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Special Report

Next Generation Mission Critical Tactical Communication Solutions

Tactical Communications Trends in Tactical Communications Systems The Emerging Threat Environment and Tactical Communications Tactical Communications Systems in Action The Future is Now?

Sponsored by

Published by Global Business Media


Tactical communication solutions supporting network-enabled operations

Effectiveness is the foundation of all mission critical communication, especially in the combat arena where flexible and reliable tactical communication infrastructures are a must. In the performance of their duties, demanding customers such as armed forces place their trust in RUAG‘s secure tactical communication technologies and systems. Our tactical network communications equipment and solutions allow armed forces to be securely connected, mobile and more effective.

RUAG Defence Freiburgstrasse 251 | 3018 Bern | Switzerland tacticalcomms.defence@ruag.com | www.ruag.com/tacticalcomms


SPECIAL REPORT

Next Generation Mission Critical Tactical Communication Solutions

SPECIAL REPORT: NEXT GENERATION MISSION CRITICAL TACTICAL COMMUNICATION SOLUTIONS

Contents Foreword

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Mary Dub, Editor

Tactical Communications Trends in Tactical Communications Systems The Emerging Threat Environment and Tactical Communications Tactical Communications Systems in Action The Future is Now?

Sponsored by

Published by Global Business Media

Published by Global Business Media Global Business Media Limited 62 The Street Ashtead Surrey KT21 1AT United Kingdom Switchboard: +44 (0)1737 850 939 Fax: +44 (0)1737 851 952 Email: info@globalbusinessmedia.org Website: www.globalbusinessmedia.org Publisher Kevin Bell

Tactical Communications

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RUAG Schweiz AG

Tactical Communications – A Background Key Characteristics of a Tactical Communication Network A Typical Tactical Communication System Addressing the Challenge Versatile Product Portfolio Voice and Data Integration Data Routing and Priority Functions Tactical Telephony Services Next Generation Wireless Readiness Ease of Operation Economies of Scope An Open Platform Committed to the Evolution of the Tactical Network

Trends in Tactical Communications Systems

Senior Project Manager Steve Banks

NATO Use of the United States Tactical Common Data Link (TCDL) The Specification and Technology Challenge of JTRS (Joint Tactical Radio System) The Problems of Immature Technology Special Forces Receive Funding for Full Motion Video Tactical Communications upgrade in FY 2013

Advertising Executives Michael McCarthy Abigail Coombes

The Emerging Threat Environment and Tactical Communications

Business Development Director Marie-Anne Brooks Editor Mary Dub

Production Manager Paul Davies For further information visit: www.globalbusinessmedia.org The opinions and views expressed in the editorial content in this publication are those of the authors alone and do not necessarily represent the views of any organisation with which they may be associated. Material in advertisements and promotional features may be considered to represent the views of the advertisers and promoters. The views and opinions expressed in this publication do not necessarily express the views of the Publishers or the Editor. While every care has been taken in the preparation of this publication, neither the Publishers nor the Editor are responsible for such opinions and views or for any inaccuracies in the articles.

Š 2012. The entire contents of this publication are protected by copyright. Full details are available from the Publishers. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical photocopying, recording or otherwise, without the prior permission of the copyright owner.

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Mary Dub, Editor

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Don McBarnet, Staff Writer

The Pivot to Asia Battlefield Airborne Communications Node Contract for Northrup Grumman General Dynamics Looks to Brazil for New Orders with the Support of the British Prime Minister

Tactical Communications Systems in Action

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Meredith Llewellyn, Lead Contributor

The Action Narrative The Pentagon Attempt to Pre-Empt the Problem The Demand from the Frontline for Better Tactical Communications Current Solution Limitations

The Future is Now?

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Mary Dub, Editor

Radical Restructuring for NETT Warrior DARPA Looks Further into the Future 2012 Hawklink Helicopter Contract for L-3 Software and Architecture Paradigm Shift

References 16

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SPECIAL REPORT: NEXT GENERATION MISSION CRITICAL TACTICAL COMMUNICATION SOLUTIONS

Foreword T

his Special Report looks at the high

The third article looks in-depth at the implications of

priority area of tactical communications.

the 2011 Libya campaign and the powerful drive for

Rapid evolutionary and revolutionary change

western nations to decline to commit ‘boots on the

in technology in the civilian sector makes the

ground’ in preference to air campaigns. Combine

subject of replicating what can be achieved by the

this trend with uncertainty about the implications for

man in the street on a smart phone, an aspiration

the United States pivot to the Pacific Rim, and the

for a soldier on patrol on operations as part of a

consequence has been fewer contracts and what

networked fighting force.

new deals there are going to air capabilities and

The report opens with an article that looks at the

Special Forces.

need for sophisticated support systems to counter

It is only when a communication system is finally

the changing threats in asymmetric warfare. IP

taken to the front and sees combat that the true

technology for military networks makes possible a

capabilities of the new technology can be tested

uniform and single network for voice, data and video

by reality. The fourth piece looks at what has been

link, while creating a gateway between existing and

showing up on patrol and the difficulties for tactical

new technologies. A typical communications system

communication systems in both mountainous terrains

is a central component for ensuring that tactical

and urban areas.

forces can be reached and can communicate with

In an era of high uncertainty and transition, to assess

each other. The article goes on to describe the main

what is happening now can be tough, let alone the

features and requirements of such systems.

business of predicting the medium to long-term

In these economically stringent times, aspiration

future. The final piece, hazards some thought through

and specifications have met the stumbling block

consequences of decisions taken recently. Where

of Congressional budget cuts and criticisms from

events will lead, only time will tell.

