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Situation awareness in urban operations
European communications
CSAR technology
Generic vehicle architecture
Volume 6 Number 3
May/June 2014
DB_MayJun14_OFC.indd 1 28/04/2014 10:13:02
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DB_MayJun14_IFC.indd 2 28/04/2014 16:42:27
www.digital-battlespace.com Volume 6 Number 3 | May/June 2014 | DIGITAL BATTLESPACE
3 Comment
Andrew White highlights the likely importance of
the human domain in future military scenarios.
4 News
Crimea conflict spills over into cyber domain
Pentagon revisits EM spectrum allocation policy
Cyber security threats highlighted at DSA 2014
Havelsan signs Malaysian EW MoU
8 Bits and pieces
With many armies having abandoned plans for
fully integrated future soldier suites due to
financial and operational changes, Ashley Roque
examines how individual elements of these
arguably over-ambitious programmes are still
making their way to the front line.
12 Distress calls
The importance of CSAR technology, particularly
communications-related, cannot be
underestimated in the contemporary operating
environment. Andrew White examines the
offerings from the two main handheld radio
manufacturers in the market.

15 Urban outfitters
Developments in LiDAR, SAR and GMTI sensors are
helping shape the future of military operations in
urban terrain. Scott R Gourley examines some of the
active US programmes in this domain.
20 Unusual channels
Ensuring that the voice and data transmission
capabilities of frontline troops can keep up with
the operational demands placed on them is a key
challenge for European militaries and their
industry partners, finds Claire Apthorp.
24 Waiting for a connection
Multiple interoperable open architecture
initiatives are running concurrently across the
defence sector. Angus Batey explores UK efforts
to bring plug-and-play vehicle systems to its
land forces.
30 Highs and lows
Special mission aircraft continue to proliferate
around the globe, with industry offering both
expensive all-in-one solutions and lower-cost
platforms with high-end mission systems.
Beth Stevenson compares the varying degrees
of operational flexibility on offer.
36 Final Word
Ahead of the launch of its latest software,
Per Vices founder Victor Wollesen talks to
Andrew White about the future capabilities of
software-defined radios in the military market.
Andrew White.
+44 1753 727023
North America Editor
Scott R Gourley.
Senior Reporter
Beth Stevenson.
Business Reporter
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DB_MayJun14_p02.indd 2 28/04/2014 16:43:48
www.digital-battlespace.com Volume 6 Number 3 | May/June 2014 | DIGITAL BATTLESPACE
The human factor
NATOs drawdown and eventual pull-out
from Afghanistan is fast approaching.
Meanwhile, as Digital Battlespace goes to
press, US President Barack Obama begins
a tour of Southeast Asia which will see him
visit Japan, South Korea, Malaysia and the
Philippines. As far as we are aware, he will
not go to China.
Both events signal a major strategic swing
which will have implications for NATO in the
West, as well as the major Asia-Pacific powers.
Talking to NATO players, it is clear that
one phrase will sum up the next evolution of
the contemporary operating environment:
human domain. This area certainly hasnt
been ignored over the past decade of
operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, but it is
being reinforced by leading militaries across
the globe at a furious pace.
US armed forces, spearheaded by the
USMC and US Special Operations Command,
recently published the Strategic Landforce
white paper which explained the importance
of information-gathering in highly complex
situations, combining geopolitical and socio-
economic intelligence. Asia-Pacific is a perfect
example of where such an approach will be
needed as the US continues its pivot into this
delicate area of operations.
Of course, C4ISR capabilities will be vital to
such a process, and it will be interesting to see
the latest offerings on show at Eurosatory this
year as global security forces prepare to
operate in less permissive environments,
underlined by Chinas navy rampantly
showing off its power at the same time
Obama begins his eight-day tour of Asia.
After recently reporting from the Defence
Services Asia exhibition in Kuala Lumpur, it is
apparent that EW capability remains high on
the agenda, with major players in the region
such as Malaysia agreeing MoUs with EW
specialists such as Turkeys Havelsan to
assist in the development of indigenous
Describing Malaysias existing operational
EW effectiveness as pretty immature,
a number of companies informed us
that state actors in the region are now
pursuing protective and offensive capabilities
as opposed to more basic listen and prepare
assets. Malaysia is aware of the issues and
its lack of situation awareness, one delegate
Also present at the show was L-3 TRL
Technology, which explained to DB how it is
evolving its current EW offerings into a more
holistic approach.
L-3 TRL has a rich history in the EW
environment with its SmartScan product for
spectrum surveillance and direction finding,
but according to Richard Flitton, VP for the
companys EW business division, the next
operational campaign (wherever and
whatever it may be), will rely upon more
integrated systems.
To this end, the company revealed plans
to integrate SmartScan with L-3 Wescam
EO/IR technology for a demonstration with
Australian land forces in September, which
will provide an even greater degree of
situation awareness to troops looking to
gather intelligence across the human domain.
Flitton explained potential for border
protection, counter-narcotics and counter-
insurgency/terrorism missions as well as new
areas such as anti-poaching work in Africa.
No doubt Obama has his reasons for
ignoring China on his latest visit, but in
light of increasing demand for information
from the human domain, it appears the
commander-in-chiefs armed forces are,
thankfully, not following his lead.
Andrew White, Editor
n Airborne comms
n Vehicle intercom
n Ground-based radar
n Land EW capabilities
Digital Battlespaces editorial team is
always happy to receive comments on
its articles and to hear readers views
on the issues raised in the magazine.
Contact details can be found on p1.
DB_MayJun14_p03_Comment.indd 3 28/04/2014 17:03:57
DIGITAL BATTLESPACE | May/June 2014 | Volume 6 Number 3 www.digital-battlespace.com
Pentagon revisits EM spectrum allocation policy
The US DoD is to reassess its electromagnetic
spectrum (EMS) operational procedures
following a government-led directive to free
up more capacity for commercial broadband
The DoDs EMS Strategy was released on
20 February in response to the demand for
bandwidth in evolving military operating
environments, as well as consumer pressure for
greater connectivity for wireless devices.
The demand for more and timely
information at every echelon is driving an
increase in [the] DoDs need for spectrum,
the paper explained. Consumer demand for
wireless devices like smartphones and
tablet computers, and the associated
data-intensive applications, is growing on
a global basis. As a result, mobile network
traffic is rising dramatically and outpacing
efficiency gains.
The paper described how some 18% of
the spectrum between 300MHz and 3GHz
the segment most desired by the wireless
community is for federal use exclusively.
The administration and Congress are
considering methods to make more spectrum
available, including repurposing spectrum from
federal government use to wireless broadband
use, even though federal agencies have
exclusive use of only a small percentage of the
spectrum, it continued.
The Federal Communications Commission
has estimated that an additional 275MHz
will be required by 2014 to meet anticipated
increases in data demand.
By Beth Stevenson, London
Territorial disputes between Russia and Ukraine
over the Crimea have led to an increase in cyber
terrorism in the region and sparked debate
regarding ownership of certain attacks, an
industry expert has revealed.
Cyber attacks have been evident from both
sides involved in the conflict, and have used a
variety of different methods that range in style
and sophistication, Andrew Beckett, UK head of
cyber security at Airbus Defence and Space,
told a media briefing on 23 April.
Attacks have included simple yet effective
methods such as the infiltration of Russian
websites to accuse the country of fascist
behaviour, and the recurrence of a
previously used malware.
Snake malware has proliferated
internationally in the past, having been found
penetrating different network systems since
2005. The routing malware gains lateral
movement within a network and takes control
of administrator accounts from within.
Previously, IP addresses indicated that the
malware originated in Russia, although this has
never been substantiated. However, 14 of the
17 cases of Snake reported this year were
located in Ukraine.
It does seem focused and it would therefore
suggest that it is of Russian origin, Beckett
noted. But attribution based on IP addresses
is not enough.
Although Snakes presence in Ukraine may
suggest it is Russian software, Beckett observed
that it does not appear to be state-sponsored.
It has lacked the full-scale weight of state-
sponsored activity, he said. What were actually
seeing is loyalists and patriots on both sides of
the conflict defending their political views.
He noted that the cyber agenda does not
appear to be in line with physical actions
undertaken by the Russian military both have
to be conducted in parallel to be effective:
While you can start the conflict online, you
ultimately need boots on the ground. There is no
correlation between cyber and political forces.
This is what sways me to think its hacktivists.
Irrespective of who is conducting the attacks,
they are creating an air of uncertainty within
Ukraine, and serve to promote a sense of need
and subsequent instability in the country. The
political benefits are great, Beckett observed.
The US has declared $50 million in aid for
Ukraine, and Beckett said he would be
interested to see how much of this will be
allocated in support of cyber defence for the
unsettled nation.
He compared the attacks in Ukraine to those
that have been conducted in support of both
sides involved in the current Syrian conflict.
Its not just participants in the conflict itself
doing this, he added. With cyber you dont
have to travel you can even rob a bank from
a different country.
The tools used by criminal fraternities
are the same [as those] used by state actors,
Beckett continued, describing how criminals
were considered to be some four years behind
government agencies in terms of the
sophistication of their attacks. But in reality,
access to malware on the black market has
closed this gap even further, he added.
By Beth Stevenson, London
Crimea conflict
spills over into
cyber domain
Cyber attacks on Ukraine are not being coordinated with
physical military actions on the ground. (Photo: US DoD)
DB_MayJun14_p04-06_News.indd 4 28/04/2014 16:45:26
www.digital-battlespace.com Volume 6 Number 3 | May/June 2014 | DIGITAL BATTLESPACE
Cyber security threats
highlighted at DSA 2014
Havelsan signs Malaysian EW MoU
News bytes
Airbus pushes on with
airborne data transfer
25 April 2014
Harris awarded USN
broadband SATCOM
21 April 2014
BAE Systems CMWS software
update achieves CDR
21 April 2014
Selex ES proves BriteCloud
decoy technology
17 April 2014
Boeing enhances
Datamaster geospatial
data tool
16 April 2014
Beretta showcases I-Protect
monitoring system
15 April 2014
US Army awards vehicular
SRW IDIQ contracts
15 April 2014
Airbus receives Spexer 2000
contract extension
9 April 2014
Selex ES successfully
demonstrates Miysis DIRCM
7 April 2014
Kaman reaches H-60 cockpit
delivery milestone
3 April 2014
concerns springing up from all quarters and in
various forms, he said.
Elsewhere, Malaysias inspector general of police,
Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar, described an ever-evolving
security environment and the changing nature of
warfare demands.
Cyber security is an area of concern that needs
to be urgently addressed, he urged. It is indeed
crucial that we are able to respond speedily to
unpredictable security challenges with flexibility
and innovation.
The Royal Military Police seeks to continually
uphold our national security by updating our
technology and processes to come down hard on
criminal activities and bring those responsible to
justice, Bakar added.
However, technology has also seen new
innovations in the field of defence, which is especially
why events such as DSA are even more important
now than ever before.
By Andrew White, London
Kuala Lumpur-based Impressive
Communications will act as Havelsans local
partner in Malaysia. Impressives Data Collection,
Archiving and Transfer Service (DCATS) can be
integrated into existing data servers, remote
processing sites and processing software. It is
capable of capturing, securing, storing and
transferring high-volume data files in real time and
fits in a 19in rack.
The Royal Malaysian Air Force currently uses
18 Sukhoi Su-30MKM multirole aircraft for EW
missions. The jets are equipped with KNIRTI SAP-518
advanced jamming pods. The MAF also fields EW
elements across army and navy units.
Havelsan already has a footprint in Asia
in the EW realm, as it currently supports Pakistan,
which launched its EW Test and Training Range
in 2011.
By Andrew White, Kuala Lumpur
Malaysias Minister of Defence, Datuk Seri
Hishammuddin Hussein, has highlighted cyber
security as a crucial and unconventional threat
that must be tackled.
Speaking ahead of the Defence Services Asia (DSA)
exhibition in Kuala Lumpur, Hussein said: The issue
of national security has never been more crucial than
it is today, when threats loom about more than ever
before, in all kinds of forms.
