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Archive for the ‘C5ISR’ Category

TITAN Pre-Prototype Illuminates the Way Forward for the US Army’s ‘King of Battle’

Tuesday, April 2nd, 2024

ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. — Field artillery has long been the U.S. military’s long reach battlefield weapon. Because of the big booms and big distance, field artillery has long been dubbed the king of battle. This king is getting a new jewel in its crown that will by way of technology that will bolster its distance capability.

The Tactical Intelligence Targeting Access Node, or TITAN, pre-prototype and the TITAN program of record introduces deep sensing to field artillery. While deep sensing sounds like a drilling term, its real purpose is all about long range sighting. “Deep sensing to me is being able to see over the horizon, no longer limited line of sight. Being able to see on the other side of the mountain or seeing deep into enemy territory would be the deep sensing aspect of that,” said Richard Thompson, Army Tactical Exploitation of National Capabilities, or TENCAP, Ground Station lead.

Thompson is a former U.S. Army chief warrant officer 4 who worked in the field for over 20 years and has seen all sorts of development in the FA world, but nothing like this. “I was in the Army for over 20 years and some of the first systems I used were TENCAP systems. So, the team and I are very passionate about TITAN and we see the importance of the deep sensing and targeting aspect of it.”

TITAN is a big deal to people like Thompson who have worked in the field artillery space for a long time. The value added has everyone excited, because TITAN delivers a next-generation, expeditionary, scalable and maneuverable platform at echelon that is purpose built to address the Army’s number one gap in large-scale combat operations: deep sensing.

By accessing sensor data from multiple sensors simultaneously across the space, high altitude, aerial and terrestrial layers, TITAN provides situational awareness and situational understanding across operations. Fusing that data and using advanced analytics to deliver targetable intelligence to lethal and non-lethal networks reduces the sensor-to-shooter gap and enables long range precision fires, aviation and mission command.

In short, the TITAN pre-prototype is focused on space-based intelligence surveillance and is a reconnaissance asset. As such, the program serves as a critical capability for both the intelligence and fires community.

According to Thompson, their effort with the pre-prototype is meant to deliver space-based functionality to the TITAN program of record that will later be integrated into a single system. This is a major capability increase. “The key is, our peers and near peers are developing weapon systems that can range further. We must be able to find those threat systems and be able to help the fires community and the mission command community engage those systems at range,” said Thompson. “We have to be able to shoot further, but to shoot further you have to find those targets.”

For those who are in field artillery, these are exciting times as the king of battle is poised to be more formidable than ever.

“It comes down to timeliness and accurateness. This TITAN pre-prototype increases the trust of ground force commanders who are relying on extremely accurate data from their Intel personnel and by what we provide,” said CW3 Christopher Trader, Mutli-Domain Task Force TITAN pre-prototype officer in charge.

“That trust elevates tenfold where fires elements can simply receive the data that we provide and then employ the appropriate weapon system to execute. That is, in my interpretation, what big Army is striving for,” Trader added.

Trader is a current user of TITAN pre-prototype and responsible for putting it through its paces to find ways to improve upon its requirements. Deep sensing is a critical asset. Deep visual penetration of the battlefield allows for not only better target acquisition, but better safety and security for all those operating in that battle space. The more personnel you can keep engaged in the fight speaks to the success you can have.

But what about the tried-and-true personnel operating as forward observers? Forward observers have long been the down range eyes of the field artillery. Is there a concern the TITAN program makes them obsolete?

“Absolutely not!” said Trader.  “I will stand by that 100 percent, being a previous 96R, which is a ground surveillance system operator in the MI Corps. I know very intimately what and how much of a value [field observers] are, as I was with those guys in the foxholes. The difference is, and I’ll be very blunt, we see past them. We see in distances that they cannot see — so that’s what makes the big difference. We can see beyond the close fight. That is the intent of the TITAN prototype: to get past the close fight and focus on the deep fight,” Trader said.