US Army assessors. According to the assessors, immature technology and hardware have been the cause of cancellations of expensive programs. As a result costly off-the-shelf alternatives have had to be found. This is the subject of the second piece.

Mary Dub Editor

Mary Dub has covered the defence field in the United States and the UK as a television broadcaster, journalist and conference manager.

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SPECIAL REPORT: NEXT GENERATION MISSION CRITICAL TACTICAL COMMUNICATION SOLUTIONS

Tactical Communications RUAG Schweiz AG

Tactical openAccess Node: mobile voice and data switch for tactical communication systems. Future Warfare Challenges

Tactical Communications – A Background

Key Characteristics of a Tactical Communication Network

The search and implementation of effective command in battles is as old as the history of mankind. Commanders require a direct interaction with their troops and need secure and reliable communications especially when large distances and numbers of troops are involved. The ability and the speed to obtain utilise and communicate visual, acoustic or text messages to and from command to soldiers in the battlefield is key for success. Technology and its evolution have and continue to play an essential role in improving this efficiency. Communication networks continue to grow in importance for military operations such as standard command and control, to logistics but also for special operations or mission or time-critical targeting. Even though today’s networks can provide increased flexibility, with a variety of technologies and efficiency for defence organisations, they are, however, limited when it comes to the myriad of new challenges arising from the variety of operating and environmental conditions, or network security, when one addresses the needs for the tactical users close to or in the battlefield.

In dealing with the complex needs of the modern battlefield and the present changing threats in asymmetric warfare, the requirements for sophisticated support systems are increasing tremendously. The ability to obtain up-to-date instant information or even local situation awareness is key to success. A core military communications network provides the high capacity network, for voice, data and video transmission, with guaranteed security of quality and access, for command and control systems on land, in the air or at sea. It is, however, not much use if it does not go hand in hand with and extend its functions down to the Tactical Edge Network, to communicate with divisions and battalions.

Future Warfare Challenges The introduction of IP technology in military networks not only paves the way to enable a uniform and single network technology for all voice, data and video service, but it is also a technology which will push the interoperability, via gateway functionalities, between the existing and new technologies. The introduction of IP has, in recent years, driven the evolution from

Tactical openAccess Nodes are integrated voice and data switches that provide the essential foundation for today’s mission critical communication infrastructure. They are used by national and international military forces, peace keeping troops and crisis management teams.

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RUAG Defence Freiburgstrasse 251 | 3018 Bern | Switzerland


SPECIAL REPORT: NEXT GENERATION MISSION CRITICAL TACTICAL COMMUNICATION SOLUTIONS

Even though today’s networks can provide increased flexibility, with a variety of technologies and efficiency for defence organisations, Core Network

they are, however, limited when it comes to the myriad of new challenges.

Tactical Edge

just simple C2 (Command & Control) networks to the introduction of C4I (Command, Control, Computer, Communications & Information) or Battle Management Systems (BMS). The consequence of all this is that there is a faster turnaround in access to field information, decision taking, and the decisions to be communicated back to the Tactical Edge Network, where the remote command posts and troops are located. These, in turn, are communicated in a timely manner at an operational level with orders for engagement so that they can adapt rapidly to changing threats. These tactical users are confronted with a host of challenges which cannot be resolved with standard commercial systems or applications. The tactical environment is confronted with a 4 | www.defenceindustryreports.com

rugged environment, where one has to deal with highly mobile operating conditions, a constrained space for equipment, complex wireless propagation and restricted communication capabilities. In this environment, the communication systems not only have to deal with fixed but also inside and outside vehicle communication. Obviously, each team leader or commander has to be able to access in some way or another voice, video and data sub-networks. One of the key characteristics of the tactical edge is that it is a highly decentralised environment with limited communication capabilities and bandwidth. Here, small squadrons and rapid deployment forces depend on a robust and secure communications medium, typically Intercom,


SPECIAL REPORT: NEXT GENERATION MISSION CRITICAL TACTICAL COMMUNICATION SOLUTIONS

Tactical Mobile Sub-Networks

radio and a variety of sensors. This implies a fully autonomous operation with no single point of failure, where vehicle communication systems, when disconnected from the tactical network, can continue their operations in their own limited sphere of action and resume communications automatically when the tactical network is available again. The decentralised nature of the tactical mobile sub-network also means that, not only a variety of radio and wireless technologies have to be supported, but also that moving vehicles and/ or soldiers have to be able to communicate with each other. This implies that vehicles and soldiers form a mesh network as they come within reach of each other, supporting a flexible ad-hoc deployment.

A Typical Tactical Communication System A tactical communications system is not just a communications system – it is a central component for ensuring that Tactical forces can be reached and also that they can intercommunicate. From the above-discussed challenges the system must: (a) be designed to meet the requirements of the rugged military environment and must be rapidly deployable in different space constrained environments; (b) be flexible and built with a full IP architecture to ensure future evolution whilst maintaining legacy applications; (c) be able to adapt to changing tactical situations and varying environmental conditions where mobility is a key ; (d) provide decentralised autonomous securable communications, such as voice, data, and

video, among mobile users, especially legacy voice and IP voice services; (e) facilitate command and control within, and in support of, tactical forces, with specific applications; (f) cater for a heterogeneous communication environment with support of analogue and digital technologies and a variety of protocols including IP – to ensure investment protection; (g) support seamless interoperability – that is to provide a gateway functionality, amongst different equipment and technologies to allow for seamless migration to new equipment and services.

Tactical openAccess Node: mobile voice and data switch for tactical communication systems.