The advancement of science and technology
has further spurred new forms of threats, including
unconventional threats such as biological weaponry
[and] cyber security, he continued.
Echoing the defence ministers thoughts,
Gen Datuk Raja Mohamed Affandi, Chief of the
Malaysian Army, referred to an increase in cyber
crime and called for higher levels of cooperation
and collaboration within the security services at
home and abroad.
The subject of national security is no longer
independent or self-reliant, with threats and security
Turkish company Havelsan has agreed an MoU
with Malaysias Impressive Communications to
collaborate on EW database management and
information systems for the Malaysian Armed
Forces (MAF).
Signed on 15 April at the Defence Services Asia
(DSA) exhibition in Kuala Lumpur, the MoU is aimed
at improving the MAFs EW competence and will
establish a long-term relationship to jointly develop
software based on Havelsans existing solutions. A
Havelsan spokesperson said the initiative would
constitute the backbone of future expansion of
EW capabilities in the country.
The MoU was signed by Impressive
Communications CEO Tan Sri Dato Wira Abd Halim
Karim, and Havelsans CEO Sadik Yamac.
Specifically, the agreement will include training
electrical and electronic engineering students in EW
at Malaysias National Defence University.
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DIGITAL BATTLESPACE | May/June 2014 | Volume 6 Number 3 www.digital-battlespace.com
Joined-up thinking was in evidence at this years DIMDEX. (Photo: Clarion Events)
The Middle East is experiencing a change of
mindset in the area of C4ISR concepts of
operations (CONOPS) and procurement,
according to Thales.
Speaking to Digital Battlespace at DIMDEX in
Doha on 26 March, Valry Rousset, director of
C4I capability development at Thales Defence &
Security, described how local capabilities in
the Middle East were often fragmented and
heterogeneous in format.
Information overload comes very fast
in this trade and [data] needs filtering and
classification, he said.
Warning of stovepiped information, Rousset
described diverse radar formats and warned
users of the need for mitigation, stressing the
importance of making the best out of legacy
equipment and integration of new technology.
We must cut processing, exploitation and
dissemination of 100% of material without
proprietary loss of information, he continued.
Rousset also highlighted two major trends
in the region, including requirements for a
single integrated maritime picture, as well
as increased interoperability with civil and law
enforcement agencies. How do you talk to
the US Navy, tankers and a Ukrainian frigate,
for example?
He also explained Middle Eastern efforts
to pursue the joint environment beyond
traditional army, navy and air force
programmes with the inclusion of law
enforcement and intelligence agencies as
well as fisheries commissions, maritime police
and coast guard units in the wider maritime
We are witnessing an accelerating trend
of interest and are coming back from
isolated procurement of command, control,
communications, computers, intelligence,
surveillance and reconnaissance. There is a
need for a much more holistic approach to
C4ISR procurement, Rousset concluded.
Meanwhile, Frdric Perret, product
manager for civil radars at Thales Air Systems,
told DB that radars operating in the Middle East
had an 80% probability of suffering negative
effects associated with temperature inversion
and duct propagation.
Promoting the companys Coast Watcher
100 (CW 100) radar system, which boasts
anti-duct propagation technology, Perret
said this could be one way to penetrate the
regional market. The CW 100 has a range of
185km and is used for security and asset
protection, counter-terrorism, immigration
control and detection of low-altitude targets.
Meanwhile, Middle Eastern navies are seeking
to equip smaller and smaller platforms with
maritime C4ISR capabilities, Danish company
Terma has argued.
Speaking to DB at DIMDEX, VP for
defence and security Thomas Leistiko
detailed the changing trends in the region,
with operators looking to equip a variety of
platforms from OPVs and corvettes down to
RHIBs and USVs.
There is a good move towards multi-
mission, small/medium-sized platforms. Our
systems will help quite significantly, Leistiko
said. Specifically, he outlined demand for C2,
sensor and weapons integration and
communications suites.
The Middle East currently has this capability
on larger platforms, but what is changing is the
possibility to have fully integrated systems on
board smaller platforms, he continued.
Terma is promoting its C-Series product
suite which provides a range of capabilities
including C2, communications, simulation,
search, data links, protection and fire control.
Designed as a modular solution, C-Series
supports mission profiles for law enforcement,
interception, anti-piracy and search and rescue,
as well as supporting anti-air and anti-surface
warfare. More specifically, it includes EO fire
control, 2D air and surveillance radar and an
IP-based data link.
Leistiko also highlighted increasing trends
towards asymmetric warfare systems and
requirements to identify very small targets such
as swimmers, periscopes or fast attack craft.
Termas Scanter naval surveillance radar, for
example, is capable of identifying such threats
up to a range of 25-30km, depending upon
antenna size and location. The company,
which currently supports 150 radars worldwide,
was unable to comment on specific contracts,
but did highlight the UAE as a potential
customer for such technology.
By Andrew White, Doha
Seismic shift in Middle Eastern
C4ISR thinking emerges at DIMDEX
DB_MayJun14_p04-06_News.indd 6 28/04/2014 16:45:28
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DIGITAL BATTLESPACE | May/June 2014 | Volume 6 Number 3 www.digital-battlespace.com
Bits and
iscal realities, competing priorities and
concluding operations first in Iraq and now
in Afghanistan have smashed grand plans
for equipping ground soldiers with state-of-
the-art technology netted together to improve
situation awareness, mobility, protection, lethal
and non-lethal capabilities.
Instead, many Western militaries have
opted to scale back their soldier modernisation
initiatives to field less ambitious, incremental
programmes. Even so, some speculate that
bullseyes remain on the backs of these
modernisation efforts.
If you are talking about soldier modernisation
programmes in the West, the single biggest
factor youve got to think of is the decline in
defence budgets, Ben Barry, senior fellow
for land warfare with London-based think tank
The International Institute for Strategic Studies,
told Digital Battlespace.
Most NATO and European countries have
significantly reduced their defence budgets
since 2008, and there is no sign yet that those
reductions have stopped, he added. Money is
short and expensive soldier modernisation
programmes are going to compete with a
whole load of other priorities when armies and
defence ministries come to set their budgets.
There are a range of difficult decisions facing
these nations many have had to decide
whether to pursue an expensive, integrated
soldier modernisation system or scale back
ambitions and incrementally field certain
elements of the puzzle. Questions relating to
investment in modernisation versus readiness
are also in play.
While there are various soldier modernisation
contractors, designs and configurations,
defence ministries primarily have two potential
avenues to pursue an integrated soldier
system or an incremental modernisation path.
One of the few remaining programmes
under the integrated system umbrella is
Frances Fantassin quipement et Liaisons
Intgrs (FELIN), a big bang update to infantry
equipment which also links the soldier into the
network by adding a personal radio and tying
the system together with personal computers,
With many armies having abandoned plans for fully
integrated future soldier suites due to financial and
operational changes, Ashley Roque examines how
individual elements of these arguably over-ambitious
programmes are still making their way to the front line.
FIST, the UK soldier modernisation effort, has taken an incremental approach. (Photo: UK MoD)
DB_MayJun14_p08-11_Soldier_Mod.indd 8 28/04/2014 16:46:41
www.digital-battlespace.com Volume 6 Number 3 | May/June 2014 | DIGITAL BATTLESPACE
Barry explained. By fielding the integrated
system, soldiers are expected to have improved
situation awareness and the ability to quickly
pass on orders and information, speeding up
the tempo of operations.
FELIN is the most advanced comprehensive
system there is, Barry noted. What the British
and Americans have done, driven by the
pressure of the Iraq war, is not go for the big
bang but to go for incremental modernisation
of the soldier, where they have improved the
weapons, and in the case of the US improved
the ammunition, as well as the day and night
sights and a soldier personal radio. But they
havent tied it all together with a computer
and integrated it.
What many current incremental programmes
including the British Armys Future Infantry
Soldier Technology (FIST) and to some extent
the US Armys Nett Warrior are missing is a
centre of gravity, in the form of personal digital
radios and soldier computers to tie it all
together, Barry added.
One reason that both programmes, as well
as other incremental modernisation efforts,
are missing these core components is because
formerly grand plans have been scaled back
and later rolled out under incremental
modernisation roadmaps.
Weighing up the two options, some experts
contend that the integrated approach is the
ideal path, but acknowledge that it cannot
always provide flexibility and accommodate
tightening purse strings.
Doing an integrated approach, I think, will
always be a better way to go, Dr Steven Bucci,
director of the Allison Center for Foreign and
National Security Policy Studies at Washington,
DC-based think tank The Heritage Foundation,
told DB. But its harder to do today [in the US]
because of fiscal uncertainties and as you
start tightening the budgets, everybody gets
very territorial and starts fighting with one
another, and it makes it more difficult to do
integrated efforts, either across the services
or between them.
Phil Cubbon, Thales UKs project director
for the FIST programme, agreed that there are
challenges working under the incremental
approach, including helping the customer
realise his ambitions, as well as accommodating
the client when it wants a new technology as
quickly as possible.
The challenge is really about getting either
Thales or industry to invest in new products
that are going to meet that demand in the time
that the customer wants it, Cubbon told DB. For
example, he explained that the MoD had really
wanted fused II/TI (image intensifier/thermal
imager) technology two years, ago but this is
only now coming onto the market and
becoming affordable.
Despite some of the challenges, Cubbon
contends that there are many advantages to
the incremental approach.
Working on FIST, he described how
Thales has been able to take advantage of
technological advances as they become
available and gradually build up the capability.
For example, he said the incremental system
allowed the company to introduce a new
thermal sight which is lighter, more capable and
has a smaller footprint. The sight also uses only
four AA batteries instead of six, thus saving the
customer money.
Bucci agreed that there are some advantages
attached to an incremental approach, including
the ability to adjust programmatics and learn
from each step.
There are advantages from doing it that way,
its just that our systems run more slowly than
development, Bucci explained. So when you
do that kind of process you are going to get
ahead of yourself or behind yourself.
Despite progress being made on many
incremental soldier modernisation programmes,
few are willing to openly discuss them.
Within Europe and the US, budget
constraints, political questions and deciding
how to proceed with defence planning
leave many open-ended questions. In turn,
there has been little disclosure from many
governments and contractors working on
soldier modernisation.
With the war in Iraq done and the war in
Afghanistan winding down, the impetus to
do these things quickly and well starts to drop,
Bucci explained. Most of the innovation we had
was driven by concerns for the operations we
were doing, and now with those operations
winding down, you get a huge push [saying]
well we can wait on that, you know, we can
accept some risk because there is nothing
going on right now.
The US Army has witnessed several rebrandings of its soldier modernisation programme, which
is now dubbed Nett Warrior. (Photo: US DoD)
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DIGITAL BATTLESPACE | May/June 2014 | Volume 6 Number 3 www.digital-battlespace.com
Requests for interviews and information
about respective soldier modernisation
programmes went unanswered by Frances
Defence Ministry, as well as the US Armys
Program Executive Office Soldier.
In Switzerland, military funding is often a
sensitive topic and key decisions can be put to
the people in a referendum. In May, for example,
Swiss citizens go to the polls to approve or vote
down a proposal to buy 22 Saab Gripen E
aircraft to replace the air forces F-5 Tiger II fleet.
Prior to the vote, a spokeswoman for
the Swiss Armys Integrated and Modular
Engagement System (IMESS) programme
declined to release any information about
the modernisation effort at that moment.
Airbus Defence and Space, which is under
contract for IMESSs Warrior 21 element, also
choose to remain silent about the programme,
saying a three-week request did not provide
enough time to respond to e-mailed questions.
Pressed on when it could provide information,
including the contracts current value and the
status of IMESS and Warrior 21 fielding, no
timeline was forthcoming.
While giving an update on Frances FELIN
effort, Sagem also did not provide information
on IMESS. Sagem and Airbus Defence and
Space are both under contract with the Swiss
government for this programme.
