The advent of increasingly sophisticated threat organizations as well as the need to interoperate with technologically mature militaries are impelling many nations to acquire highly capable communications systems that are available from only a few sources. One system, the PRC2100V Spectre V, is the latest in a series of tactical voice and data communications systems and was designed primarily for use by countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America as well as in emerging markets in Central and Eastern Europe.
Unity and simplicity are moving to the Pentagon. After more than 50 years of accumulating individual communications technologies to meet information distribution needs, the military headquarters is following the lead of its individual services and is well on its way, on time and on budget, to creating a joint and integrated information technology system.
Military units and law enforcement personnel are employing the latest in integrated technology and real-time video transmission to conduct operations ranging from narcotics trafficking interdiction to search and rescue efforts. These mature yet evolving systems, used for several years to monitor the jungles of South America, are wending their way to new applications on the streets of Washington, D.C.
A telecommunications company is seeking to lead the United Kingdom's Ministry of Defence into the information age with its own information technology experience. Beginning with converting the British military's communications system to a commercial enterprise, the company is extending its menu of services and systems to fit a governmentwide approach to information access.
In less time than it takes rescue teams to save victims from life-threatening disasters, commercial engineers can deploy a communications network to fulfill operational needs in a crisis. The networks allow disaster relief organizations, commercial entities or the military to establish a communications chain in remote or devastated areas around the world and link decision makers to emergency response crews or operations commanders to field units. One telephone call to an operations center alerts a team of industry technicians who are immediately on their way to an incident site and can establish a communications network within an hour of their arrival.
U.S. Joint Forces Command is harnessing the power of extensible markup language to lash together three capabilities and to facilitate collaboration between intelligence and operations activities. If successful, the integrated capability would increase an individual warfighter's ability to control intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance assets and share targeting information, reducing the time between target identification and strike from minutes to seconds. Integration of those capabilities is in the experimental stage, but the project's director is encouraged by the initial results and believes it could eventually lead to humans on instead of in the targeting-strike loop.
A unique flying antenna testbed plays a significant role in the development and integration of battlefield information networks and communications nodes. Moreover, this aircraft's primary function is to support airborne communications transition to production and fusion into new command and control networks.
The U.S. Army is assessing a prototype multimedia network that will serve as a technology testbed for prospective military tactical wireless systems. Part of a joint program of the Army's Communications-Electronics Command, Fort Monmouth, New Jersey, and industry, the two-year project involves studying the best ways to apply civilian off-the-shelf hardware and software to tactical battlefield uses. Potential benefits include new types of mobile devices with minimal requirements for cables or additional attachments-greatly decreasing the amount of equipment transported or carried by Army personnel.
With updated cabling and server farms in place, the U.S. Navy is making way on a government-owned, government-operated information technology initiative that ultimately will affect more than 41,000 users in Europe, the Middle East and the Far East. During the coming months, sailors stationed at bases outside the continental United States, beyond the scope of the Navy/Marine Corps Intranet, will be coming aboard their own enterprisewide network.
The Turkish army is conducting field trials with a new broad bandwidth, wide-area digital battlefield communications system. This prototype system is designed to provide a common picture of the battlefield in near real time, sharing multimedia information among and between operating systems.
A David and Goliath rematch is shaping up in Northern Europe over the next few weeks. This time, however, there are several Goliaths, and no one will be using a sling. All opponents are armed equally with the latest technological advances, and the contest is in one of the giants' own backyards. Two other titans wait in the wings.
A prototype over-the-horizon communications system and an on-the-move command post that allows commanders to conduct fully mobile operations could help the U.S. Marine Corps maintain connectivity and situational awareness on the battlefield. Developed by the U.S. Marine Corps Warfighting Laboratory in Quantico, Virginia, both systems support the service's doctrine of ship-to-objective maneuver, which calls for the rapid deployment of troops and equipment from the seat to staging areas deep inside enemy territory.
Networking capabilities that increase situational awareness are moving down the chain of command and eliminating bottlenecks in data sharing. Work underway on the Pathfinder advanced concept technology demonstration aims at integrating capabilities so that information gathered by unmanned ground vehicles, unmanned aerial vehicles and unattended ground sensors can be distributed within a mobile, self-forming, self-healing network. The system is designed for use by special operations and lightweight conventional forces in small team operations.
An electrically conductive resin technology may soon free warfighter and civilian wireless devices from bulky aerials. The proprietary recipe can be added to any of the thousands of polymers used to manufacture cases and components, turning the entire bezel of a cellular telephone or handheld radio into an antenna.
The U.S. Joint Spectrum Center is developing and will maintain an extensive set of databases to directly support both the spectrum management and electromagnetic environmental effect communities. To accomplish this task, the center has established the Data Quality Metrics Program, which will monitor and enhance the quality of its databases.
A Star Trek-like communications instrument promises to help penetrate the language barrier by providing automated near-real-time translations. The mobile, lightweight device, which is the size of a cellular telephone and can be clipped to a belt, will translate English paired with Spanish, Korean, Chinese, Arabic, Albanian and Thai as well as other major European languages.
The U.S. military is developing a modular, scalable, multifunctional radio frequency system that would provide unprecedented interoperability through its communications and data gateway while performing signals intelligence collection, electronic warfare and psychological operations broadcast. The technology incorporates common radio frequency hardware components networked with pools of processors that are programmed through software to instantiate a variety of radio frequency capabilities and perform multiple radio frequency functions simultaneously.
The extended littoral battlespace is beginning to shrink as commanders acquire the capability to monitor force operations from greater distances in near-real and real time. Recent exercises held on and off the California coast demonstrated a number of different approaches to linking offshore commanders with onshore events.
In the war against terrorism, ship and aircraft activity may be foremost on the nightly news and in the public eye, but in information-age conflicts an almost invisible force is just as critical to mission success. The military service members who build communications infrastructure from the ground up under combat conditions have become major contributors to winning battles fought by joint and coalition forces.
Miniaturized routers have been merged with mobile technology to give the military uninterrupted high bandwidth connectivity to mission-critical data as forces move throughout a theater of operation, all via one small rugged device. The capability could network troops in unique ways and solve defense-identified challenges of achieving seamless communications mobility between networks while addressing what is known as the form factor-maintaining a small device size and configuration. It can provide interoperability within a group as well as among defense organizations.