Addressing the Challenge RUAG Defence with its expertise not only in Tactical Communication but also vehicle integration and overhaul, has developed a range of Tactical openAccess Nodes created for use by national and international military forces, peace keeping troops and crisis management teams. The Tactical openAccess Nodes’ connectivity and operational features provide secure and scalable functionality for voice, data and imagery applications demanded in the combat arena and homeland security relations. RUAG Tactical openAccess Nodes can concurrently support multiple roles in practical military communication scenarios. These nodes have an integrated voice and data switch which enables transparent voice and data communication between strategic, public and legacy networks while interoperability and ahierarchical networking insures effective communication at every level – from soldier to Brigade to ‘Command and Control’. In this way, the nodes provide the essential

Tactical openAccess Nodes are integrated voice and data switches that provide the essential foundation for today’s mission critical communication infrastructure. They are used by national and international military forces, peace keeping troops and crisis management teams.

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RUAG Defence Freiburgstrasse 251 | 3018 Bern | Switzerland


SPECIAL REPORT: NEXT GENERATION MISSION CRITICAL TACTICAL COMMUNICATION SOLUTIONS

RUAG Tactical openAccess Node is a product line that addresses the Tactical open Access Node R

needs from core to edge, bridging the

foundation for today’s mission-critical communications infrastructures.

Versatile Product Portfolio

communication gap between headquarters and mobile forces.

Built on proven hardware and software technology, RUAG compact network nodes are compliant with global industry and governmental standards for vehicle and military grade electronics. These nodes are not only highly reliable, but are also adaptable to a wide variety of extreme ad-hoc deployments. The watertight ultra rugged enclosure is hermetically sealed to withstand severe humidity and dust exposure as well as extreme temperatures. Its form-factor is optimally designed for space/ weight-constrained military vehicles and ground mobile deployments. It is corrosion resistant, shock/vibration protected and can easily be mounted. RUAG Tactical openAccess Node is a product line that addresses the needs from core to edge, bridging the communication gap between headquarters and mobile forces. Its advanced telephony and data switching capability and gateway services make it the perfect choice for national and international military forces, peacekeeping troops and crisis management teams. Even with bandwidth limitations and restricted channel availability, RUAG Tactical openAccess Nodes truly extend the range of the core IP network. It links into virtual LANs using tactical radio channels; but is also equipped with multiple interfaces that allow LOS (Line-of-sight), meshed WLAN and universal Ethernet connections. This capability allows fixed line communication

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equipment and field radio devices to exchange information that contribute to situational awareness and operational effectiveness.

Voice and Data Integration Tactical openAccess Nodes cater for a full range of subscriber voice interfaces ranging from analogue, ISDN and SIP telephony, but also trunk-based interfaces including Eurocom or H.323, along with the associated interworking. Being fully IP-based, they also cater for switching and routing of voice, data, and video communications as well as advanced tactical radio integration for HF and VHF and data capabilities. As the Tactical openAccess Nodes have an integrated VoIP PBX functionality, all features of this PBX and connectivity to other VoIP terminals are available. Other advanced functionality includes IP-unicast and bandwidth efficient IP multicast routing over multiple subnets. In this way the nodes provide a full flexibility and ease of integration of all the major needs in the tactical environment. This includes, for example, existing Intercom systems for in-vehicle communications or even the interconnection to civilian telephony and data networks.

Data Routing and Priority Functions Being IP-based, Tactical openAccess Nodes allow for QoS level routing based on criteria as source and destination port. They cater for Quality of Service (QoS) based Traffic Prioritization, where priority levels may be assigned to voice calls, depending on user role and manual priority selection such as ‘emergency call’.


SPECIAL REPORT: NEXT GENERATION MISSION CRITICAL TACTICAL COMMUNICATION SOLUTIONS

Tactical Telephony Services

Ease of Operation

One of the essential requirements in tactical communication is the ability to provide decentralised telephony solutions, whereby the directory can be decentralised and support full user and sub-net mobility. As nodes move, they may be out of reach and thereby break connection with other nodes and networks. With its distributed user directory, the tactical nodes can continue to operate locally and provide full communication functionality for the users locally connected. As a vehicle reconnects to other vehicles or the network, its support of peer-to-peer technology, along with telephony number resolution, is based on flooding technology to enable full user affiliation and de-affiliation of services and networking. This allows for integration of multiple dial plan schemes into a single unified one. Pre-emption of calls based on a user’s priority setting is supported throughout the tactical telephony service features. In this way, Tactical openAccess Nodes support seamless integration of Combat Network Radios (CNR), Push-to-Talk and selective calling.

An integral part of the Tactical openAccess Node is a suite of network management tools, based on widely supported standards for seamless integration into existing systems. With dedicated web based tools for local control, Tactical openAccess Nodes are simple to configure and easy to operate making them ideal for frequent change of personnel but especially for ease of configuration.

Next Generation Wireless Readiness Some of the key applications in the tactical environment are wireless based. At the heart of many emerging military wireless communications systems are software defined Radio and Packet Radio technologies, including commercialoff-the-shelf (COTS) technologies, such as WLAN, WiMAX, 3G or even 4G. The flexibility and open architecture of the RUAG Tactical openAccess Nodes caters for ease of integration of these technologies. In a similar fashion, RUAG Tactical openAccess Nodes can be deployed as GSM/UMTS Nanocell to provide wireless network coverage independent of a deployed GSM/UMTS network. This is ideal in the case of a crisis situation where armed forces have to act jointly in conjunction with Blue Light forces. They can be used as mobile/deployable base stations in different scenarios – providing coverage in strategic areas lacking coverage from existing GSM/UMTS networks; providing wireless connectivity in neighborhood for mobile command posts independent of public networks and in licensed frequency range; or providing backup for public networks in case of failure or overload in disaster scenarios.

