Europe's armed forces are using virtual reality to develop and integrate new technologies. Consisting of several networked facilities operating as a single entity, this research and design capability allows defense firms and their customers to test how systems operate before funds are committed for acquisition and production. This virtual testing center uses sophisticated modeling and simulation functions to create operational and training methodologies.
Europe's armies and defense firms are working together to transform conventional ground forces into digitized, network-centric units. A major part of this effort seeks to connect legacy equipment to data and communications networks. The first of these advanced national brigades is scheduled to enter service by the end of the decade.
The U.S. Army is testing a new technology that will enable a seamless connection between the wireless world and the landline world by means of tactical radio networking. Through the use of an already proven network infrastructure, the addition of a centralized routing capability within a family of current-generation tactical field radios has provided access to multiple forms of connectivity that were previously unattainable in the field.
Changing market demands have prompted a major satellite telecommunications company to diversify its services. Moving beyond its traditional niche leasing transponder space on its large constellation of spacecraft, the company is branching into new areas such as broadband and cellular services. The Washington, D.C.-based firm also is a major provider of video, data and voice communications to the U.S. government.
With the help of commercial technology, 3.1 million of the U.S. Defense Department's most valuable assets, its people, will soon experience transformation from a personal-and personnel-perspective. Work has begun on a departmentwide system that will integrate personnel and pay systems and track each warfighter's career from recruitment to retirement. Soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines will be able to access their individual records and, in some cases, update information from anywhere, including from the battlefield. In addition, combatant commanders will have personnel data literally at their fingertips.