IMESS is one example of a military and its
contractors remaining tight-lipped about soldier
modernisation. But when quizzed about the
lack of information regarding many Western
programmes, Barry responded: It doesnt
surprise me, since there are few concrete
programmes in the Western world and
defence budgets are shrinking.
While governments such as the US and UK
have opted to forego costly integrated soldier
modernisation plans, many say todays
fiscal and operational realities still leave the
incremental programmes as prime targets
for budget cuts.
Balancing readiness and modernisation
is always a challenge, as spending on new
equipment decreases spending on ammunition,
logistics and training, Barry explained.
In the US, for example, the Presidents FY2015
budget request reflects the services efforts to
balance readiness and modernisation across
the army, air force, navy and marine corps, in
part because cutting personnel accounts and
defence entitlement programmes is not popular.
All you have left is modernisation or
readiness those are the only two pots of
money left to cut from, hence you have the
services making that decision for themselves,
Bucci explained. The marine corps is going
for readiness, the air force is going for
modernisation, and the navy and the
army are kind of caught in between.
But you shouldnt have to make a choice
between being ready and modernising because
modernisation eventually affects readiness,
he added. So, the bottom line is you are either
sacrificing readiness in the short term or the
long term.
Despite questions over competing
priorities, many programmes continue to
forge ahead, and France is seemingly
continuing down the path of rolling out its
FELIN integrated soldier system.
As of early March, for example, a spokesperson
for Sagem told DB that 14 French regiments
had been fully equipped and the 16th
Mechanised Infantry Battalion is in training with
FELIN before deploying to the Central African
Republic as part of Operation Sangaris.
This will not be the first time FELIN has been
used in an operational theatre. In 2012, two fully
equipped battalions were deployed to
Afghanistan, according to Sagem. In total, the
two conducted 130 major operations during
their deployment, the spokesman added.
Meanwhile, on the incremental front, the
British Army is equipping soldiers with FIST
technology to provide them with enhanced
situation awareness and target engagement
via a range of day, image intensification and
thermal imaging equipment, according to an
MoD spokesperson.
Under current plans, the service will continue
rolling out the equipment through 2015,
and this will then be supported by a follow-on
arrangement. While a specific framework has
not been firmed up, it is expected to allow
capabilities to be updated based on new
technologies, the spokesperson explained.
Industry is expecting the contract to
be competed, and that it will call for FIST
support for a number of years beyond
September 2015, Cubbon noted.
They invested heavily in FIST, theyve now
got it up and running though not fully rolled
out and we wont see another incremental
shift in [soldier and target acquisition]
technology being rolled out to the British
Army for another 10 to 15 years, he added.
Meanwhile, the US Army is also moving forward
with its incremental modernisation programme,
dubbed Nett Warrior. With roots in the services
ill-fated Future Combat Systems Land Warrior
component, Nett Warrior is expected to help
soldiers make quicker and more accurate
decisions on the ground, in part by equipping
them with a dismounted leader situation
awareness system.
According to Pentagon budget documents,
the White House is pushing forward with the
programme and seeking $84.8 million in
procurement for Nett Warrior in FY2015.
As part of the initiative to push the network
down to the soldier, the army recently penned
Frances FELIN is widely regarded as the worlds leading soldier modernisation effort. (Photo: DGA)
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a contract to buy thousands of militarised
Samsung Note II smartphones which can act
as a personal computer.
Barry explained that previous concerns about
soldier information overload are diminishing,
in part because of the increase in smartphone
technology in the civilian sector.
Whereas ten years ago no one had a
smartphone, now large numbers of soldiers
have them, he explained. If you make
the centre of a modernisation programme
a soldier computer based on a touchscreen-
operated smartphone, you would have far
less resistance to it than you had ten years
ago, which is exactly what is happening
with Nett Warrior.
Will other incremental modernisation
programmes follow suit? Maybe not quite
yet, Barry thinks, explaining that the UKs FIST
community is not prepared to push forward
with a similar trial.
The UK is examining a range of options to
deliver shared situation awareness, including
head-up displays, smaller wrist-mounted
devices and smartphone/tablet-like user
devices, the MoD spokesperson explained. The
weight and power needs of mobile phone base
station units mean that currently mobile phones
are not a realistic battlefield communications
option in austere and remote locations. There
are also additional security issues that prevent
us from using smartphones at present.
As militaries in Europe and the US plod along
with their soldier modernisation programmes, a
multitude of interested parties will be watching.
How will they strike the delicate balance
between rolling out new technology and
maintaining readiness? What role will off-the-
shelf technologies play on the battlefield? Will
smartphone technologies help push the
network down to the soldier?
The answers to these questions may become
clearer in time as technology is rolled out under
other programmes or as defence ministries find
out what level their budgets will stabilise at and
begin cementing plans for the future.
NATO countries are not flush with cash,
Bucci said, and the US should not be banking
on its allies spending more on defence: If its not
optimism, its delusional. We dont want to fight
another counter-insurgency anywhere, like we
did in Iraq and Afghanistan, so what are we
going to prepare for? Were sort of at a loss as
to where we are going to have to fight and
how we are going to do that. DB
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spoofing, it is advantageous to ensure that
isolated personnel are equipped and trained
for CSAR recovery.
The doctrine also mentions that equipment
and training is of prime importance to CSAR and
recovery. Besides the obvious skills acquired
in survival, evasion, resistance, extraction (SERE)
training, arguably the most critical element is
the CSAR handheld radio carried by isolated
personnel (IP).
The size of the CSAR operation is impressive
and involves a number of monitoring stations
across a theatre of operations as well as the
entire globe which are capable of identifying
distress signals before initiating and executing
appropriate CSAR actions to recover IP.
Such a solution enmeshes C2 from
multinational force elements (mainly dedicated
units such as the USAFs pararescue jumpers
and special operations forces (SOF)) plus a
healthy mix of GPS technology, beyond line of
sight (BLoS) voice and data SATCOM and
air-to-ground and ground-to-ground LoS
voice communications.
As an example, the US DoD operates up to
40 joint personnel recovery centres around the
world at air bases and on maritime platforms, all
of which are monitored 24/7. Such installations
rely on MILSATCOM as well as SAR satellite
(SARSAT) beacons.
This concoction of assets is made available
to certain personnel who are deemed most
vulnerable to isolation or capture by enemy
forces. In todays contemporary operating
perations in Afghanistan over the past
decade have provided an interesting
slant on the concept of operations
(CONOPS) for combat search and rescue (CSAR)
taskings. The multinational effort that is ISAF
has seen NATO pooling its rescue resources
although they remain predominantly US-led
into a joint personnel recovery domain.
One of the many critical strands under the
umbrella of SAR is CSAR, which is defined in the
UK MoDs Joint Personnel Recovery doctrine as
the recovery of isolated personnel in distress,
from an environment in which a threat is posed
by hostile interference, who are trained and
equipped for CSAR.
It states: To increase the chances of success
of such a mission, by minimising time in the risk
environment or by reducing opportunity for
The importance of CSAR technology, particularly communications-
related, cannot be underestimated in the contemporary operating
environment. Andrew White looks at the offerings from the
two main handheld radio manufacturers in the market.
USAF pararescuemen or PJs secure a
pick-up point in Afghanistan as part of a
CSAR serial. (Photos: USAF)
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environment, this can be boiled down to
aircrew and SOF units on the ground, as well as
other VIPs, attachments and detachments
relevant to an operation.
Critical to any mission is dedicated CSAR
technology, which includes personal locator
beacons (PLBs) carried or worn on the body in
covert, overt or discreet fashion, handheld radio
sets and ground-based/airborne base stations
for voice and data communications, and laser
devices specifically designed to signal rescuing
platforms and personnel.
In brief, an IP equipped with a CSAR
handheld radio will be able to notify rescue
authorities by communicating with close air
support platforms, UAV reconnaissance and
relay platforms, or UHF MILSATCOM. Once
rescue forces have been deployed, the
same radio system will allow the IP to
communicate via LoS to CSAR platforms
and other blue forces, with an HQ element
organising retrieval using C3 personnel recovery
web applications.
On approach, the CSAR platform will be able
to conduct crypto synchronisation with the IP
before interrogating them for location and
status. Finally, an IP will be able to send location,
status and canned or free text at any time during
this process.
This illustrates how the most important
element of this technology is the handheld
CSAR radio, which also incorporates a PLB.
However, only two major players in remain for
the radio element of this market.
Boeings Combat Survivor Evader Locator
(CSEL) is the US DoDs standard equipment,
while General Dynamics C4 Systems (GDC4S)
retains control of the international market with
its HOOK2 CSAR system. There are a few
crossovers, however GDC4S supplies US
Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) in
Tampa, Florida while Boeing covers all other
US Army, USN, USAF and USMC requirements.
According to Boeing, a total of 55,000
AN/PRQ-7A CSEL radios have been produced to
date for the DoD, with an even split between
the various services. Offering secure voice and
data communications, CSEL has six
programmable voice, SATCOM and LPE
channels, includes four fixed LoS UHF
frequencies (for voice communications to
overpassing civilian and military airborne
platforms via emergency beacon channels), a
SARSAT data frequency and 32 pre-set canned
messages for quick transmission.
Canned messages include the most obvious
pre-programmed transmissions during an
operational scenario, such as enemy nearby,
I am injured and moving location. The system
operates at 121.5 and 123.1MHz in VHF, 225-
400MHz in UHF voice and data and 406.025MHz
According to Steve Capps, Boeings CSEL
programme manager, the system is undergoing
an upgrade for the USAF with terminal area
guidance (TAG) capability, allowing an IP to
communicate directly to a rescue platform
in-theatre, be it rotary-wing, fixed-wing or
ground-based. This provides another means
to quickly locate isolated personnel in a
chaotic environment, he explained to Digital
Battlespace. We expect the [US] army and navy
to follow suit to upgrade radios, but there are
no hard and fast plans yet. The USAF is 75%
through upgrading their radios.
Describing how the radio technology is
around 20 years old, with the first CSEL contract
having been signed in 1996, Capps was
refreshingly honest regarding future evolution
of the product. We are investing in next-
generation capabilities for the longer term
and are developing a new controller module
to make it smaller, reliant upon less power and
more reliable.
This will include a crypto modernisation
upgrade in 2015, which Boeing is required to
meet. Such a development will allow the
handheld radio to utilise Google Earth mapping,
provide a colour display and enable the form
factor to be reduced, so the system could look
more like a smartphone in the future.
However, highlighting the ongoing issue
of sequestration, Capps noted: We would
love to replace all 55,000 radios, but in
reality, retrofitting them with new crypto
modernisation to meet requirements and
possibly introduce colour displays with new
applications is the way ahead.
The HH-60G Pave Hawk is the current rescue
platform of choice for the USAF.
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We are never going to get to an iPhone-type
platform in my lifetime, but we will have other
requirements to meet, such as surviving a 4ft
drop onto concrete and operation under
water ours is going to be a little more rugged.
Boeings CSEL technology is supported by
four base stations to provide a global network.
Locations comprise Hawaii, Norfolk in Virginia
and two in Sigonella, Italy. Furthermore, there is
a backup system at Boeings Huntington Beach
facility in California.
According to Boeing, CSEL has been
responsible for dozens of successful rescues,
although despite the huge number of sets
currently deployed, the number of times such
technology is relied upon in a real-time
operational scenario remains small.
The issue of training remains critical to
effective use of CSAR technology, Capps
believes. The biggest thing is training, he said.
Lots of times systems work the way they are
supposed to, but the breakdown is when
somebody didnt get enough training.
I met with some of the pilots who have
been rescued using [CSEL] systems and they go
through how the mission plays out. They are
more worried about mission planning rather
than training for CSAR. We need to make sure
they get enough of it. We have had cases
where pilots havent had any training at all.
Looking to the future, Capps stressed that
for technology everything is conceptual at this
point. He added: Right now, CSEL is the size of
half a brick. We are trying to get the form factor
down to a third of the size, but that partly
depends on batteries.