Economies of Scope The RUAG Tactical openAccess Node concepts have been designed to ensure ease of use and to simplify their deployment. The ideal size of the nodes allows a cost effective deployment in space-restricted locations but, above all, use of the same software for all its nodes, simplifies not only maintenance, but also reduces training requirements. By supporting legacy radio and voice systems alongside IP-based services, this allows a seamless migration and safeguards costs. This enables customers to plan investments in a timely manner. The functionality and flexibility of the RUAG Tactical openAccess Node allows it to be deployed in a variety of roles. This multifunction capability offers not only unit economy but also vital flexibility that ensures rapid network architecture changes or relocations, providing ease in training soldiers and also simplicity in logistics and inventory.

Tactical openAccess Node: mobile voice and data switch for tactical communication systems.

An Open Platform Committed to the Evolution of the Tactical Network RUAGs tactical communication offering provides a palette of IP access nodes that comply to military environmental specifications as well as established industry and governmental communication standards. They ensure secure communications in harsh, rugged environments and are field proven, for voice, video, data services, and interoperability under real dayto-day military deployment conditions. With its open concept and its ability to support legacy and future services, the RUAG Tactical openAccess Nodes are not just switches, routers or gateways but are a fundamental integration device in the tactical network of armed forces, to ensure secure and robust communications within this mission-critical domain.

Tactical openAccess Nodes are integrated voice and data switches that provide the essential foundation for today’s mission critical communication infrastructure. They are used by national and international military forces, peace keeping troops and crisis management teams.

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RUAG Defence Freiburgstrasse 251 | 3018 Bern | Switzerland


SPECIAL REPORT: NEXT GENERATION MISSION CRITICAL TACTICAL COMMUNICATION SOLUTIONS

Trends in Tactical Communications Systems Mary Dub, Editor

Sound procurement decision making requires a “triangular dialogue between ... operational requirements, technological feasibility and financial capability.” Sir Michael Howard, military historian and Regius Professor of Modern History at Oxford University

The strong emerging countries of Brazil, Russia, India and China often present aggressive competition to western manufacturers of equipment.

T

he history of tactical communications in the United States in the past decade has been dogged by the failure of this triangular dialogue. Operational requirements for network centric warfare (NCW) or networkenabled warfare (NEW) have demanded high capability tactical communication systems. However, the process of developing technological feasibility to overcome the many obstacles to providing light, failsafe, radio communications for military vehicles and dismounted soldiers has been a tangled narrative of ambition, challenge and eventual cancellation after high levels of sunk costs. Writing in 2012 when the Senate Armed Services Committee has marked many, if not all procurement programs with cuts, and with the prospect of more austerity to come, the companies that do succeed in doing deals with the Pentagon to provide improved tactical communication systems for Special Forces or helicopters, have high performing technology. Of course, the United States is not the only market for tactical communication systems. Western Europe, Asia and South America also need new systems. Western Europe is handicapped by worse economic fortune than the United States. But the strong emerging countries of Brazil, Russia, India and China often present aggressive competition to western manufacturers of equipment. The shrinking global market for technology is both vigorous and competitive. The Washington Post summarises the situation well: “After more than a decade of increasing defense budgets, DoD now must plan for $487 billion in cuts over the next decade, with still more substantial cuts possible. In this environment, the competition for programmatic dollars will be fierce.”1

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NATO Use of the United States Tactical Common Data Link (TCDL) Because in the past the United States’ armed forces have been better funded and equipped than other allied countries, the Pentagon has customarily led on the types and specifications of systems used by allies. The Tactical Common Data Link (TCDL) is a secure data link in development by the U.S. military to send secure data and streamed video links from airborne platforms to ground stations. The TCDL can accept data from many different sources, then encrypt, multiplex, encode, transmit, de-multiplex, and route this data at high speeds. It employs a Ku narrowband uplink that is used for both payload and vehicle control, and a wideband downlink for data transfer. The TCDL uses both directional and omnidirectional antennas to transmit and receive the Ku band signal. TCDL uses IP, Internet Protocol Version 4 (IPv4), and the dominant protocol of the Internet. Some systems employ its successor, Internet Protocol Version 6 (IPv6), which is increasingly in use.

The Specification and Technology Challenge of JTRS (Joint Tactical Radio System) To deal with the challenge of tactical communication in counter insurgency campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan, the United States commissioned prime contractors under the leadership of Boeing. The Pentagon’s JTRS (Joint Tactical Radio System) aimed to replace existing radios in the American military with a single set of software-defined radios that could have new frequencies and modes (“waveforms”) added via upload, instead of requiring multiple radio types in ground vehicles, and using circuit


SPECIAL REPORT: NEXT GENERATION MISSION CRITICAL TACTICAL COMMUNICATION SOLUTIONS

RUAG – Personal Area Network

board swaps in order to upgrade. What was the problem that they were trying to deal with? Tactical radios have to be able to communicate between ground commanders and vehicles at a distance in both an urban and mountainous environment. They need to be able to exchange data with helicopters and UAVs and fixed wing aircraft. They needed to be low SWAP (Space, Weight and Power) and compatible with legacy hardware. They need to be capable of not giving a radio signal to enemies and they need to operate when radio signals are denied. Similarly, they need to be able to work within classified and encrypted networks.

