UK GEOINT ON THE MOVE
By Yvonne Headington
The UK requirement for deployable geospatial intelligence (GEOINT) is being met by the Field Deployable GEOINT (FDG) programme. The complete system comprises two elements: a Tactical Information and Geospatial Analysis System (TIGAS) fitted within a fleet of 11 MOWAG Duro II 6×6 vehicles as well as Tactical Map Dissemination Points (TDMP) housed in three separate 20-foot standard ISO containers. The vehicles have been adapted to provide a customised two-man working environment with mapping analysis equipment and printers.
The project is being undertaken by Team Socrates, led by Lockheed Martin UK as prime contractor and overall systems integrator. The Team also includes: Marshall Land Systems (container design and manufacture as well as integrated logistic support); SCISYS (software and integration); Attica Consulting (security and communications); KNK (concepts and doctrine); Polaris Consulting (whole life cost modelling) and Safety Assurance Services (safety and environmental work).
An FDG requirement was identified during 2010 and Gloucestershire-based Helyx SIS Ltd, which provides advice and technical solutions for geospatial knowledge management and exploitation, was contracted by the MoD to explore the FDG business case. Lockheed Martin, as Team Socrates lead, was awarded the delivery contract on 30 Jan 12. At the time, the Company expressed its delight in being selected “to lead this critical GEOINT programme….It cements our position as a leading provider of geospatial intelligence and solutions.” The value of the contract has not been disclosed.
One of the FDG MOWAG Duro II 6×6 vehicles (with shelter extension) was on display during DSEI (10-13 Sep 13) at London’s Excel. BATTLESPACE was given a tour of the vehicle by Nigel Lee, Head of Business Development at Lockheed Martin UK Information Systems & Global Solutions. The new system was described by Nigel Lee as a “technology refresh,” replacing analogue map producing equipment such as the Tactical Information Printing System (TACIPRINT). Designed and built in the UK, using commercial-off-the-shelf software, the FDG programme delivers a new level of GEOINT collection and dissemination.
As Nigel Lee explained the TIGAS technology consolidates, enhances and extends existing battlefield GEOINT capabilities and upgrades digital Dataman geoservers which were initially introduced as Urgent Operational Requirements. Dataman, developed and built by the MoD’s Joint Aeronautical & Geospatial Organisation (JAGO), was first deployed to Afghanistan (OP HERRICK) in 2010.
Dataman essentially delivered an innovative and cost-effective way of aligning geospatial and command and control (C2) activities, providing a repository for geospatial data and integrating over 350 layers of information maintained and updated by subject matter experts. The system ‘reaches’ into other databases covering, for instance: Counter-Improvised Explosive Devices, ISTAR, medical facilities, cross-country movements and patrol tracks.
Nigel Lee pointed out that the new servers deployed by the FDG are based on MoD requirements that emerged from Dataman. “We’ve kept the name for simplicity” he said “because the Army understands the name”. The FDG achieved initial operating capability in August 2013 and Nigel Lee confirmed that it was set to reach full operating capability with 42 Engineer Regiment (which operated Dataman) during October 2013.
It is understood that there is already strong overseas interest in the FDG technology. “Everything is UK intellectual property” confirmed Nigel Lee and Team Socrates is now looking for export opportunities. “If you are going to forward deploy, and you need to have up-to-date maps and information for the battle commander at the tactical level, then you’ll need this”. Ray Cutting, Director of Marshall Land Systems, subsequently confirmed that the “interest which is also being shown in the export market is