Certainly, the army is looking for more
people to carry [CSAR technology] and it has a
programme called Army Air Soldier [out of
Huntsville, Alabama].
Currently, Boeings CSEL handheld radio
weighs 0.9kg and one idea which the company
is pursuing is the integration of the capability
into an actual uniform, including electronics,
GPS and other components.
A Samsung watch could be the control
mechanism, Capps explained, highlighting
the US Armys intent to release an RfP this
year or next.
Furthermore, Boeing is considering tapping
the General Dynamics-dominated international
market, with Capps describing discussions with
over 20 countries worldwide. A lot of cases
have to do with funding, but some nations want
a capability for interoperability with US forces
and the same capability for tracking and rescue,
he added.
Meanwhile, GDC4S is understood to have
supplied a total of 33,000 CSAR systems
across the international market, as well as
The HOOK2 system is utilised by 31 countries,
and a GDC4S spokesperson told DB that as
long as there are pilots in command of military
and government aircraft and personnel
working in isolated locations, there will be a
need for a dependable, exceptionally accurate
CSAR system.
HOOK2 includes: an AN/PRC-112G handheld
transceiver; a Quickdraw2 interrogator (carried
by CSAR platforms); a SATCOM base station; and
a GPS-112 Program Loader for encryption keys,
datum points, frequencies, waypoints and
identification codes.
The 112G provides two-way messaging and
LoS voice communications to rescue elements,
and the radios internal GPS updates the IPs
location every second when the system is active,
irrespective of whether the signal is jammed or
denied, the company told DB.
LoS, SATCOM and SARSAT offer multiple
ways for an IP to contact rescue forces, the
spokesman explained, describing how the
112G communicates LoS to the Quickdraw2
interrogator or BLoS to a SATCOM base station.
By pressing the On button, the PRC-112G can
be interrogated no other buttons need to be
pressed. Rescue crews will still be able to extract
your location and information as long as the
radio is powered up.
According to GDC4S, the fact that so many
countries use the HOOK2 system offers
an incomparable level of international
interoperability. Unsurprisingly, the company
also expressed an interest in reducing SWaP
requirements for the system in handheld and
airborne components.
Furthermore, a demand-assigned multiple
access SATCOM capability is in the offing
that will assign frequencies upon request and
then return to a central pool for assignment
elsewhere when a mission has been completed.
Currently, the 112G is also capable of adding
L-Band GPRS and LPE BFT waveforms, it
was added.
However, despite the past decades
joint operations, neither Boeing nor GDC4S
have expressed interest in any type of
cooperation between CSEL and the
AN/PRC-112G, and this remains particularly
strange in light of the current multinational
operating environment. DB
The GDC4S AN/PRC-112G is operated by
USSOCOM and many international SOF units.
(Photo: GDC4S)
Boeings CSEL radio has been responsible for
dozens of rescues. (Photo: Boeing)
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www.digital-battlespace.com Volume 6 Number 3 | May/June 2014 | DIGITAL BATTLESPACE
Urban outfitters
Geospatial Center (AGC) (formerly Topographic
Engineering Center) as an operational planning
tool designed to analyse, map and display layers
of urban area information.
This data, both physical and cultural, is
presented and easily manipulated with the use
of ArcGIS software a user-friendly, flexible
geospatial tool. The digital data formats in
ArcGIS can be adjusted to meet specific
customer needs. The product is capable of
exploiting numerous inputs such as digital
terrain elevation data, commercial imagery,
National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency
topographic products and intelligence sources.
Highlighting the programme contributions
of its urban geospatial analysis team,
Northrop Grumman describes the geospatial
dataset within UTP as a collection of urban
features that provides critical military planning
information created by Northrop Grumman
analysts using satellite imagery and other
geospatial data.
Collected features may include
transportation networks, buildings of
significance, vertical obstructions, military
installations, areas of occupancy, hydrological
features, forests and ground vegetation, land
use, industrial sites or other features of special
operational interest. Each feature contains
several attribute fields that provide the military
planner with the greatest amount of detail.
Company activities included the
development of a unique suite of GIS tools
created to speed UTP development and
increase data accuracy.
In addition to more refined supporting
analytical tools, one of the technologies that
has expanded its support to warfighters over
the past decade is light detection and ranging
(LiDAR). LiDAR data supports improved
battlefield visualisation and LoS analysis. Its 3D
accuracy also supports the ortho-rectification
of imagery, making it more accurate. Once
ortho-rectified, image frames can be combined
into large mosaics.
An example of its application can be seen in
AGCs BuckEye programme. Born in 2004 out
of the need for unclassified high-resolution
geospatial data for tactical missions, it began as
a helicopter-mounted digital colour camera
that produced high-resolution imagery for ISR
and change detection missions. In
ilitary operations in urban terrain
(MOUT) require an assessment and
understanding of the physical
environment and its effects on both enemy and
friendly forces. Moreover, this must not only
address urban structures, but the ground on
which they stand, as well as other variables
including the impact of weather conditions on
surface and subsurface environments.
Situation awareness tools that may be
developed or requested by tactical
commanders include imagery, 3D
representations, infrastructure blueprints,
hydrographic surveys, psychological profiles,
association matrices and various urban overlays.
Software applications that have been used by
the US Army over the past decade to create
many of the relevant urban products range
from programs such as the Analyst Notebook
and Crimelink, which have link analysis,
association matrix and pattern analysis software
tools, to the Urban Tactical Planner (UTP).
As one representative example, the UTP was
developed by the US Army Engineer Research
and Development Centers (ERDC) Army
Developments in LiDAR, SAR and GMTI sensors are helping shape the future of military operations
in urban terrain. Scott R Gourley examines some of the active US programmes in this domain.

Awareness of
the surrounding
terrain is critical
to combat
operations in
built-up areas.
(Photo: USMC)
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DIGITAL BATTLESPACE | May/June 2014 | Volume 6 Number 3 www.digital-battlespace.com
November 2005, the system was deployed to
Iraq on a fixed-wing aircraft to concentrate
on the urban mapping mission, with a
helicopter-mounted system deployed to
Afghanistan in May 2006.
A LiDAR sensor was soon added to
BuckEyes digital colour camera to collect high-
resolution, high-accuracy elevation data with
the combined capabilities fielded on a fixed-
wing aircraft, based at Bagram Airfield, in
November 2007. Additional platforms were
deployed to Afghanistan in 2010 and 2011 to
increase support throughout the country.
Along with manned fixed-wing platforms, a
UAS equipped with BuckEye including
miniaturised LiDAR sensors has been
operating in western Afghanistan.
One spin-off AGC technology development
effort, dubbed Buckeye 3D Ground, is designed
to provide high-resolution 3D geospatial
information from a ground-level perspective.
Leveraging capabilities developed under
the Urban Recon joint concept technology
demonstration (JCTD), DARPAs UrbanScape
project and the Geospatial Intelligence Video
programme, the system will use ground-based
terrestrial LiDAR technology to provide a unique
ground-level geospatial perspective to current
urban battlefield modelling techniques.
However, LiDAR is far from the only technology
being used to facilitate urban terrain awareness.
Around the same time that AGC began fielding
additional BuckEye aircraft to Afghanistan in late
2009, General Atomics Aeronautical Systems
(GA-ASI) was supporting the deployment of the
companys Lynx Block 30 synthetic aperture
radar/ground moving target indicator (SAR/
GMTI) sensor on US Army Sky Warrior Block 1
UAS supporting combat operations in Iraq.
The Lynx radars were deployed on four
Sky Warriors as part of the Armys Quick
Reaction Capability-1 (QRC-1) deployment
under its Extended Range/Multi-Purpose (ER/
MP) UAS programme.
In announcing the 1,000-operational-
hour milestone the following May, GA-ASI
representatives identified the Lynx Block 30
radar as the only SAR/GMTI payload to
have completed ER/MP integration testing
and deployment.
Print. Web. Email. You get the idea. Visit ShephardMedia.com
GMTI imagery has proven vital for recent
operations in Afghanistan. (Image: US DoD)
DB_MayJun14_p15-18_Urban_Terrain.indd 16 28/04/2014 16:48:33
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They added: The radar also features very fast
coherent change detection algorithms and is
continually being improved with enhanced
performance and capabilities. Lynx Block 30
provides the all-weather detection capability of
time-sensitive targets with precise geolocation
and offers a long-range, wide-area surveillance
capability that can provide high-resolution SAR
imagery at slant ranges well beyond effective
EO/IR range. Lynx also has a broad-area GMTI
scanning mode for detecting moving vehicles in
front and to either side of the aircraft platform.
Continuing technology developments were
evident in GA-ASIs June 2013 announcement
highlighting the follow-on development to
Lynx, the VideoSAR software system that is
capable of providing continuous, real-time,
all-weather, day/night SAR surveillance in full
1080p HD video format.
While the underlying technologies create
the foundation for enhanced urban terrain
awareness, of equal importance is the ability to
disseminate that critical information to the
appropriate tactical level. The need to balance
new technologies against enhanced end-user
capabilities was recognised with the 2011
introduction of a new Army Technology
Enabled Capability Demonstration (TECD)
programme to replace the former Army
Technology Objectives Demonstrations.
Key characteristics of the TECDs include
senior leadership input at the outset for
science and technology decisions, greater
focus on providing capabilities rather than
just introducing new technologies, and better
planning on how a technology will transition
to provide an operational capability.
Two current TECDs with great promise to
increase urban terrain awareness capabilities
for critical warfighting elements are the
Mission Command (MC) TECD and Actionable
Intelligence (AI) TECD. The former is led by
the US Armys Communications-Electronics
Research, Development and Engineering
Centers (CERDECs) Command, Power and
The First Day-to-Night Digital Camera
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Ideal for: l Superior performance from bright daylight through Quarter Moon
l 24/7 Surveillance across the full spectrum of lighting conditions
l Portable systems where Size, Weight and Power consumption are critical
l Autonomous Systems: UAV, UGS, UGV
l Vehicle driving and protection (Day & Night)
l Unmanned Remote Post CCTV
Visit us and learn all about Night Vision Technology
at Eurosatory 2014, Hall 6, B114
For more information: http://www.photonis.com/DBS-0414-DI.html
DoD facilities provide realistic environments to simulate operational conditions. (Photo: US Army)

DB_MayJun14_p15-18_Urban_Terrain.indd 17 28/04/2014 16:48:35

DIGITAL BATTLESPACE | May/June 2014 | Volume 6 Number 3 www.digital-battlespace.com
Integration (CP&I) Directorate, while the latter is
led by CERDECs Intelligence and Information
Warfare Directorate (I2WD).
The two programmes are executed in close
collaboration, with CP&I providing overall
leadership. Along with high levels of
cooperation between the two lead agencies,
the TECDs reflect technology development
efforts such as the representative geospatial
activities noted at ERDC.
In outlining the combined MC/AI TECD
activities, CERDEC representatives noted that
lack of full battlefield situation awareness can
lead to accidental contact with the enemy,
adding that the goal for the TECD is to reduce
tactical surprise for the small unit by developing
an integrated suite of capabilities that creates
tactical overmatch.
They described the TECD as a holistic
solution of integrated capabilities to address this
specific operational challenge by converging
operational and intelligence information and by
integrating warfighting functions such as fires.
They added: In short, CERDEC CP&I seeks to
enable getting the right information to the right
soldier at the right time, so the small unit can
engage the enemy on our terms.
CERDEC CP&I provides unique value added
to this army science and technology initiative, as
the organisation touches every army platform
due to its C4ISR subject matter expertise.
Moreover, its core competencies of power,
mission command and integration provide the
personnel and skill sets needed to attack
problems where those capabilities merge.
CERDEC as a whole also boasts the requisite
system-of-systems expertise to understand how
best to integrate capabilities up front during
development. That early integration can save
programme managers extra work at a later date.
