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.
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.
A tactical datalink management system is making the United Kingdom's armed forces more compatible with its U.S. and North Atlantic Treaty Organization partners. The groundstation-based platform facilitates setting up and monitoring communications networks between air assets. A mobile variant of the equipment will enter service with British expeditionary forces early in the coming decade.
The military information revolution came of age during the Kosovo operation as the North Atlantic Treaty Organization pushed the edge of the technology envelope. Commanders and warfighters found new capabilities that allowed them to take full advantage of precision-guided munitions, flexible surveillance and reconnaissance assets, and real-time situational awareness that reached across the full spectrum of participants.
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.
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 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.
By Dr. Herbert K. Fallin, Jr., and Dipl.-Ing. Walter H.P. Schmidt
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.