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UK MOVES ON INFANTRY C4ISR UORs

UK MOVES ON INFANTRY C4ISR UORs
By Adam Baddeley, Deputy Editor, BATTLESPACE

The UK is moving ahead with two sizeable Urgent Operational Requirements (UORs) to provide improved dismounted situation awareness (SA) and target acquisition, principally for deployment in Afghanistan.

The industry day for the FIST C4I UOR was held on March 12th at Warminster with the goal of providing a communication systems and basic SA systems for the end of the year, with some impetus for a potentially faster in service solution.

Radio manufacturers at the day included Harris with their Secure Personal Radio, the Selex Communications Personal Role Radio family, ITT, Raytheon with their Microlight solution which is now being touted not simply as the user of EPLRS but is also a host for the Soldier Radio Waveform capable and Thales with their SOLAR radio adopted for the in service versions of Germany’s Infanterist der Zukunft. Interestingly, Thales have not offered their TETRA based dual-Vector solution, which was put forward for the FIST C4I Light Level A trials that took place in October 2006.

The FIST PCMO is running the competition for the DCC IPT, reflecting the organisations recent experience is assessing competing systems.

The FAC/FOO Forward Air Controller/Forward Forward Observation Officer UOR is designed to provide 88 lightweight dismounted ISTAR packages quickly direct indirect fires and close air support against time sensitive target.

The user input element of the system will consist of two rugged tablets PCs which will be packaged with the same software so that both the FAC and FOO can interchange tablet. This will be matched with a lightweight laser targetting and geolocation device under the same UOR.

Sixteen companies responded to PQQ and four; BAE Systems, Rockwell Collins, Selex and Ultra Electronics were down selected. There is no formal linkage between this and the UK’s Surveillance System and Range Finder (SSARF) programme.

The systems is closely based in concept to the US Precision Strike Suite for Special Operations Forces (PSS-SOF) dubbed ‘Piss-off’ by troops, designed to provide what is called, ‘near mensuration’ or ‘derived precise co-ordinates’ to ensure that time sensitve targets are engaged. A user lases and locates a target and sends that up the command chain where the target point sent by the FAC/FOO is placed on a high fidelity image held in a classified image database. That image is then back to the user and if when viewed the target point is incorrect by being slightly off target against the image, the users can drag and drop the aim point icon accordingly.

The database that will be used to reference the FAC/FOOs targeting is US classified, but for the purposes of current operations, the UK has access.

The customer has indicated that the handheld Harris AN/PRC-152 will be provided as GFE for the UOR, if none of the four competitors have issues in working with the radio. Alternatively an objection would result in competition between the AN/PRC-117 manpack and AN/PRC-148.

At this stage, the FAC/FOO UOR is for a dismounted solution to which could be added a subsequent mounted requirement.

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