Furthermore, the integrated capabilities will not
only allow faster movement and sharing of
information around the battlefield, but reduce
costs for the army in the long run by eliminating
the stovepiped functionalities that were once
endemic to integrated systems.
The MC/AI TECDs feature a unique team
construct that brings together diverse
organisations from across technology domains
within US Army Research, Development and
Engineering Command (RDECOM) and ERDC.
For example, while CERDECs I2WD focuses
on intelligence and CP&I handles mission
command, RDECOMs Armament RD&E Center
(ARDEC) also looks at enhancing the situation
awareness of weapons emplacement and
synchronisation, while all of these elements are
leveraging the geospatial work done by ERDC
to further enhance urban terrain awareness.
For purposes of this TECD, the ERDC team
has developed a number of geospatial terrain-
related software products to include four focus
areas: terrain foundation products creation
(manoeuvre networks); terrain analysis related
to mounted and dismounted routing; sensor
placement; and the dissemination and
synchronisation of geospatial terrain
products, both intra- and cross-echelon.
Some of the specific products leveraged by
the MC/AI TECD include: Rapid Open Geospatial
User-Driven Enterprise (ROGUE); Geospatial
Tracking, Recording and Analysis in COIN
Environments (GeoTRACE) and Situation
Awareness Geospatially Enabled (SAGE).
The TECD is organised into three phases of
incremental and evolving capability. Phase 1,
which took place during FY2013, focused on
developing and demonstrating capabilities for
an austere squad environment, with the squad
having limited communications and network
capabilities outside its formation.
Phase 2, which is taking place primarily
during FY2014, is developing and
demonstrating capabilities for a networked
platoon, including demonstration of
collaboration and sharing of situation awareness
and understanding with the platoon formation
and some reachback to higher echelon
intelligence systems.
Phase 3, which will take place primarily
during FY2015, represents the capstone
stage where networked company capabilities
will be developed and demonstrated,
showcasing full integration between the
MC and AI components.
The TECD programme will use the C4ISR
Network Modernization Events at Fort Dix,
New Jersey, and other similar events to
integrate, demonstrate and transition
capabilities to army programmes of
record. CERDEC representatives identify target
transition customers as Program Manager (PM)
Soldier Warrior, PM Joint Battle Command
Platform, PM Distributed Common Ground
System-Army and several others. US Army
Training and Doctrine Command proponents
include the Maneuver Center of Excellence
(CoE), Mission Command CoE, Intelligence CoE,
Fires CoE and Signal CoE.
Moreover, the TECD programme is not
the only ongoing activity directed towards
enhancing the warfighter network and mission
command capabilities in both urban and non-
urban tactical settings. Along with capstone
events like the semi-annual Network Integration
Evaluation (NIE) activities, other ongoing
modernisation investigations are encompassed
by the Army Expeditionary Warrior Experiments
(AEWE), where the current Spiral I effort includes
16 new network architecture subsystems and
11 new mission command subsystems.
TECDs, NIEs, AEWEs and other experimental
events may help identify some of the critical
subsystems and new situation awareness tools
that will help to enhance urban terrain
awareness in future tactical environments.
However, their greatest contribution is that they
allow the examination of new technologies
within the broader realm of enhancing
warfighter capabilities. Just as multiple
physical factors provide a framework for
understanding complex terrain in urban areas,
it is likely that multiple technologies will remain
as the key to enhancing soldier awareness of
that terrain. DB
Sensing intelligence data will allow force
elements to successfully occupy target
buildings. (Photo: USSOCOM)
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ommunications are critical to any
military operation, and with a wider
range of CONOPS in play than ever
before, the need for systems that can effectively
and securely transmit voice and data in
any operational scenario is driving tactical
communications development in a number
of divergent directions.
On 25 March, Selex ES announced that it had
received new contracts to supply additional
equipment to the Italian Army for its Soldato
Futuro programme. One of these contracts will
see the company deliver 2,726 SWave software-
defined radio (SDR) portable terminals, which
will equip light infantry troops with a wideband
communications system capable of meeting
the requirements of future operating scenarios.
The SDR, developed by Selex, is a new
concept platform able to hold various
waveforms interoperable with systems already
in use, as well as future ones. The Individual UHF
and VHF multiband pocket radio has integrated
GPS and full IP support to provide
communications for infantry and commanders.
It operates in the 30-512MHz range, in concert
with wider Soldato Futuro system architecture
alongside the C2 Wearable Portable Computers
(WPC) also supplied by Selex ES allowing for
independent voice and data transmission with
a range of up to 2km (UHF) and 5km (VHF) at a
data rate of up to 2Mbps.
The radio can be used for voice
communications through a wired push-to-talk
(PTT) unit or a wireless keyboard PTT integrated
into the soldiers rifle. The radio is also responsible
for transmitting positional data for the C2 WPC.
Selex ES leads the commercial consortium
that works on the Soldato Futuro project.
It was awarded the first contract for the
programme in 2003, and is lead authority for the
Ensuring that the voice
and data transmission
capabilities of frontline
troops can keep up with
the operational demands
placed on them is a key
challenge for European
militaries and their
industry partners, finds
Claire Apthorp.
Workable communications remain a critical go-no-go requirement for all
military operations. (Photo: Crown Copyright)
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system architecture design, as well as heading
up a number of development tasks in the area
of C4ISTAR and situation awareness. The aim of
the project is to enhance the soldiers ability
to use information and communication services
to improve perception of the surrounding
environment, receive orders from the command
level and provide commanders with
information and reconnaissance data.
Given that the SDR characteristics used in the
SWave radio family can be modified to allow
them to operate with any legacy waveform, a
single unit can accommodate multi-service and
multinational capabilities.
This move towards a network-centric
communications grid and SDRs is a primary
objective for the Italian Army and other
European countries that Selex ES counts among
its customer base.
Armed forces are moving towards SDR
because this architecture allows them to have
the best cost-to-performance benefit, and they
can achieve economies of scale by having the
same hardware platform that can support
different waveforms, company spokesman
Maurizio Viberti told Digital Battlespace. This
gives armies the possibility to develop further
waveforms without having to change the
hardware on the platform thats a
revolutionary concept.
However, Selex ES still sees strong demand
for its conventional radio systems, such as the
Personal Role Radio (PRR) and the Vehicle
Integrated PRR (VIPRR), which use advanced
2.4GHz spread spectrum techniques for
short-range communications.
Different operational requirements drive
whether a customer wants a conventional or
SDR-based system, Viberti explained. Our goal
is to offer a range of solutions that meet different
requirements and support the customer
wherever they may be in the transition from the
previous system to the network-centric system.
In the increasingly complex and digitised
battlefield, the need for tactical communications
networks that can handle the sheer amount of
data being transmitted and overcome the
limitations of challenging environments is
driving the growth of Internet protocol (IP)-
based solutions.
Aselsan has been working to modernise
the Turkish armed forces Tasmus tactical
area communications system, which provides
network-centric communications infrastructure.
Tasmus, in service since 1999, generates a
common picture of the battlefield in near-real
time and shares data among battlefield systems.
It facilitates fusion and display of intelligence
information to commanders at all levels, and
handles the exchange of targeting data from
sensors to weapon systems.
Keeping a system like Tasmus up to date
throughout its service life has required
continuous work from the developer.
We started with ISPN technologies, but as
the systems have become more digitised and
all the services are becoming over-IP services,
we needed to introduce a more high-speed
backbone network and have gone from 1-2mb
up to 34mb in todays systems, Esra Erkan of the
Tasmus project group at Aselsan told DB. The
ISPN-based user terminal has been changed to
a Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) system,
SATCOM and NATO communications systems
have been integrated into Tasmus, and
encryption has been strengthened.
High-speed transmission and full IP solutions
are not the only requirements driving forward
development in Tasmus.
The Turkish armed forces also want more
mobilised platforms and increased capability in
their radio devices, Erkan said. Trying to achieve
both of these requirements, while also trying to
minimise the devices, presents an engineering
challenge for us.
Finlands Elektrobit is also seeing demand from
customers looking to introduce new IP-capable
products into their tactical communications
domain, and with data radios becoming more
compact and delivering greater capability in
smaller packages, the company is focusing on
exploiting data radios using VoIP.
The companys Tough VoIP product family,
originally developed for the Finnish Air Force
(FIAF) for air base communication, provides
broadband wireless and wired connectivity in
demanding environments where limitations in
communications can greatly affect operational
capabilities, and is also fully interoperable with
commercial equipment and infrastructure.
The main purpose of the system was to
provide always available communication
between the ground mechanics and the fighter
jets on the ground for the FIAF, Mikko Viitaniemi,
head of sales for EMEA at Elektrobit, told DB. The
products developed for the FIAF were the EB
Tough VoIP Terminal and the EB Tough VoIP
Network Extender, with some customer-specific
software features. After the adaptation of the
system by the FIAF, the army got interested in
the product family as well and decided to
purchase the same system for artillery use.
The EB Tough VoIP family supports a self-
discovery mode which allows phones to find
each other dynamically on a network with no
pre-planning. This is distributed and avoids the
single point of failure inherent in a server-based
architecture, which is often unsuited to the
tactical environment. While adapted to the
tactical space, these products retain full
compatibility with VoIP standards that may
be used in strategic systems.
On the networks, side the company is seeing
the most interest in its EB Tactical Wireless IP
The MIDS terminal element of the Link 16
system, as utilised by the UK MoD.
(Photo: Data Link Solutions)
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Network (TAC WIN), which is a MIL-STD-
compliant self-forming, self-healing broadband
wireless wide-area IP network.
With the EB Tough VoIP phones,
customers are generally looking for robust,
easily integrated products. With the EB TAC WIN,
customers are generally looking for a network
with requirements like a high data rate, mobility
and flexibility to utilise different network
topologies like point-to-point, point-to-
multipoint and mobile ad-hoc (MANET),
Viitaniemi said. Our observation is that nations
in Europe are in different stages in migrating to
IP technology some countries are pioneers
and some are very conservative. The existence
of a strong industry in many nations affects the
dynamics of the markets.
According to Viitaniemi, the biggest
challenges in adding Tough VoIP products is
interoperability, integration with existing
systems, cost and how to upgrade legacy
equipment in a controlled manner.
Many times, customers think that they
need to upgrade the whole legacy system
all at once, when in fact Elektrobits products
based on IP technology can be introduced
while still using the old technology, he said.
The adaptation of IP technology is quite slow
on the European markets, because of the
legacy systems in use and because of defence
budget pressures. The budget pressures
are seen to be affecting procurements, one
result being that these processes get delayed
and postponed more easily.
Data link communications remain the
fundamental tactical situation awareness
waveform across aircraft, ships and ground
forces, with Link 16 still being a basic
requirement for communicating between
NATO partners.
Link 16 is a situation awareness waveform
that provides blue force tracking so that all
pilots, ground- or ship-based personnel
involved in an operation can know where
friendly and enemy forces are located within the
battlespace. Link 16 provides the information
in the secure, jam-resistant, near-real time
exchange of tactical messages, along with
limited voice communications on a low-data-
rate waveform.
The UK has overhauled the way it supports
its Link 16 capability in recent years. In 2012 it
awarded Data Link Solutions (DLS) a joint BAE
Systems and Rockwell Collins venture a five-
year asset availability and post-design services
contract for the sustainment and engineering
service provision of Link 16. This included the
opening of the DLS Waddington Support
Facility, which has come to serve as a model for
in-country support for customers using DLS
Link 16 terminals and systems worldwide.
Prior to this arrangement, the UKs
capability was sustained through the MoD.
Military officers would do intermediate-level
maintenance, where faulty terminals would be
examined, replaced or have new subsystems
installed, or be returned to the US, John Byrnes,
business development director at BAE Systems,
told DB.
That turned out to be very costly for the
UK government to maintain, so we were
approached by the MoD to find an alternative
that would reduce costs and improve
turnaround time and that is what the
Waddington programme is about, an asset
availability service.
