clearly falling behind those of the US, there is an urgent requirement to bring a comprehensive simulation and training environment to these demands. Dr Stefan Zoller underlines that NetCOS has been developed to this extent to include a secure network for distributed experimentation, different visual systems (audio and video assets), and a plethora of basic simulation components, 3D objects, environment databases, and interface plug-ins providing forces with a completely new methodology to simulate the enhanced speed of command and dynamic, realistic reorganisation of sensors and shooters to meet changing mission requirements. As physical improvements such as increased bandwidths and enhanced sensors and fusion algorithms were find to be beneficial in training exercises and under real battlefield conditions to the number of combat missions, simulation capabilities will be a vital ingredient to the military to help simulating and illustrating crisis theatre, homeland security, or combat scenarios. Both the German Armed Forces’ anticipated joint C4I system (FIS-SK/Streitkraefte) and the French Army’s BOA 2 (Bulle Opérationelle Aéroterrestre) NEC initiative covering the air/land environment would be essentially supported by the NetCOS simulation system by also eventually connecting EADS establishments in France and Germany.

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