The Problems of Immature Technology Before the Boeing JTRS program was cancelled in 2010, Frank Kendall, Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics, is quoted as saying that inadequate affordability analysis, a misunderstanding of the technical challenges due to immature technology and poor contractor and program performance, all contributed to the exponential cost growth of the JTRS program. The new JTRS ground mobile radios were scrutinized in June and July 2010 as part of the Army’s Network Integration Evaluation at Fort Bliss, Texas, and White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico. Army Brigadier General Michael Williamson, who headed the office that oversees the Boeing program and other joint radio systems, said the waveform, the software that runs the device, performed well. “There are still questions about what’s the right size and configuration for the radio itself,” he said on Oct. 11 in an interview in Washington. Soldiers were concerned about the radio’s “size and heat. That was their biggest issue.”2 The Ground

Mobile Radio was 207-pounds and refrigeratorsize when the Army started evaluating it at White Sands Missile Range, N.M in 2010. Its critical lack of refrigeration meant it could not withstand the New Mexico heat at the evaluation center at White Sands Missile Center.

Special Forces Receive Funding for Full Motion Video Tactical Communications upgrade in FY 2013 It is in the context of this history and the extraordinarily austere financial environment, that any contract that passes Congress is worthy of note. In the Armed Services Committee FY2013 Budget review, there are contracts for tactical communications going through, specifically for full motion video: in testimony before the Subcommittee on Emerging Threats and Capabilities on March 27, 2012, the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Special Operations/ Low Intensity Conflict stated ‘‘the high definition capability is a game changer for decision makers’’ because it provides a greater degree of clarity in making decisions regarding the use of force, while minimizing the risk of collateral damage. Additionally, the Commander of USSOCOM has told the committee: ‘‘recent operational success highlighted the need for the HD FMV (High Definition Full Motion Video) capability to be fielded on special operations platforms as soon as possible.’’

Tactical openAccess Node: mobile voice and data switch for tactical communication systems.

Tactical openAccess Nodes are integrated voice and data switches that provide the essential foundation for today’s mission critical communication infrastructure. They are used by national and international military forces, peace keeping troops and crisis management teams.

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RUAG Defence Freiburgstrasse 251 | 3018 Bern | Switzerland


SPECIAL REPORT: NEXT GENERATION MISSION CRITICAL TACTICAL COMMUNICATION SOLUTIONS

The Emerging Threat Environment and Tactical Communications Don McBarnet, Staff Writer

Until a decision has been taken, probably after the Inauguration of the next President in January 2013, it is unlikely that any clear spending pattern is going to emerge that will drive decisiontaking in the Armed Services Committee of Congress to buy one system or another.

T

he autumn/winter of 2012 is a period of transition in global affairs. The timetable for drawdown from Afghanistan is approaching with added urgency. While ISAF troops are still in some areas facing intense combat, the focus is on training and mentoring the Afghan National Forces, both the police and the army, to be able to maintain security after the withdrawal of most ISAF forces in 2014. Few members of the coalition are looking to ramp up their capabilities in the field, indeed many are planning the return of expensive equipment through long lines of communication to sea ports or overland to return their military resources to base. While the Western withdrawal from Afghanistan is taking place, another strong sentiment is at play in western democratic countries. Not only do they feel disinclined to commit to an uncertain outcome of more conflict, after what some see as a ‘loss’ in Afghanistan, they are driving policies in NATO and the United States that inhibit governments from taking action that mandates ‘boots on the ground’. The operation Unified Protector in Libya (2011) to protect civilians protesting against their government was conducted entirely from the air, where communication took place between allies from fixed wing, rotorcraft and unmanned aerial vehicles. One of the many complex lessons learned from this responsibility to protect campaign was the need for enhanced ISTAR facilities. While, of course, the role of the air force was noted, the critical backup provided by naval resources in the Mediterranean were the Cinderella service in the campaign, whose value is only now being appreciated. So, in 2012, even while a type of civil war is taking place in Syria with the risk of war spreading to other neighbouring countries in the Middle East, no western country is arguing effectively for a military commitment on the ground to intervene in the crisis. This inhibition to commit troops on the ground because of the cost of the commitment in money and men is also

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the inhibition guiding the Pentagon’s decision not to spend more on necessary technology for the armed forces.

The Pivot to Asia While procurement departments in the Pentagon and western European countries keep their wallets firmly in their pocket, global tectonic plates are shifting. There is no longer an emphasis on the legacy of the Second World War and conflict on the plains of Europe or the Balkan region or the troubled countries of South Asia, Iraq and Afghanistan. The United States, still the country with the highest levels of defence spending, is focussing on letting men go and challenging what resources it needs to follow through on Obama’s policy to ‘pivot to Asia’. Fierce debate is taking place in think tanks both within and outside the beltway about what this means in practice for America’s land forces. But while the debate takes place and until a decision has been taken, probably after the Inauguration of the next President in January 2013, it is unlikely that any clear spending pattern is going to emerge that will drive decision-taking in the Armed Services Committee of Congress to buy one system or another.

Battlefield Airborne Communications Node Contract for Northrup Grumman The Battlefield Airborne Communications Node (BACN) is an airborne communications relay and gateway system hosted on a variety of aircraft that provides flexible radio connectivity across the battle space for airborne and surface operators. BACN enables real-time information to flow between similar and dissimilar tactical data link and voice systems through relay, bridging, and data translation in line of sight and beyond line of sight situations. Because of its flexible deployment options and ability to operate at high altitudes, BACN can enable air and surface forces to overcome communications difficulties caused


