International Force Tracking Due for Upgrade in Southwest Asia
Multinational operational commands in
According to André Regtien, principal scientist, NATO NC3A, currently the priority is both to boost capacity and improve responsiveness, for example through reduced and distance-sensitive refresh rates and reduced latency. After the requirements have been approved, the IFTS upgrade should be able to deliver these enhancements in the near future, he says.
The IFTS serves as an interoperability hub for the multinational coalition systems in place in
Paul Knudsen, vice president of Europe, the Middle East and Africa for Globecomm Systems Incorporated, explains that the
From the policy perspective, each country classifies information differently; the
An industry team led by Globecomm developed a unified force tracking system that was installed in
The IFTS enables troops in the field to share this information with their field commanders and each other. Data also can be transmitted through text messages from the warfighter to the vehicle via antenna and then relayed to headquarters. In addition to providing a means for silent communications, text messaging facilitates communications between warfighters who can read foreign languages better than they can speak them.
The displays in each vehicle as well as the command centers use a common database to represent friendly forces, and the maps on the display change based on information annotations from troops in the field. For example, a unit that discovers that a road on the current map has since become impassable enters that information into the system and the common maps are updated simultaneously.
Today, NATO and the company team are being challenged by the increase in the number of ground troops arriving from numerous NATO nations for the surge. Not only is usage demand spiking but also equipment tracking has become a problem as troop rotations grow, Knudsen says.
To address both current issues and those that are likely to arise in the future, Regtien says NATO has set some priorities. “At this moment our priority is increased capacity and improved responsiveness, that is reduced and distance-sensitive refresh rates and reduced latency. The IFTS upgrade should bring us this in the near future, after the requirements are approved. For the longer term, achieving full interoperability at the tactical level is strongly desired, but due to security aspects—nations do not operate all at the same classification level—this will not be easy to achieve,” Regtien shares.