The U.S. Marine Corps Command and Control Battle Laboratory experiment is using modular, easily configured software to achieve visualization and coordination of battlefield radar and communications data. This project provides a picture of ongoing efforts throughout the armed forces to create sophisticated battle management technologies. Designed as a testbed for future air defense and command and control systems, the battle laboratory combines forward-looking new concepts while providing an off-the-shelf hardware and software environment.
Ongoing operations that examine the convergence of current U.S. military information-gathering capabilities may lead to enhanced systems that will more effectively combat theater ballistic missile threats. Research underway by the U.S. military focuses on more effectively exploiting the information provided by overhead nonimaging infrared satellites to support naval missions. Looking into the next century, military officials believe that more capable, future satellite sensor systems will enable the next generation of naval warfighting forces to gain the efficiency and effectiveness required to expand their umbrella of operations.
As the U.S. Army scrambles to digitize the battlefield, an important element in the warfighter's information network is a new high-capacity line-of-sight radio. Operating with an extremely efficient waveform in minimally occupied portions of the electromagnetic spectrum, this multiband software-reprogrammable radio system significantly enhances the ability to meet burgeoning theater bandwidth requirements.
The U.S. Defense Department is turning to a family of software agents that locate, recognize and speed the delivery of critical information to where it is needed most on the battlefield. When minutes and seconds are precious commodities to a warfighter, software transfer agents help manage and expedite the dissemination of badly needed information. These robot-like software tools help leverage the power of the information age.
The U.S. Army's transformation to a rapid-response fighting force is compelling its information systems experts to shift their plans for digitization. Situational awareness is increasing in importance, sensors are becoming more sophisticated, and diverse elements and activities are being linked to make the individual soldier an information-enhanced warrior.
Combatants in the war on terrorism come in all shapes and sizes, including some that are nuts and bolts, metal and machinery. In operations in both Afghanistan and Iraq, warfighters count not only on their buddies to keep them safe but also on luggage-size robots that help clear the improvised explosive devices being used so incessantly by insurgents. Using manportable mechanical marvels, explosive ordnance disposal teams can disarm or detonate explosives from a distance, keeping team members out of harm's way while clearing the way for troop movement.
Forced to go its own way in technology and weapon system development because of a peacetime nonalignment policy and wartime neutrality, Sweden suddenly finds itself the focus of international business attention. Extensive changes are taking place in Sweden's defense and aerospace industries as foreign interest centers on investment, acquisition, merger and multinational consortium arrangements.
Thirty miles outside Louisville, Kentucky, normally there is no noise at all, or just the occasional bird or maybe the wind, but when the curtain rises at the Zussman Urban Combat Training Center, the scene is transformed into total chaos. Explosions, fire, smoke and noise flood the senses. Telephone poles topple, cars careen out of control, and commanders test the mettle of their troops.
The U.S. Navy is developing a weapon that could someday protect submarines and surface ships from enemy torpedoes. Designed to serve as the last line in a layered defensive system, the device is a specialized small-diameter torpedo that tracks and destroys incoming underwater projectiles.
The U.S. Air Force is investigating the feasibility of a coordinated precision engagement system that will enable airborne units to more accurately target an adversary's mobile ground and surface units. Using advanced sensor systems designed for next-generation fighter and surveillance aircraft, service officials hope to combine capabilities in existing air-to-ground missile systems to detect and track seagoing or land-based vehicles from long range, in any weather.
A series of mobile groundstations soon will provide commanders with real-time detection and trajectory information about enemy theater and strategic missiles. Developed to operate with a new constellation of advanced early warning satellites, the air-transportable facilities will enhance the survivability of U.S. expeditionary forces.
Network monitoring tools, long the purview of the U.S. Defense Department logistics community, now are moving to the warfighting environment to support future military operations. The technology continuously examines the health of networks, then reports this information to a central location. It also can prevent system slowdowns by predicting problems and offering solutions.
An advanced personnel-location and communications system will allow U.S. and allied air forces to more easily locate downed pilots and crews. The technology consists of a warfighter-worn personal transceiver with a global positioning system capability and a signal interrogator carried on a search aircraft to query the beacon, and it could expedite efficient wartime aircrew recovery.
Autonomous underwater vehicles, unmanned aircraft and miniature tracked vehicles all rigged with enhanced mine-detecting capabilities will assess a dangerous area before troops disembark from ships, providing them with information about what lies beneath. Outfitting battle groups with these relatively small yet powerful technologies will allow them to conduct mine countermeasures independently so that amphibious units can proceed quickly with their missions.
Assuring the integrity of information in radio frequency tactical networks is rapidly becoming a linchpin for the success of the U.S. Defense Department's Global Information Grid. Without cyberdefense advances, wireless domain devices cannot function properly in the face of information warfare, raising vulnerability issues for the entire U.S. communications infrastructure.
New algorithms and signal processing technologies may reduce the vulnerability of global positioning system devices to electronic countermeasures. Antijam systems already are in production and are being incorporated into the latest U.S. Defense Department weaponry. Future iterations may bring signal assurance to even the smallest handheld consumer devices.
Although global positioning system technologies are being used widely in both the military and commercial arenas, research currently underway could broaden their reach by making the capability better, smarter, faster and less costly. One project, which is near completion, combines inertial navigation with global positioning system navigation to increase effectiveness. The second, a longer term program, is aimed at increasing users' ability to operate successfully in the face of enemy jammers or countermeasures.
Information assurance, preserving radio spectrum, ensuring interoperability and establishing secure wireless links are just some of the tasks on the menu for the Defense Information Systems Agency. The agency's Defense Department-wide mandate has placed it at the nexus of the infosphere that increasingly is defining military operations worldwide.
In the near future, access to U.S. naval vessels and facilities will be accomplished with the swipe of a card. The service is issuing smart cards for entry control and record-keeping purposes to all of its personnel. The rollout is part of a larger program to provide the devices for all U.S. Defense Department employees.
The U.S. Army has developed an airborne tactical command post that enhances company-level units' situational awareness with real-time voice and data connectivity. Mounted inside a UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter, the center features an integrated command and control system hosting an extensive communications suite and five fully automated workstations linked to a central computer that can operate a variety of battlefield software.