German engineers have combined modular hardware components with the flexibility of software-driven operation to produce a new line of radios for military and civil applications. These units can operate across a range of different frequencies while maintaining interoperability with similar equipment on varied platforms.
The former Warsaw Pact nation of Bulgaria is battling fiscal restraints and holdover communists as it strives to achieve its primary defense goal of membership in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. The country is wrestling with cultural changes in its transition to a Western-style democracy with civilian control of its defense establishment. Military leaders once trained to operate in possible Warsaw Pact actions against the West now see the nation's civilian leadership providing full support to alliance operations against its former allies.
The North Atlantic Treaty Organization is developing standards for products that will be incorporated into a tactical communications system to unify forces and encourage interoperability on tomorrow's battlefield in international missions. The alliance must guarantee that the systems it employs in the next century will function with other technologies developed by a plethora of multinational companies. To do this, a major effort is underway to create technical guidelines for the organization's communications architecture.
A multilayer, multinational research and development network is coming online as a result of recent coalition-focused joint operational demonstrations held in the virtual environment. The combined wide area network, which acted as the conduit for sharing information during the exercise, has been transformed into the combined federated battle laboratories network. The year-round, plug-and-play virtual center will allow international combined and U.S. joint service forces to operate with allied national command and control systems over the U.S. Defense Department's global command and control system.
A manportable sensor capable of detecting troops and vehicles up to 100 meters away offers commanders a variety of choices for defensive and surveillance operations. Consisting of a microwave Doppler radar unit and a passive infrared detector, the activated device transmits a message to a sentry who is equipped with a pager display that indicates the type of target and the direction it is moving.
As China's great wall of trade barriers crumbles, telecommunications companies are positioning themselves to take advantage of the major emerging market in Asia. The promise of increased competition and fewer Chinese government impediments to trade could result in a dramatic shift in the focus of telecommunications marketing and is already changing the way companies operate in the region.
The path to Western alliance membership will be paved with silicon if the modernization plan for a former Warsaw Pact nation is successful. The Republic of Bulgaria is looking toward building its revamped military around advanced information systems assembled through U.S. guidance and commercial partnerships.
Faced with a burgeoning humanitarian crisis amid a virtually nonexistent communications infrastructure, Australian peacekeeping forces worked with private industry to establish a broadband network in the heart of East Timor that included connectivity with other peacekeepers as well as their own national headquarters in Australia.
The armed forces in many countries are examining the methods they use to acquire information technology systems. In a coalition environment, procuring communications equipment that will be employed by several nations during cooperative operations is more complicated than point and click. The new trend for allied nations is to begin further back in the supply chain, scrutinizing the processes that influence the development of products.
The Danish military is implementing a versatile software platform for its naval and land command and control systems that has proved to be an affordable means to support data fusion over legacy communications links. Featuring an open architecture, the platform provides generic command, control and communications functions and flexibility in subsystem integration. It is being installed on the country's new ships as well as being retrofitted onto existing vessels.
A new Internet protocol military encryption system from Norway is being targeted for marketing to Scandinavian and new North Atlantic Treaty Organization nations. Developed for Norway's Ministry of Defense, this system provides end-to-end communications security using an Atlantic alliance algorithm and features a smart card removable cryptographic ignition key, operator password and tamper-proof protection.
Nations seeking to enable information exchange among international coalition partners face several daunting tasks for laying the groundwork for vital interoperability. Many of these efforts involve individual national commitments to build interoperability into their systems and practices, while others require consultation and consensus before proceeding along equipment deployment paths.
A team of Scottish researchers is pursuing the design and development of an advanced sonar system that will enable personnel on board tactical surface and air units to communicate with submarines cruising at operational depths without revealing their positions. The technology addresses a growing demand for systems that can deliver critical data to hard-to-reach units to improve interoperability and unify command network connectivity.
The United Kingdom's armed forces will be calling for communications based on capabilities rather than technologies, if the agency responsible for answering their calls is successful. This is the approach chosen for dealing with interoperability challenges, widespread legacy systems and the rapid introduction of new information technologies.
The French army soon may benefit from a prototype command and control system for helicopters that allows low-flying aircraft to share data in a tactical network. The technology features detailed digital terrain maps that can be viewed in the cockpit or from a groundstation before a mission. Mission-planning information and text messaging also can be transmitted via this airborne system.
A wireless communications system offers government organizations the potential to shield both data transmissions and users' geographic locations. The scalable technology can operate in stand-alone networks or through existing public cellular providers, allowing users to make secure calls from almost any location. An optional central administration capacity allows increased security and administrative capabilities, such as the monitoring and control of every participating mobile telephone or handheld computer.
Germany, France and Italy are experimenting with a new fiber optic guided missile system that will enable surface ships more precisely to track and destroy air and surface targets by using remote imaging sensor technology. With an onboard infrared camera and fiber communications system, the weapon can conduct long-range autonomous strikes, then relay critical information to the launch operator for the rapid processing of point of impact and kill assessment data.
The Swedish armed forces and the U.S. Marine Corps are collaborating to develop a design for the possible command post of the future. The goal is to bridge the gap between operational knowledge and technological solutions.
This month marks the beginning of the future of defense science in the United Kingdom as the Ministry of Defence breaks with long-standing custom and transfers the bulk of its research to the commercial sector. The newly formed corporate vehicle for this transformation will be required to sink or swim in the marketplace to maintain its viability as a font of technology innovation.
The North Atlantic Treaty Organization is strengthening its communications structure with a new standard Internet protocol encryption system that protects data, videoconferencing and some voice communications. The organization and its member nations will begin using the system later this year.