SPECIAL REPORT: NEXT GENERATION MISSION CRITICAL TACTICAL COMMUNICATION SOLUTIONS

by complex mountainous terrain and range while performing as a key node for tactical networks. BACN provides decision-makers at all operational echelons with critical information and increases situational awareness by correlating tactical and operational air and ground pictures. For example, an Army unit on the ground currently sees a different picture than an aircrew, but with BACN, both can see the same picture. Given the need for improved ISTAR learned from the campaign in Libya and the flexibility of aircraft in many different theatres of conflict or for assistance in Responsibility to Protect missions or humanitarian assistance, the high levels of expenditure on a Airborne Communications Node is justifiable expenditure in a transition stage. Northrop Grumman Corporation delivered a Global Hawk unmanned aircraft to the U.S. Air Force carrying the Battlefield Airborne Communications Node (BACN). The system was produced and delivered ahead of schedule as part of an ongoing BACN development, operations and maintenance contract to support U.S. Central Command missions. “By pairing BACN and Global Hawk, military commanders can provide the system’s critical capabilities during a single flight lasting more than 30 hours,” said George Guerra, Global Hawk unmanned air systems vice president with Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems. “This is important when ground units operate in mountainous terrain where landbased communications systems don’t function as well.” BACN bridges and extends voice communications and information sharing from numerous sources using a suite of computers and radio systems. It’s also installed on two other EQ-4B Global Hawk aircraft and three E-11A Bombardier Global Express BD-700 aircraft. The United States Air Force awarded Northrop Grumman the $47 million contract in December 2011 for the purchase and integration of two BACN payloads on two existing Global Hawk aircraft. The company delivered the BACNequipped Global Hawk in June 2012.

General Dynamics Looks to Brazil for New Orders with the Support of the British Prime Minister The Tactical Data Communications system, called Bowman, used by the British armed forces, has been many years in installation by General Dynamics (UK). Bowman is a tactical communications system combining digital voice and data technology to provide secure radio, telephone, intercom and tactical Internet services in a modular and fully integrated system. The program demanded the conversion of over 18,000 platforms, including vehicles, helicopters, naval vessels, landing craft and

The threat to security in the BRIC countries of Brazil, Russia, India and China hold the potential to offer more contracts to technology companies than the budget limited economies

Tactical openAccess Node: mobile voice and data switch for tactical communication systems.

of the United States and Western Europe.

fixed HQ buildings. However, to boost the growth of General Dynamics (UK) in October 2012, the Prime Minister has been supporting the establishment of a subsidiary in Brazil. Brazil is currently in the process of procuring a number of defence and security solutions that would benefit from General Dynamics UK’s systems integration capabilities, ranging from a £20m Command and Control System in advance of the Football World Cup and Olympics, to the major US$4bn opportunity, SisGAAZ, which will integrate a C4I1 network to protect 8000kms of littoral, economic exclusion zone, and continental shelf extension (primary oil and gas fields) as well as contributing to search and rescue capability. The threat to security in the BRIC countries of Brazil, Russia, India and China hold the potential to offer more contracts to technology companies than the budget limited economies of the United States and Western Europe.

Tactical openAccess Nodes are integrated voice and data switches that provide the essential foundation for today’s mission critical communication infrastructure. They are used by national and international military forces, peace keeping troops and crisis management teams.

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SPECIAL REPORT: NEXT GENERATION MISSION CRITICAL TACTICAL COMMUNICATION SOLUTIONS

Tactical Communications Systems in Action Meredith Llewellyn, Lead Contributor

After an investment of 15 years and $17 billion, today the Army is still struggling to build better radios and estimates it may require to spend another $12 billion to get what it needs.

A

lthough the ISAF soldier on patrol will always proceed with the task assigned with the equipment assigned, the lack of universal good tactical communication equipment is a common hazard of operations in Afghanistan and elsewhere. The think tank, the Center for Public Integrity, describes a scenario, which will have strong resonance to many a soldier back from South Asia.

The Action Narrative “As several dozen soldiers from the U.S. Army’s Task Force Rock drove into Afghanistan’s Chowkay Valley one morning in March 2010, Taliban fighters immediately began moving into ambush positions along a higher ridge. The Force’s mission was to protect a U.S. reconstruction team as it met with local village leaders, but it was stuck in place as the Taliban reached their fighting posts. What tied them down were their radios: a forest of plastic and metal cubes sprouting antennae of different lengths and sizes. They had short-range models for talking with the reconstruction team; longer-range versions for reaching headquarters 25 miles away and a backup satellite radio in case the mountains blocked the transmission. An Air Force controller carried his own radio for talking to jet fighters overhead and a separate radio for downloading streaming video from the aircraft. Some of these radios worked only while the troopers were stationary; others were simply too cumbersome to operate on the move. “Not good,” said Spec. Geoff Pearman, as he watched farmers scurry indoors from their wheat fields – a sure sign that fighting was imminent.3”

The Pentagon Attempt to Pre-Empt the Problem This long-standing and familiar scenario was recognised and acknowledged by the Pentagon and Congress. The program to work out and

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deliver a solution was both overly ambitious, poorly managed and saddled by incompatible goals. The program burned through $6 billion while producing little working hardware. Delays forced the Army to spend $11 billion more on old-style radios to meet the urgent demands of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.4 But the need for simpler battlefield communications remains. After an investment of 15 years and $17 billion, today the Army is still struggling to build better radios and estimates it may require to spend another $12 billion to get what it needs. The U.S. taxpayer has paid the bill, but frontline soldiers like those from Task Force Rock bore the true cost.

