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august 30, 2023

Modernising Military Operations: Project Zodiac, Systematic, and the digitalisation of the British Army 

The British Army’s Project Zodiac is a 10-year modernisation programme, intended to totally overhaul the Army’s deployable digital system. The aim is to deliver an integrated Intelligence, Surveillance, Target Acquisition and Reconnaissance (ISTAR) system that will operate within the Degraded, Denied, Intermittent and Limited-Bandwidth (DDIL) communications environment of the modern battlefield. In September 2023 the prime contractor Roke confirmed they will be working together with their partners to deliver the next two years of this extensive project.  

Systematic’s Role in Project Zodiac 

As part of this collaborative work Systematic is providing its expertise in developing robust software solutions that will enable a more streamlined data intake process. By leveraging advanced algorithms and intuitive interfaces, the SitaWare Suite enables seamless integration of diverse data sources, ranging from reconnaissance reports to real-time sensor feeds. This unified data environment not only enhances situational awareness but also empowers commanders with actionable insights in real-time, enabling them to make informed decisions with unprecedented speed and precision. 

Optimising the Sensor-Decider-Effector Process 

One of the key contributions of Systematic to Project Zodiac lies in optimising the sensor-decider-effector process, which forms the backbone of modern military operations. By automating repetitive tasks and leveraging artificial intelligence, Systematic's software solutions have significantly accelerated the decision-making process, allowing commanders to react swiftly to emerging threats.  

This enhanced responsiveness not only reduces the risk of mission failure but also maximises the operational tempo, thereby amplifying the overall lethality of the British Army. Zodiac is built on an open architecture principle, ensuring future sensors and systems can be integrated quickly and easily. This principle also allows for more efficient communication both vertically and across the chain of command, enabling faster decision making between allied forces – vital when operating as part of a NATO force. 

Field Testing and Development 

As part of this project a team of our Solutions Engineers were sent out to support PCC4 exercises in the US earlier this year. Senior solutions engineer for Systematic; Geoff Wilman shared his insights on the exercise. “Our software is helping to speed up the sensor-decider-effector process, which is really important for modern operations,” he said. “This allows for faster more effective decision making and collaborative communications.”  
Being on the ground with the British Army during the PCC4 exercise allowed a unique opportunity between Geoff and our team of engineers and the end users. Putting Zodiac into users’ hands as early as possible in its development ensures that users inform its evolution, allowing for tweaks and changes that will ensure it meets the army’s requirements.  

The SitaWare solution

Users of SitaWare have the ability to integrate their fires operations into the command environment. Deploying the SitaWare Fire Support Module with SitaWare Headquarters allows joint fires cells the ability to integrate their operations with the staff of a command post. In using the same battle management platform, actors within the command post can interact more easily, exchange information and intelligence more readily, and reduce the burden on fires and operations staff.

Plans for fire support missions can be created and shared with fires teams, as well as with operations staff and other users across the battlespace. The drafting, formatting, and delivery of plans can be done using standard templates. Their digital delivery directly into the BMS environment means that there are significant improvements in transparency about the delivery of kinetic effects, reducing the risk of friendly fire incidents as situational awareness in improved.

The SitaWare Fire Support Module can also be deployed with the tablet-based SitaWare Frontline in vehicles, with gun teams, and by forward observers. Utilising the same operating environment, planning and operations staff within a headquarters are also able to track the position, availability, and inventory of their fires assets, ensuring that the best effect can be delivered. Plans, fire missions, and the common operational picture (COP) can also be readily shared and updated to disparate fires units, ensuring improvements in operator safety.

From a force protection standpoint, being able to share a COP means that fires assets can be more mobile. As counter-battery effects on the battlefield improve, the need for mobility increases. Greater mobility enables greater safety of fires assets and improves their longevity as a resource.  Automatically calculating and calibrating each fire mission to an asset’s location further ensures that mobility does not create an accuracy trade-off.

Leveraging the full power of the intelligence cycle

Systematic’s newest product, SitaWare Insight, can further help unlock intelligence to deliver operational efficiencies for the fires workflow. Working in a headquarters’ operations and planning cycles, SitaWare Insight helps to deliver the intelligence cycle’s products rapidly and efficiently to a command staff, while deploying technologies such as computer vision and big data analysis to identify enemy assets, positions, and intentions.

Staff working within a Joint Fires Cell can leverage these intelligence products to maximise the utilisation of intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) assets, and further find targets of opportunity on the battlefield. Alerts based on the detection of possibly enemy equipment or formations can help commanders and fires teams understand the threat landscape and work to further impede an opponent’s capabilities or frustrate their freedom of movement.

Operating a single C4ISR platform such as SitaWare has a number of other benefits – from a common user interface and simplified training, to secured communications and interoperability. Integrating intelligence, operations, manoeuvre, fires, and planning allows for a more efficient battlegroup, improved combat effectiveness, and an operational advantage over an opponent.


An add-on to our combat-proven SitaWare suite of products, the SitaWare Fire Support module ensures the rapid exchange of intelligence and fire commands to allow effective fire support.

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