The MoD agreement includes DLS support
for the application and integration of Link 16
Joint Tactical Information Distribution System
(JTIDS) terminals, Multifunctional Information
Distribution System (MIDS) terminals and
the AN/URC-138(V)1(C) Information
Distribution System.
The MIDS Low Volume Terminal (LTV) now
in service will be operational until 2035 under
current plans. MIDS LVT is a fighter terminal with
flexible, open architecture, which provides a
critical airborne, ground and maritime link
that allows for simultaneous coordination of
forces and situation awareness in battlefield
operations. In order to ensure the system
reaches its end of service life still providing the
capabilities its users require, Link 16 is being
refreshed under a major programme called
Block Upgrade 2.
Every time we find different obsolescence
issues, problem reports, or changes in
technology requirements, we do block cycle
The SWave SDR has been supplied for the Italian Soldato Futuro programme. (Photo: Selex ES)
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upgrades that will patch things
up and keep the terminal wholly
interoperable and up to date, but
there comes a point when we
have to take all the issues and
perform a block upgrade, where
we physically open up that
terminal, remove and replace
components and change
software, Byrnes said.
DLS was awarded a contract
by the US Navy to update the
cryptographic subsystems to handle
frequency re-mapping and increase
throughput, and that will be going into service
in every terminal that is in operation and
installed today.
Thats close to 6,000 terminals to upgrade,
and for countries other than the UK that means
they have to physically remove them from the
aircraft, package them and return them to the
US to have that upgrade performed, but in the
UK we are facilitated to do it there.
The UK has also been instrumental in the
use of Link 16 in its tanker aircraft, something
that is driving other nations to consider
taking the technology into their own aerial
refuelling domains.
The UK has found such an improvement
in operations using Link 16, and this has been
an example of how the waveform can help its
users maximise efficiency, Byrnes said. A lot
of users dont fully understand just what
Link 16 can do this is helping them see that it
improves efficiency and saves money as well
as protecting lives.
With the CONOPS of modern forces increasingly
requiring flexible and fast-deploying tactical
communication solutions, interest in SATCOM
is also growing, particularly for special forces
operations outside the wire. General Dynamics
SATCOM Technologies developed its Warrior
terminal products as a family of
tactical earth stations capable of
operating on satellite bands from X-
to Ka-Band with apertures as small
as 50cm for SATCOM-on-the-move
terminals and as large as 2.4m for
satellite terminal trailers. The systems
are in use with various unnamed armed
forces in Europe.
The tremendous flexibility of the
Warrior terminals allows them to
be used in any region of the world
without additional customisation
or modification, Timothy Shroyer,
chief technology officer at General
Dynamics SATCOM Technologies,
told DB. New capabilities of the
Warrior terminal family include proven
RF performance on all satellite operating bands
and streamlined operation, reducing training
The Warrior terminals are fully compliant
with requirements imposed by satellite
operators and communications regulators,
including in Europe, which has some of the
strictest RF requirements.
The terminals consist of an RF front end
including an antenna, antenna control unit,
uplink solid-state power block and downlink
low-noise block optimised for each of the
different satellite operating bands. All the
terminals in the product family utilise a
common L-Band interface that works with
any of the various types of SATCOM modems.
Using the modem and baseband subsystem
appropriate for the overarching network they
are connected to, Warrior terminals connect
deployed users to the internet, public switched
telephone network, or other private networks
with satellite links to government teleports,
commercial teleports or government-operated
hub terminals.
Keeping soldiers connected to each other
and their commanders in the battlefield is a
primary requirement for successful military
operations. Despite budgetary pressure among
European governments, the demand for
effective and secure communications systems
remains, and continues to drive development
into new and innovative directions. DB
The Tough VoIP handset is
described as robust and
easily integrated by
manufacturer Elektrobit.
(Photo: Elektrobit)
Narda Safety Test Solutions GmbH
Sandwiesenstrasse 7
72793 Pfullingen, Germany
Tel. +49 7121 97 32 0
Rapidly identify, precisely
analyze, easily evaluate and
intelligently localize inter-
ference in the radio spectrum.
Extremely fast: 12 GHz/s
Super light: < 3 kg
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DB_MayJun14_p20-23_European_Comms.indd 23 28/04/2014 16:50:12
DIGITAL BATTLESPACE | May/June 2014 | Volume 6 Number 3 www.digital-battlespace.com
Waiting for a
Multiple interoperable open
architecture initiatives
are running concurrently
across the defence sector.
Angus Batey explores UK
efforts to bring plug and
play vehicle systems to
its land forces.
stuttering global economy may be
the most obvious challenge facing the
worlds militaries as they look to increase
capabilities and give their fighting forces the best
equipment available, but a set of new problems
has been opened up by the significant gains
achieved in the commercial IT sector.
Traditionally, military procurement has
driven technological development, as expensive
leading-edge designs eventually find their way
into the consumer world. The rapid pace of
development, and the low unit costs achieved
by mass production and a huge global
consumer market, mean that IT has upended
this convention.
One way militaries can start to redress
the balance is by making their platforms as
adaptable as a desktop computer. When a
home or office user needs a new printer, or
when a different webcam becomes available
The commanders console of a Foxhound
vehicle the British Armys first GVA-
compliant platform. (Photos: Crown Copyright)
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that offers higher resolution, the user does not
have to buy an entirely new system they just
unplug the obsolete device and replace it with
the new one.
Standardised interfaces, such as the Universal
Serial Bus (USB), mean that a vast array of
peripherals supplied by a large number of
independent manufacturers can be attached
to the machines, while a mixture of onboard
software and sometimes an additional piece of
code supplied with the device will enable the
user to effect a seamless change from one piece
of hardware to another.
What if such plug-and-play interoperability
was available not just to users of computers or
home electronics, but the teams that procure
and operate military platforms? Instead of a
fleet-wide sensor replacement, requiring
vehicles to be returned to the depot for a
lengthy refit, the new equipment could be
attached by frontline maintenance crews in
minutes. If the user interface did not change and
any new software was essentially invisible to
the soldier in the back of the vehicle, extensive
retraining could be avoided. And when a major
subsystem becomes obsolete, only that system
would need to be replaced, not the entire
vehicle or its supporting infrastructure.
As military platforms become more
sophisticated and sprout ever greater arrays
of electronic subsystems from C3 gear and
EO sensors to sniper detection systems,
IED countermeasures and remote weapons
stations the demand to be able to quickly field
the latest piece of life-saving, battle-winning
technology intensifies.
The need to have the vehicles carrying the
most up-to-date kit, and for them to be available
quickly and in significant numbers to the front
lines, also increases. As budgets continue to fall,
the pressure is on both the military customer
and industrial supplier to find a way to square
these circles.
The quest to develop interoperable open
architectures (IOAs) for military vehicles has
become a key preoccupation of a wide range of
procurement planners and defence equipment
suppliers. At its simplest level, the IOA consists
of a set of cables running through a vehicle,
attached to standardised sockets into which
subsystems can be plugged.
A number of crew stations are also connected
to the network, enabling occupants to operate
the electronic subsystems from identical screens
placed at different points inside the vehicle, while
a central computer deals with the requests from
the stations and ferries data between the sensors
and the users control stations.
While there are obvious upsides for the
customer, there are questions over the business
case that manufacturers have to consider. A
neat encapsulation of both the benefits and the
challenges was provided early last year during a
media event to showcase British Army
capabilities, held on Salisbury Plain in the UK.
Maj Gareth Barry, the armys trials manager
at the time for the first British military vehicle,
Foxhound, to come with IOA as a baseline
standard, explained some of the pros and
the cons.
The concept of having generic vehicles is
fantastic, he told Digital Battlespace. I would liken
it to classes of planes. Im not a pilot, but Im fairly
sure that the avionics in different Airbus planes
are pretty much the same. The idea of being able
to take a soldier, train him to operate a military
vehicle and then convert him to the specifics of
different vehicles would be great. The downside
with that, which Im very aware of, is the money.
Obviously, industry understands that the
flexibility this gives us limits their future revenue.
If we go for a bespoke or a proprietary
interface, the company that supplies us knows
that, if we ever want to replace that system
in the future, we have to go to them. I always
thought industry wouldnt like [IOAs], because
they dont have us in their pocket.
For subsystems manufacturers, the benefits of
IOAs are clear. If a nations military vehicle fleet
has uniform physical and digital connectivity,
a new sensor or other subsystem can be fielded
on any vehicle without the need to redesign
hardware or software, and without having

Foxhound has been utilised for a variety of

roles in Afghanistan, and GVA will assist in
transition to new operational taskings.
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to form a consortium with a platform
manufacturer and bid on a contract for
an entire system. For the customer, new
technologies can be inserted more quickly
and at the lowest possible cost.
However, platform manufacturers have
reason to be wary of IOAs. Adding the data
infrastructure may increase development cost
and timescale, while reducing the need for the
customer to contract with them for upgrades.
Nevertheless, IOAs have received broad
industrial backing, and various national and
international initiatives are under way.
Perhaps the most advanced is the UKs series
of open-architecture programmes, currently
established under the Land Open Systems
Architecture (LOSA) banner and run by the
MoDs Defence Equipment and Support
(DE&S) organisation.
LOSA comprises three distinct projects,
looking at the three main types of platform in
the land domain. Generic Base Architecture
(GBA) aims to standardise connectivity for
systems such as communications and power
supply in the construction of deployed bases,
but the remit goes beyond electronic
infrastructure to elements such as plumbing
connectivity, so that toilet and washing blocks
have common connections to other elements
of the base, for example.
Meanwhile, one of the main drivers
behind Generic Soldier Architecture (GSA) is
to facilitate the use of a single battery type for
every piece of electronic equipment currently
carried by infantry personnel, thus reducing size
and weight demands on the soldier. But the
longest established and most mature of the
LOSA programmes is Generic Vehicle
Architecture (GVA).
After several years of work led by a small team
based at DE&S and involving representatives
from a large number of defence contractors, an
initial Defence Standard (DefStan) for GVA was
published in 2010. The 54-page document took
a minimalist approach, where other initiatives
particularly the US Vehicle Integration for C4ISR
Interoperability (VICTORY) project had looked
to specify the concept in detail.
The DefStan describes the technical
standards for interfaces and connectors,
and establishes software and hardware
parameters for how different systems should
talk to one another. It also specifies the basic
design of a common crew station a single
flatscreen pad with buttons along each edge.
GVA has been mandated for inclusion on all
new British military vehicles procured after its
publication. So far, this means it has been fitted
on the one fleet purchased since the
Foxhound armoured patrol vehicle.
Two interesting questions are raised by this
pioneering programme. The first is the issue of
how best to develop a standard which needs to,
at once, be sufficiently fixed to guarantee the
future interoperability it sets out to achieve, yet
remain adaptable enough to allow the insertion
of technologies not yet mature, or possibly not
yet invented.
A vehicle will typically last for decades, while
a subsystem might remain leading-edge for
between five and ten years, and software
replacement timescales are often measured
in months. The second is over how best to
manage procurement programmes to ensure
that the gains offered by an IOA solution can be
translated into incentives that make sense to
every member of an industrial consortium, not
just the customer and the company that will
supply the IOA implementation.
The GVA standard was designed to be
developed, but the version that is fielded on
Foxhound is an early iteration. Some things have
not changed the physical connectors remain
the same in later versions of the DefStan, and
the Ethernet backbone the system relies on is
standard. But some of the detail of how data is
transferred around the vehicle has altered
significantly since Foxhounds GVA was installed.
The way certain messages are sent around
by certain pieces of software to other pieces of
software [on Foxhound] used a version of a data
model that had to be the baseline at the time,
explained Guy Davies, capability manager for
vehicle mission systems at Selex ES, which
supplies GVA systems and compliant
subsystems to various other programmes
(Foxhounds GVA system is installed by Thales).