The Demand from the Frontline for Better Tactical Communications In evidence before the RAND Arroyo Urban Operations Conference, (1999) U.S. ARMY ACTD MAJ Lee G. Offen made a presentation, which illustrates the tactical communications needs of a commander on patrol with his platoon. In his words “First, in an urban environment, wireless communication suffers from path loss and fading. Transmitted signals are blocked, reflected, refracted, and diffracted as they travel through and around buildings, walls, and floors. Received signal strength drops, which also lowers throughput. Second, MOUT (Military Operations on Urban Terrain) is largely an infantry fight, so most radios must be manportable. Hardware size, weight, and power (read batteries) are a challenge. Third, communications security and resistance to jamming continue to be major concerns.”5 As a soldier on operation, Offen also needed Low probability of Exploitation (LPE), which keeps the enemy from fixing friendly unit positions, low probability of interception (LPI), which keeps the enemy from knowing what friendly units


SPECIAL REPORT: NEXT GENERATION MISSION CRITICAL TACTICAL COMMUNICATION SOLUTIONS

RUAG – Tactical openAccess Node T

are sending and finally, he needs resistance to jamming. But, most importantly of all, he requires a constant and persistent signal. Fading, which is variation in received signal strength, occurs for several reasons. Fading (multipath) occurs when direct waves and reflected waves from the same signal arrive at the receiver from different paths and at different times (out of phase) and are subjected to destructive interference. Basically, fading occurs when radio waves from the same signal reflect off obstructions and interfere with each other. Path loss occurs when radio signals are attenuated as they pass through or around walls, buildings, and objects in the channel. Energy is absorbed or reflected as it passes through objects. Path loss is a term used to quantify the difference (in dB) between transmitted power and received power. Major Offen quotes common but trying problems for the technology. “For example, building construction materials, building age, wall locations, ceiling heights, and the like all affect path loss. Major obstacles include steel slabs, metallic pipes, and ventilation ducts. Concrete is worse than brick, and brick is worse than limestone. Floor level also matters. For example, middle floors are the best when building penetration loss is the concern and other tall buildings are adjacent. More windows help radio propagation.” These are big asks for any piece of light weight, low power consumption communication device required to operate immediately without fail in high intensity combat in an urban situation.

Current Solution Limitations SINCGARS is the current tactical line-of-sight (LOS) radio. It is already a part of the Tactical Internet, has good security, and has a range of 5–10 kilometres for man-portable sets. LOS microwave radios have a higher data rate, but the antennas are too bulky for dismounted deployment. Cellular phones and satellite-based PCS phones are usually seen as an attractive option. Satellite phones offer a mobile user the option to uplink to a satellite whenever a ground base station is unavailable. There are several problems, however: cellular telephone systems require a fixed infrastructure of base stations and land lines which could be vulnerable in a fire fight; neither cellular nor satellite-based PCS phones have high data rates.6

Tactical openAccess Node: mobile voice and data switch for tactical communication systems.

Tactical openAccess Nodes are integrated voice and data switches that provide the essential foundation for today’s mission critical communication infrastructure. They are used by national and international military forces, peace keeping troops and crisis management teams.

www.defenceindustryreports.com | 13

RUAG Defence Freiburgstrasse 251 | 3018 Bern | Switzerland


SPECIAL REPORT: NEXT GENERATION MISSION CRITICAL TACTICAL COMMUNICATION SOLUTIONS

The Future is Now? Mary Dub, Editor

Programs like the Army’s Future Combat System, will be changed and tweaked, but the drive to improve and develop new high technology systems will remain.

H

igh levels of volatility in the global economy have lead to the phenomenon of ‘nowcasting’, the short-term prediction of meteorological or economic events based on current assumptions. The defence industry, an industry also dependent on steady economic growth, is also a victim of the current uncertainty and short term planning and acquisition horizon. Some short-term certainties are that the US Army will continue to believe that investment in the latest technological software and hardware, which has been tried and tested, will give it dominance in the battlefield. Programs like the Army’s Future Combat System, will be changed and tweaked, but the drive to improve and develop new high technology systems will remain. This means the new suggested command and control vehicles being developed will require a tactical communication system. Reconnaissance and Surveillance Vehicle (RSV)(XM11201), Multifunctional Utility/Logistics and Equipment Vehicle (MULE) and the System of Systems Common Operating Environment SOSCOE to enable interoperability through software for Army, Navy, Marines and Special Operation Forces will probably proceed. These vehicles and systems will be linked through tactical communication systems using the Internet and other software7.

Radical Restructuring for NETT Warrior Nett Warrior (NW) was an integrated dismounted leader situational awareness (SA) system for use during combat operations of the United States Army. The system provides unparalleled SA to the dismounted leader, allowing for faster and more accurate decisions in the tactical fight. With advanced navigation, SA, and information sharing capabilities, commanders were able to avoid fratricide and be more effective and more lethal in the execution of their combat missions. However, the Program Executive Office (PEO) Soldier sent plans for Nett Warrior back to the drawing board. Why? The Network Integration Evaluation (NIE) 11.2 findings showed that smart devices connected to tactical communications networks provided acceptable 14 | www.defenceindustryreports.com

Command and Control/Situational Awareness (C2/SA) capability. But the findings noted the feedback from the program’s November 2011 Limited User Test (LUT) at Fort Riley, Kansas. Major Doug Copeland Assistant, Product Manager Ground Soldier said, “Quite frankly what we got back was the same feedback that we had been receiving over the years. We had to reduce size, weight and power (SWaP) and get the cost lower. From the soldiers’ perspective, they didn’t want the size and the cables but they did however love the capability.” The problem again was immature technology that did not quite live up to expectations and specifications. The overriding needs of size, weight and power are a powerful inhibitor on a mobile fighting ground soldier in conflict, and the information capability must not mitigate his speed of movement or ability to fight and operate a rifle.

