Outside the command posts: the army completes the pilot for the network in armored mode – Breaking Defense Breaking Defense

Soldiers tested potential future network equipment for mobile formations. (Andrew Eversden / Breaking Defense)

Ft. Stewart, Georgia: In the heavy forests of southern Georgia, the Vietnam-era M1068 is set in a muddy swamp. transmission of invisible digital information between the thick trunks of trees and through the treetops.

Soldiers here are experimenting with communications in motion for their armored formations, sending battlefield data to inform fire missions between scattered platforms, the latest exercise for an army learning to fight next-generation digital warfare. Ultimately, the service wants its soldiers to be on different platforms general situational awareness as he prepares to eliminate it command points that are easily targeted in the future.

“The days when we probably did that, set up this big tent and stood around the map are probably gone,” said Colonel Terry Tillis, commander of the 3rd Armored Brigade’s 3rd Infantry Brigade battle group, standing in the brigade’s tactical operations. center. “I would like to have the same dialogue as here [with] all these people who run up and tell me every hour or two, [saying] “That’s what has changed on the battlefield,” compared to what we’re actually going to do [when] distributed in the car and how we still have this dialogue. “

Related: A new army pilot program to test the mobile communications of an armored brigade

For the past few weeks in the forest Ft. Stewart, the army conducted a pilot with elements of the battle group of the 2nd Armored Brigade of the 3rd Infantry Division, tested three different “sets of equipment” of network tools in motion. Collected technical data and feedback from soldiers will be reported planning Capability Set ’25the third iteration of network modernization tools, which will focus on armored formations.

The military is upgrading its network with a number of new capabilities every two years to enable multi-domain operations and prepare for the Pentagon’s future concept of combat operations, a joint domain command and control known as JADC2.

One of the main tasks of the pilot was to test the ability of highly mobile armored formations to maintain situational awareness during constant maneuver on the battlefield. As the service prepares for melee, it must reduce the physical size of its large bulky command posts, which are slowly rising and collapsing to protect the lives of soldiers and commanders inside.

“We know that on the future battlefield you must fight scattered and distributed,” Major General Charles Castanza, commander of the 3rd Infantry Division, told reporters. Referring to typical tactical operations centers on the battlefield, the two stars said: “It’s too big. And so this ability would allow us to fight a little more distributed and distracted. ”

For the pilot, each group of four 1,068 functioned as an S6 (Network Manager), S2 (Intelligence), S3 (Operational) and Fire Support Machine, and was equipped with one of three sets of equipment integrated by General Dynamics Mission Systems. (Breaking Defense, like other outlets, took a pass from GDMS for this visit.)

“Placing a communications kit on the move on a mechanized platform is one of the most challenging things we do in the United States military,” said Major General Robert Collins, head of the Office of Management, Control, Communications and Tactical Programs.

An attempt to combine line of sight and satellite communication

Each vehicle in the first set of equipment had a satellite connection and a line of sight, making it the most capable and resilient set. The second set provided flat SATCOM antennas for S2, S3 and firing vehicles, but delayed the line of sight. The third set of equipment had visibility capabilities, but not SATCOM. In each set the S6 car had SATCOM and direct visibility.

The three sets of equipment scenarios included movement to contact the enemy, offensive and defensive operations, and testing the ability to maintain command and control and perform fire tasks. Collins said the technical data collected in the pilot course will be passed on to the Service’s Center of Excellence to help inform future requirements documents, provide feedback to more than 20 industry partners who have provided opportunities, and help shape service acquisition strategies.

Soldiers of reconnaissance and fire of the 6th Squadron of the 8th Cavalry Brigade Regiment, which operates in close proximity to the enemy and is responsible for monitoring their units, was equipped with the 2nd set of heavy machinery SATCOM. The military of this unit said SATCOM capabilities have improved their speed in communicating with the brigade.

“The ability to process orders and … the information we owe to our top echelons to process them, we can do it on the go without stopping and adjusting,” said Lieutenant T.J. Angers. He added that this capability allowed firefighters to handle three fire missions in 10 minutes on the move, which became an “unheard of” speed.

The downside, however, was that the satellite connection sometimes failed, a real probability in disconnected and interfering conflict zones expected in close-to-peer battles. In the event of a failure, the device switches to traditional line-of-sight, which requires vehicles to be close enough so that their antennas can see each other.

“It remains to be clarified,” Angevin said. “If we need it to work, we need it to work right here.”

Soldiers equipped with a set of equipment one, the most sustainable, also felt that their network equipment was improved. The problem they shared, apart from the wide wiring, was a slight delay when the network switched between SATCOM and cellular line of sight.

“We found out [it] to be extremely resilient when we went out on the field last week, so we are very impressed with that, ”said Major Brandon Pascoe.

Soldiers with the third outfit told reporters that the line of sight provided them with clear communication, but had some obstacles due to foliage. Users of all equipment kits said the new tools provide them with a better awareness of the situation, easier to set up and demolish when armored units stop quickly, and easier to use.

“This is a perfect example of how soldiers can help inform future capabilities and systems and improve them,” Castanza said.

As the military collects more feedback from the pilot, the challenge it faces is to find the right balance between capabilities and availability. While it would be ideal to equip each vehicle with a visibility network and SATCOM communication, this is also the most expensive option. As network leaders develop the Capability Set ’25, still in the early stages, the focus will be on finding the right balance to provide commanders with flexibility.

“In the old school days, [the commander] “You may have to say,‘ No, we’ll stay where we are, ’and he’ll take the risk as commander because the juice isn’t worth squeezing out online,” said Colonel Greg Napoli, the combined network head of the network’s cross-functional team. “But now he has extra flexibility to move.” Outside the command posts: the army completes the pilot for the network in armored mode – Breaking Defense Breaking Defense

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