Foxhounds a relatively simple system
theres not a great deal of complexity in the
actual functionality. So theres the core GVA
base infrastructure, then some fairly simple
applications on top of that. When we look at
Selex ES and Ultra Electronics have built
GVA-compliant technology into the WCSP
development effort. (Photo: Selex ES)

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future higher-end platforms, there are many
more messages and things that have to be sent
around, so that data model has had to evolve to
be able to support those things in future. Thats
why Im always a bit hesitant when I hear plug
and play its not really plug and play, its plug,
and then have a lower-risk integration activity.
Perhaps counter-intuitively, the adoption
of IOAs may increase the complexity of
procurement programmes, even as they
promise to reduce the through-life costs of
upgrading vehicles. And it appears that even
the MoD, which has driven work on GVA from
the start, has not always been convinced that
IOAs offer the best solution to every vehicle
upgrade project.
Affordabilitys always a key, explained
Ray Hopkins, VP of capability optronics at
Selex ES. One of the risks in the early days was
there was very much a view in the MoD that
this is good, its very much the way we wish to
go, but theres a risk that its costly, certainly in
the fielding though hopefully the benefits
would accrue through life.
Even the eventual lure of fielding common
crew interfaces across an entire land vehicle
inventory is not yet a sufficiently strong
incentive to persuade MoD planners that GVAs
through-life cost benefits will outweigh the cost
and complexity of installing it during new
upgrade programmes. Decisions are being
taken on a case-by-case basis, with cost the
primary determining factor.
One current upgrade programme will refurbish
the Royal Marines Viking tracked vehicles,
removing much of the Afghanistan-specific
equipment installed in recent years and
returning the fleet to a common baseline
standard. BAE Systems offered a GVA-compliant
option alongside a cheaper, non-GVA solution
the former was not selected. The contract for
the Warrior Capability Sustainment Programme,
however, which was also awarded after the
GVA DefStan was first published and which
was initially not GVA-compliant, has since
had a degree of GVA compatibility built into
it by Selex ES and Ultra Electronics, which
supply the situation awareness systems
to the programme.
Meanwhile, when bidding for the contract
to upgrade several hundred Mastiff vehicles
from their original baseline standard to add new
functionality and subsystems, Selex ES offered
the MoD two solutions one GVA-compliant,
the other not at the same price.
The company has developed what it has
referred to as a GVA-Lite solution, which
reduces onboard complexity by putting
processors inside the crew station unit, and
strips out elements of the expandability built
into GVA but which will not be required on all
current platforms. The MoD opted to retain the
existing, non-GVA subsystems fit, ensuring users
already familiar with the vehicle would not have
to retrain on GVA-compliant crew stations.
The advent of IOAs may also mean that
managing procurement competitions becomes
harder. Hopkins argues that evidence to support
this view has already been obtained, following
the failure of the proposed Future Rapid Effects
System Utility Vehicle (FRES UV) project, where
the contractual construct would have potentially
delivered the cheapest and most versatile
solution, but was a much more difficult
process to oversee.
If the competition is structured from the
perspective that the customer will buy the
platform, theres the potential for a competitive
tension between a platform manufacturer that
believes theyve got a systems capability, and
the likes of a Selex that believes we could do
that job better, he explained.
For me, the best model that the MoD got
around to was the original FRES UV programme,
where the acquisition construct was very much:
We will select the vehicle separate from the
integrator, and from the manufacturing. The
vehicle was picked first, the manufacturer had an
aspiration to do the systems integration, so the
vehicle provider said: Well, Im not giving my
information to competitive integrators. So at that
point the competition falls to pieces, effectively.
Regardless of the problems, the potential
upsides of IOAs are significant enough for all
parties to agree that some degree of
interoperability is going to be essential in all
future vehicle programmes and ongoing
upgrades. Work is progressing to turn the UKs
GVA DefStan into a NATO Standard Agreement,
which could eventually lead to all the alliance
member states vehicles being able to field an
increased range of subsystems.
The prime beneficiaries of an internationally
interoperable series of military vehicles will not
just be the soldiers using them, but potentially a
vast number of small businesses that presently
find it challenging to offer their technologies
to military customers. The term disruptive
technologies is frequently applied in the
commercial communications and IT worlds
IOAs may mean that all entities involved in
defence procurement will have to cope with
disruption, too.
Weve encountered a number of companies
that are now understanding that theyre not a
prime military contractor, theyve never delivered
anything to the military, but they have a
product that would fit the military need, and
they dont need to develop a completely
different enterprise within their corporate
structure to deliver that, added Barry.
They just have to adhere to a well-known
and well-publicised standard, and they can
achieve what they need to achieve. So I think
GVA is definitely the future, and industry is
starting to grasp that and exploit the opportunity
that presents.
Yes, like anything else, it has a threat inherent
to it. But as long as their product is good, then
they know that they can compete against their
peers quite comfortably, because well then
select based on the quality of the product, the
price and all the other things we choose to select
against, but with the advantage that a smaller
business knows that they can compete against a
bigger business. DB
A UK Mastiff upgrade was offered up in both GVA and non-GVA variants. (Photo: Selex ES)
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DIGITAL BATTLESPACE | May/June 2014 | Volume 6 Number 3 www.digital-battlespace.com
Highs and lows
an array of maritime patrol aircraft (MPA) were
deployed from the militaries of Australia, China,
Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, South Korea and
the US.
In addition to manned vessels and UUVs,
special mission aircraft were also deployed
to the search area, including: Malaysian
Lockheed Martin C-130s; Chinese Ilyushin Il-76s;
Japan Coast Guard Gulfstream G5s; Australian,
Japanese, Korean and New Zealand Lockheed
Martin P-3 Orions; Australian E-7A Wedgetails;
and US Boeing P-8 Poseidons.
The area in which the aircraft is believed to
have crashed is thousands of kilometres off the
coast of Perth, Australia, in the Indian Ocean,
and daily searches have covered hundreds of
thousands of square kilometres.
The range of the deployed aircraft has
therefore been paramount, with the Boeing
737-derived P-8, for example, able to operate at
a range of 2,220km with four hours on-station,
according to the company. The P-3, meanwhile,
has a maximum endurance of 16 hours, and
carrying IR and long-range EO cameras and
imaging radar allows the aircraft to monitor
activity from a comfortable distance, according
to Lockheed Martin.
Two US 7th Fleet P-8 aircraft from Patrol
Squadron 16, usually based out of Okinawa,
Japan, were taking part in the search as Digital
Battlespace went to press.
Weve come across a number of radar
contacts while we were on-station, which led us
to investigate the area using visual searches,
Lt Cdr Mike Trumbull, tactical coordinator on
board the P-8A during the search, stated in a
7th Fleet statement. Even though we havent
found aircraft debris, being able to rule out our
search areas is still helpful.
The Australian government, which is
closely involved and leading a joint agency
coordination centre (JACC) out of its Pearce air
base in Perth, is likely watching P-8 operations in
the Indian Ocean closely, as it agreed in
February to acquire the aircraft for its navy.
Under this deal, eight platforms have been
purchased under a A$4 billion (US$3.74 billion)
contract, with first delivery by 2017 and FOC
by 2021. Depending on the results of the
forthcoming defence white paper, an option
for four more aircraft could be approved.
The USNs Poseidons will complement
the fleet of MQ-4C Triton UAVs that are on
order. Australia has a similar plan, and
announced in March that it would acquire
Triton if the USs Broad Area Maritime
Surveillance development programme is
successfully completed.
The USN currently has 53 P-8s on order,
with options for 117 to replace its P-3s. IOC
he surveillance capability that fixed-wing
aircraft provide within certain theatres of
operation is unparalleled by other
platforms in a contested battlefield.
As operations shift towards the maritime
environment, more pressure is being put on
these aircraft to offer the ISR capability required
to survey the swathe of oceans and coastlines
which are now of particular interest.
While unmanned platforms have
demonstrated their surveillance worth in the
land and maritime domains, and continue to
proliferate across the world, manned aircraft,
which have extensive mission capabilities in
addition to the ISR role, still remain at the fore.
During the search for the Malaysia Airlines
Boeing 777 (Flight MH370) that disappeared en
route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing on 8 March,
Special mission aircraft continue to proliferate around the globe, with industry offering both expensive
all-in-one solutions and lower-cost platforms with high-end mission systems. Beth Stevenson
compares the varying degrees of operational flexibility on offer.
USN P-8 Poseidons have taken part in the search for Flight MH370. (Photo: USN)
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www.digital-battlespace.com Volume 6 Number 3 | May/June 2014 | DIGITAL BATTLESPACE
was achieved in November 2013, and FOC is
expected in 2018.
Aside from the USN, India also operates the
P-8I variant of the Poseidon. Its navy ordered
eight aircraft in 2009, and three have been
delivered to date. The P-8I incorporates design
features unique to the country as well as
Indian-built subsystems tailored to specific
maritime patrol requirements.
One concern surrounding the aircraft used
during the MH370 search was that they were
unnecessarily sophisticated and costly assets for
such a mission.
A Boeing 737-800, which the Poseidon is
based on, sells for around $90.5 million, and this
is without the mission-specific subsystems that
turn it into an MPA.
However, there is also a requirement for a less
costly option with a similar level of mission
capability in a clean ISR configuration.
Through its Phantom Works division,
Boeing is developing the Maritime Surveillance
Aircraft (MSA) based on the cheaper
Bombardier Challenger 605 airframe,
which altogether is expected to cost around
$55-60 million.
In February, Boeings MSA demonstrator
completed its first four-hour airworthiness flight.
This is a Challenger 604 airframe that has been
modified into MSA configuration.
Flight trials were to continue in the two
months following the initial sortie, Boeing
said. The baseline configuration will consist
of an AESA multi-mode radar, EO/IR sensor,
ESM, COMINT package and AIS. Boeing
has partnered with Field Aviation for
engineering and modification aspect of the new
The UK has also expressed its interest in
acquiring an MPA following the 2010 retirement
of the Nimrod MR2 that was providing this
capability, which has arguably led to the island
nation not having effective maritime
surveillance coverage.
The Nimrod R1 SIGINT version was
subsequently replaced by three ex-USAF
RC-135W Rivet Joint platforms, the first of which
was delivered in 2013.
Currently, there is no formal requirement for
a specific MPA, but it is possible that the RAF
will look towards incorporating this need into
the next strategic defence and security review
(SDSR) that will be released in 2015.
A Future Maritime Surveillance inquiry by the
House of Commons Defence Committee
released in September 2012 examined the
maritime surveillance capability of the UK, and
decided not to revisit the decision on retiring the
Nimrod, but instead focused on how the MoD
should manage its current inventory and
future fleet.
The government fully recognises the
importance of maritime surveillance to the UK,
a Parliamentary response said. In the 2010
SDSR, we acknowledged that no single
department or body had the capacity or
capability to deliver what is required to monitor
the maritime environment and counter threats
the UK faces both in territorial waters and
The government acknowledges the
committees concerns about capability gaps
and we are pleased that the committee
acknowledged the work we are undertaking
to explore fully all options and alternatives for
providing maritime surveillance.
An Air ISTAR Optimisation Study formed part
of this exploration, which will contribute to the
2015 SDSR, and is expected to be completed by
the summer of 2014.
According to Andrew Linstead, head of
aerospace business development at Lockheed
Martin UK, the force could be looking towards a
low-cost platform as its MPA option. He told DB
that budgets remain tight, although ambition in
terms of the capability remains the same.
Boeing is offering the more
cost-effective Bombardier
Challenger-based MSA as well
as the high-end P-8 for maritime
patrol missions. (Photo: Boeing)
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DIGITAL BATTLESPACE | May/June 2014 | Volume 6 Number 3 www.digital-battlespace.com
They want a high-end capability for the
absolute lowest cost, he explained. There is a
real possibility in taking the C-130, and marrying
that with the technology already developed for
the P-3 Orion and its anti-submarine warfare
[ASW] role, as well as the mission systems for
the Merlin helicopter.
This would involve palletising the systems and
rolling them onto the back of the Hercules
airlifter. A magnetic anomaly detector on the tail
would be added, and wheel wells extended
forward could become torpedo bays.