DARPA Looks Further into the Future While prime contractors are being forced to think in an evolutionary way at the issues created by the practical implementation of their products by soldiers on the ground, DARPA is working on revolutionary ways of solving the problem. What problem are they trying to solve? Computer peripherals, communication devices, and vehicles have been networked for a variety of reasons. Researchers and hackers have shown that these kinds of networked embedded systems are vulnerable to remote attack and that such attacks can cause physical damage while hiding the effects from monitors. This threat is of particular concern to the Department of Defense (DoD) because military cyberphysical systems are high-profile attack targets. Interference in the signals from a Landsat-7 earth observation satellite, and computer viruses infecting the ground-control systems of the Predator and Reaper remotely piloted aircraft are both on the list of problems. In the commercial automotive space, researchers have demonstrated that it is possible to remotely take over all of the software-controlled functionality of a typical American car, which includes braking and acceleration. Such vulnerabilities arise primarily because there are bugs in the software components of the devices. If a military vehicle


SPECIAL REPORT: NEXT GENERATION MISSION CRITICAL TACTICAL COMMUNICATION SOLUTIONS

RUAG – In vehicle communication

was to be similarly vulnerable, the consequences could be catastrophic. Therefore it is the goal of DARPA’s team to engineer the High-Assurance Cyber Military Systems (HACMS) program to create technology for the construction of highassurance, cyber-physical systems, where high assurance is defined to mean functionally correct and satisfying appropriate safety and security properties. Achieving this goal requires a fundamentally different approach from what the software community has taken to date.

2012 Hawklink Helicopter Contract for L-3 While Tactical Communications systems for ground soldiers are being developed further, new contracts are being signed to facilitate the capabilities of rotorcraft to enable betternetworked communications. L-3 Communications announced in the autumn of 2012 that its Communication Systems-West division was selected for the 2012 to 2017 full-rate production contract of CDL Hawklink valued at $181 million, with $28 million to be awarded this year. L-3’s Ku-Band CDL Hawklink system is a highspeed digital data link that transmits tactical video, radar and acoustic sensor data from the U.S. Navy’s MH-60 Romeo Light Airborne MultiPurpose System helicopter to its host surface ships. Comprising the AN/ARQ-59 airborne terminal and the AN/SRQ-4 shipboard terminal, the system will double the Hawklink’s current data rates for the MH-60R at ranges over 100 nautical miles and will support a full range of surveillance, anti-submarine warfare and recovery missions.

Additionally, the system is suitable for a variety of platforms, providing extended range, high data rates and proven operational reliability. This contract reflects the ongoing change of emphasis towards enabling airborne communication and naval capabilities that will offer the flexible capabilities required to transfer to the Asian-Pacific region rather than the European or South Asian theatre in the next decade.

Tactical openAccess Node: mobile voice and data switch for tactical communication systems.

Software and Architecture Paradigm Shift As a result of Obama’s pivot to Asia, and task uncertainty, software engineers of military communications technologies are beginning to transition from single function “stove pipe” architectures to software defined radio systems (SDR) that can be dynamically reconfigured based on mission requirements. These new SDR platforms must support both legacy waveforms for voice and low-speed data, and new wideband waveforms providing highspeed data, multimedia content, and video conferencing. Next generation radios need dynamic configuration so they can be “reconfigured on-the-fly”, often many times per second, to allow radios to interoperate in multiple networks simultaneously. They need to increase the channel count to 20 or more and offer scalability and immunity to jamming. To deliver all this and provide assured communication on all terrains and low SWaP is a huge aspiration. Given the current rapid rate of change of technologies, it will be interesting to watch to see how soon this ideal will be achieved.

Tactical openAccess Nodes are integrated voice and data switches that provide the essential foundation for today’s mission critical communication infrastructure. They are used by national and international military forces, peace keeping troops and crisis management teams.

www.defenceindustryreports.com | 15

RUAG Defence Freiburgstrasse 251 | 3018 Bern | Switzerland


SPECIAL REPORT: NEXT GENERATION MISSION CRITICAL TACTICAL COMMUNICATION SOLUTIONS

References: 1

2

 http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/us-military-pursues-humvees-successor-as-ground-wars-end/2012/07/22/gJQAWSO12W_story.html http://www.defensenews.com/article/20120713/DEFREG02/307130009/DoD-Weapons-Chief-Signs-Off-Big-Army-Radio-Buy Jul. 13, 2012 - 03:59PM DoD Weapons Chief Signs Off on Big Army Radio Buy

3

The Center for Public Integrity By David Axe 12:01 am, January 10, 2012 Updated: 8:35 pm, January 23, 2012

4

The Center for Public Integrity By David Axe 12:01 am, January 10, 2012 Updated: 8:35 pm, January 23, 2012

5

http://www.rand.org/pubs/conf_proceedings/CF148/CF148.appn.pdf The City’s Many Faces

Proccedings of the RAND Arroyo-MCWL-J8 UWG Urban Operations Conference, April 13-14, 1999

Appendix INITIATIVES/TECHNOLOGY PANEL PRESENTATIONSANNEX 1: U.S. ARMY ACTD MAJ Lee G. Offen, USA

6

http://www.rand.org/pubs/conf_proceedings/CF148/CF148.appn.pdf The City’s Many Faces

Proceedings of the RAND Arroyo-MCWL-J8 UWG Urban Operations Conference, April 13-14, 1999

Appendix INITIATIVES/TECHNOLOGY PANEL PRESENTATIONSANNEX 1: U.S. ARMY ACTD MAJ Lee G. Offen, USA

7

The Army’s Future Combat System (FCS) by Andrew Feickert http://www.au.af.mil/au/awc/awcgate/crs/rl32888.pdf May 29 2009

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Special Report – Next Generation Mission Critical Tactical Communication Solutions  

Defence Industry – Special Report on Next Generation Mission Critical Tactical Communication Solutions

Special Report – Next Generation Mission Critical Tactical Communication Solutions  

Defence Industry – Special Report on Next Generation Mission Critical Tactical Communication Solutions