Supporting deployed troops in accessing their data needs
While the need to access the operational terrain is important to any dismounted troops, providing them with the access to the data that helps them obtain the information edge is just as important in the modern combat environment.
Deploying troops into an area of operations means a need for access – be it by helicopter into a remote valley, or by vehicle to a particular location on or off a road. However, once that link with a mobile asset is cut, dismounted troops are reliant on their organic signalling equipment to maintain communications with supporting units, nearby friendly forces, and headquarters.
The modern dismounted squad also carries a wide range of digitised equipment to support their mission, ranging from handheld UAVs to laser rangefinders, GPS trackers, and more. Bringing all the data that a squad can generate into a single Battle Management System (BMS) requires a high degree of flexibility from the BMS software – both as a gateway service and as an operational platform.
“SitaWare features an open architecture, with Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) allowing the easy integration of a wide variety of data types from different sources to support greater modularity for our users,” Christoph Pauls, Business Product Manager for SitaWare Frontline and SitaWare Edge said.
This modularity allows organisations to extend the platform as required – integrating the data outputs to accommodate new sensors and hardware systems as they are acquired.
A laser rangefinder, for example, can provide data on a target’s distance and bearing that is then automatically added to the map on a device using SitaWare Edge. Interacting directly with the visualisation on the map, soldiers are able to add in observed data about the target including type, size/strength, and more.
As the information on the map synchronises up and down the command chain over a radio network, the information and data gathered by an infantry squad can be communicated all the way to higher levels of command, or to nearby units, allowing much greater situational awareness. This increased situational awareness can improve the likelihood of mission success, as well as greater safety from friendly fire incidents.
Key to supporting all this interoperability within the BMS is SitaWare’s adoption of engineering and military standards. These help to deliver force multiplier C4ISR technologies such as cameras, UAVs, GPS, laser rangefinders, and more distribute their outputs to the BMS. Inputs from inertial navigation units help to centralise the location of the user, and those objects around them.
Employing standards such as NMEA 0183, ICD-GPS-153, and GPSD help to disseminate location data across platforms and devices, as well as to different user types such as maritime and desk-based IP services. Metadata messaging standards that include Cursor-On-Target can also be supported to ensure interoperability in information transfer.
With the rise of video streaming onto ever-smaller battlefield computers, standards such as RTMP, RTSP, DirectShow, and NATO STANAG 4609 have helped SitaWare users transmit and receive video content including metadata such as a drone’s position and viewshed right to the tip of the spear. Providing video intelligence support from higher echelon assets to deployed troops on the ground can help with identifying targets over the hill or around the corner – while maintaining an element of surprise. This key facet of the OODA (observe-orient-decide-act) loop helps to ensure that your friendly forces can remain secure, and experience greater situational awareness.
SitaWare Edge is also tested and proven with the main radio transmission protocols – HF, UHF, and VHF – as well as satellite communications (SATCOM) protocols and IP network radios. Users have deployed SitaWare Edge on radio systems including the L3 Harris Falcon family, Thales PR4G F@stnet family, Rohde & Schwarz R&S®SDHR and R&S®SDTR, and more. Drivers to allow compatibility can also be developed for radio systems that may not currently be supported.