Most of these modifications already exist,
Linstead said, for example on the USMCs
Harvest Hawk and the USCGs C-130H. As the
RAF retires its J fleet [of C-130s], there is the
possibility to convert there especially with the
short [fuselage C Mk 5] variant which would
make a deal even better.
Linstead added that the MoD would not just be
interested in a clean MPA, but a multi-mission
aircraft that would facilitate ASW missions
alongside an overland capability, with a sensor
suite capable of doing both.
A formal proposal has not yet been made
Although I couldnt imagine that there wouldnt
be a requirement to have a better overland
capability to support specific land operations
in a much more organised and ordered way.
It is believed that one option being
considered by the MoD is the P-8. Under the
UKs Seedcorn programme, which aims to
increase the maritime ISR capability of British
forces, RAF personnel are due to conduct
training on board the Poseidon.
In line with the way the USN intends to
conduct its maritime surveillance operations in
future years, RAF personnel will also train to use
the MQ-4C Triton UAS.
The test and evaluation specialists will be
assigned to the USNs VX-1 squadron as part of
its regular duties alongside US personnel, a
USN representative confirmed to DB. The RAF
crews were selected based on skills and
qualifications, and the representative noted that
the move did not imply an official request from
the British government.
Although this effort does not cement interest
by the UK in purchasing the aircraft, the fact that
personnel will be trained on the two types
suggests it is exploring the CONOPS relating to
operation of manned and unmanned platforms
in conjunction.
Linstead said the P-8 would be the most
expensive option for the RN, while the Lockheed
Martin route would cost fractions of that. He
added that the logistics are already in place for a
modified C-130 because it is not a new aircraft,
and there is not a great deal of technical risk
involved with the modification.
Other options could include the MPA
variant of the Airbus C295 transport, the
Alenia Aermacchi ATR 72MP and the Saab
Swordfish MPA, although the lack of an official
requirement means that nothing more than
speculation about possible bidders is possible
at this point.
One aircraft being developed from scratch with
a low-cost surveillance and strike capability in
mind is the Textron AirLand Scorpion.
The first flight of the internally funded aircraft
took place in December 2013 from McConnell
AFB in Wichita, Kansas, and since then a total
of 50 hours over 26 flights have been
conducted and testing is planned to continue
throughout the year. Approximately 150
flights are expected to be achieved by the
end of 204 as the prototype completes
envelope expansion testing.
As Scorpion is designed as a cost-efficient
multirole aircraft, it will be able to operate
at both high and low speeds, both of which
have been focused on throughout the flight
test campaign.
Were very excited about the low-speed
envelope, George Sanchez, regional VP of
business development for government, military
and special missions at Textron subsidiary
Cessna, told DB. It can intercept but also
stay low when flying in a counter-narcotics
mission, for example. This is something a
high-performing aircraft cant do.
Although funding for the tests comes from
Textron AirLand, Sanchez said that potential
customers in foreign governments have shown
interest in the aircraft.
If youre a government looking for a
high-performance aircraft because you expect
to fly in a contested airspace and require stealth,
this is probably not the right aircraft for you, he
continued. However, you cant afford to have
all of your eggs in a high-threat spectrum.
We could have had something like this
deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan and saved
billions of dollars.
In line with the trend of applying high-end
mission systems to low-cost aircraft, Sanchez
said Scorpion takes things one step further
Northrop Grumman is waiting for Congress to agree to a multi-year USN E-2D buy. (Photo: USN)

Always in Control
Special Mission Aircraft -
Superior intelligence collection
and battle management
Long-endurance, high altitude business jet
or advanced turbo-prop platforms
Onboard and ground C4I centers for
mission control, situation awareness
and intelligence dissemination
Advanced communication
systems for net-centric
Signal Intelligence Maritime Patrol
Airborne Early
Airborne Ground
DB_MayJun14_p30-34_Special_Mission_Aircraft.indd 32 28/04/2014 17:15:06
Always in Control
Special Mission Aircraft -
Superior intelligence collection
and battle management
Long-endurance, high altitude business jet
or advanced turbo-prop platforms
Onboard and ground C4I centers for
mission control, situation awareness
and intelligence dissemination
Advanced communication
systems for net-centric
Signal Intelligence Maritime Patrol
Airborne Early
Airborne Ground
DB_MayJun14_p30-34_Special_Mission_Aircraft.indd 33 28/04/2014 17:15:06
DIGITAL BATTLESPACE | May/June 2014 | Volume 6 Number 3 www.digital-battlespace.com
with the additional strike capability. Were
getting away from single-mission platforms,
he said. It is naive to think you need different
platforms for each and every mission.
The company is in the process of defining
mission system requirements for the aircraft, but
assessments for this are expected throughout
the flight testing currently under way.
So far, a maximum airspeed of 430kt has
been reached, as well as an altitude of 30,000ft,
single-engine shutdown and restart in flight
and demonstration of a low-speed aircraft
interception mission.
Maritime capability in Asia-Pacific is also of
great interest to OEMs, with Western industry
using the requirements within the region to
its advantage.
Northrop Grumman is expecting a multi-year
contract for its E-2D AEW aircraft for the USN,
and there is production room to provide FMS
examples to other nations. Some 12 aircraft
have been delivered to the US to date, and 30
are on order out of a 75-strong requirement,
with IOC expected in October 2014.
The next critical metric is that in 2017 the
navy plans to deploy this to Japan, Jay
Mulhall, director of business development for
E-2/C-2 programmes at the company, told DB.
One forward-deployed naval E-2C squadron
with four aircraft is already based to Japan,
which in 2017 will transition into a squadron of
five E-2Ds, noted Mulhall.
FMS potential for the E-2D is continuing to be
explored in parallel, with the company saying it
is actively involved in discussions. India has
already expressed interest in the AEW platform,
but is currently shaping aircraft carrier
requirements that will determine which
airborne capability it procures.
Meanwhile, France announced in 2013 that it
was to upgrade the IFF system on board its
three E-2C aircraft, which Mulhall said is part of
an upgrade programme the countrys navy is
In addition, Malaysia and the UAE have
also been granted permission by the US
government to procure the E-2D under FMS.
Alenia Aermacchi continues to push its
ATR 72MP as a solution for countries in the
Asia-Pacific region, and Giovanni Timossi, VP
of international sales, told DB during the
Singapore Airshow in February: At present,
there are a lot of opportunities for this type of
aircraft in the region.
The company states that the platform can
offer greater capability with fewer aircraft, which
would be an advantage for countries with long
maritime borders and constrained budgets
such as Indonesia and Malaysia.
Saab has also plugged the capabilities of
its legacy Saab 340 MSA, which it says can
provide multirole surveillance for detection,
classification and identification of maritime
contacts, as well as providing a search and
rescue capability.
Speaking at the same show, Dan Enstedt,
president and CEO of Saab Asia Pacific, said
regional challenges such as piracy made it an
ideal market, and that the company was talking
to four or five potential customers. He added
that there was also a potential market for a
Saab-developed MPA solution.
The Saab 340 has an endurance of
nine hours and a maximum range of over
3,000km. It is fitted with a 360 maritime
radar, a retractable multiple payload EO/IR
sensor, a mission management system, voice
and data link SATCOM, direction finder and
secure AIS.
The aircraft on display in Singapore was fitted
with a Telephonics 1700B radar and FLIR
Systems EO/IR sensor for demonstration
purposes, but an official said that the company
was agnostic about the sensor fit.
Meanwhile, the ATR 72MP will be fitted
with a Star Safire EO/IR system and new AESA
radar for its surveillance capability. It will also
be fitted with a full ESM suite and AIS.
Communications will be provided via
Link 11/16 and a Ku-Band satellite link, and the
standard offering will also incorporate sister
company Selex ESs Airborne Tactical
Observation and Surveillance system.
However, Timossi concluded that Alenia
Aeronautica was willing to be quite flexible
about the sensor solution. DB
Lockheed Martin says a modified C-130 could give the UK a cost-effective MPA. (Photo: USMC)
Textron AirLands Scorpion offers a strike and ISR capability in one aircraft. (Photo: Textron)
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LO O K I N G F O R . . .
M A R K E T I N T E L L I G E N C E ?
I N - D E P T H N E WS A N A LY S I S ?
V I S I T S H E P H A R D P LU S . C O M
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www.digital-battlespace.com DIGITAL BATTLESPACE | May/June 2014 | Volume 6 Number 3
Express delivery
specific purpose and allow everything wireless
to be controlled with only one device.
Traditional wireless technology uses
hardware tuned to a specific frequency and
decodes the information in a specific way. That
means different devices must be used for each
wireless protocol application you want to use.
Noctar is different because its general-
purpose radio hardware can tune to a
broad range of frequencies, with different
software applications being used to decode
information. This allows Noctar to interact
with any wireless frequency.
Noctars job is to tune into a selected
frequency and convert it into something a
computer can understand. Wollesen noted
that the companys aim is to create a universal
router capable of being integrated into
computers and tactical radios, including
Harriss popular AN/PRC-117G.
Per Vices is currently backed by investors
including $2.5 billion venture capitalist
Andreesen Horowitz, which invested
$80 million in Twitter in February 2011
and also holds stocks in Facebook, Groupon
and Zynga.
According to Wollesen, a number of industry
primes, governments, agencies and national
research laboratories have already purchased
Noctar, although he is unable to confirm what
exactly for. However, sources informed DB that
possible uses included SIGINT applications as
well as radar experiments.
Wollesen is refreshingly honest about the
industrys reception of this technology,
referring to a conversation with a USSOCOM
general who questioned whether Per Vices
systems would provide an overload of
information for SOF operators. Wollesen
responded: There is preventing too much
information, but no such thing as too much
Furthermore, he highlighted how a
smartphone, costing approximately $600,
could be upgraded to run the same
communications as a typical SDR which
is worth some $20,000. We are talking
interoperability without changing the balance
of friendly forces radios. Noctar and Vaunt
can bridge the gap between many different
wireless signals and applications like a router
from RF to Internet signals, plus [the latter] can
allow a platform to act as a 3G/LTE
base station.
A single Per Vices Noctar or Vaunt circuit
board only costs hundreds of dollars and
Wollesen admitted that some potential
customers had been put off the technology by
its low cost. Currently, we are at a low maturity
of software and there is a trade-off between
cost and performance. But we want to see this
technology in a position so anybody can use
it, he concluded. DB
ilitaries are currently using SDRs
[software-defined radios] like
old analogue radios,Wollesen
explained to Digital Battlespace. Thats a
problem in realising the broader vision of
integrated communications.
Canadian-based company, Per Vices
(which means by turns in Latin), is already
marketing its Noctar product a PCI Express
card that can send and receive wireless signals
up to 4GHz, allowing it to bridge any type of
C4ISR hardware to any wireless frequency.
As an example, this means that a commercial
smartphone can speak to a VHF military radio
system or a desktop PC can turn itself into an
RF-jamming or spoofing EW platform.
In June/July, Per Vices will approach the
C4ISR market with its latest Vaunt technology,
which allows a single device to communicate
concurrently with up to four other platforms.
At the moment, Noctar is capable of
communicating with just a single platform.
According to Wollesen, this technology
will allow a single communications device
to become a real SDR. He also describes it
as a MOLLE (Modular Lightweight Load-
carrying Equipment) system for the C4ISR
community, referencing the kit used by
warfighters to reconfigure equipment for
different tasks.
Referring to the older analogue systems,
Wollesen explained: Dedicated hardware
serves dedicated purposes... [ie] separate
components have a single wireless purpose
one chip for WiFi; another for cell phone
use; another for GPS. With Noctar, these
applications are simply software additions
that configure the underlying hardware for a
Ahead of the launch of its latest technology, Per Vices
founder Victor Wollesen talks to Andrew White about the
future capabilities of software-defined radios within the
military market.
These applications are
software additions that configure
the underlying hardware for a
specific purpose.
DB_MayJun14_p36_Interview.indd 36 28/04/2014 17:23:55
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