There are more products on the horizon, some currently in use. The technology surge represents an ever evolving and ever-expanding future. “This is just the beginning. Technology itself is improving every day, whether it’s getting smaller and more robust, or the capability is becoming more user friendly. This is just the beginning,” said Trader.

The Program Executive Office – Intelligence, Electronic Warfare and Sensors is at the forefront of technology and innovation when it comes to enhancing the lethality of Soldiers. While it is true technology is here to stay, the goal now is to find innovative ways to get smart technology into the hands of our warfighters in the most expeditious way possible. The TITAN program of record and pre-prototype are great examples of the U.S. Army leaning in — not just current technology initiatives — but the bright minds, talent and experience to improve upon, field and equip the best Army in the world.

By Ron Lee

Air Force to Establish New Squadron at Beale AFB

Saturday, March 30th, 2024

ARLINGTON, Va. (AFNS) —  

The Department of the Air Force selected Beale Air Force Base, California, as the home of a new Battle Management Control Squadron. 

The new mission will add 140 military authorizations at Beale AFB over the next few years with personnel expected to begin arriving in summer 2025.  

This is a vital step in the Department of the Air Force’s battle management modernization as the department desires to perform this function for multiple theaters simultaneously from a location outside the theater(s) of operations.  

The BMCS will integrate with the Common Mission Control Center at Beale AFB and perform battle management of manned and unmanned new and legacy aircraft and allow greater collaboration between information systems.  

The CMCC’s mission is to present integrated and fused multi-domain intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance data to decision makers by using artificial intelligence and machine learning to reduce human task load. It manages command and control productivity, shortens the task execution chain and reduces human-intensive communications.  

Secretary of the Air Force Public Affairs

Future Conflicts Demand Flexible and Mobile Command Posts

Friday, March 1st, 2024

SAVANNAH, Ga. — Army leaders understand that preparing for large scale combat operations will require commanders to lead on the move with the ability to disperse at a moment’s notice.

Leaders also understand that one size will not fit all for command posts under this new paradigm.

At the Army’s Network Technical Exchange Meeting (TEM) in December 2023 in Savannah, Georgia, a panel discussion on command post modernization unveiled plans for CPI2 Next, which is the latest in a series of efforts to modernize existing vehicle-based Command Post Integrated Infrastructure (CPI2) units and provide on-the-move command and control in anticipation of future combat scenarios.

The CPI2 program is integrating network and communications technologies into a variety of vehicle platforms, then fielding them incrementally to units for experimentation and feedback, which will inform future iterations.

While current iterations of integrated command post platforms have proved useful in the field during unit experimentation, a Limited User Test (LUT) with the 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division (1-2) at Joint Base Lewis McChord, Washington, conducted this past summer indicated a need for a more adaptable, configurable command post with greater disbursement capability. From this feedback, project managers identified two primary concerns regarding the use of existing Command Post Support Vehicles: a lack of integrated power and insufficient wireless network configuration.

“We have to be able to disperse in a moment’s notice, and anything requiring cables or wires that connect to immobile objects will put Soldiers in harm’s way,” said Lt. Col. Herb Gamble, product manager for CPI2.

To address these concerns, panelists discussed solutions currently identified and solutions they will be seeking from industry partners to meet the Army’s goal for a modular, scalable and survivable command post to support Army of 2030.

Beginning in March, CPI2 program integration teams will begin installing generators onto 1-2 SBCT CPI2-equipped vehicle platforms. These power sources will replace the micro grid initially tested as part of the LUT, which still required the vehicles to be tethered to a power source.

“These generators will open up the option for more rapid displacement and emplacement of mobile command posts each time the tactical operations center jumps to another location within the operational environment,” Gamble said.

Sometime this summer, these power-integrated platforms will accompany the unit to their National Training Center rotation, prior to deploying.

“This will be the first time on-the-move command post capabilities will be part of a combined training center rotation,” Gamble said.

To address the wireless capabilities needed for on-the-move missions, the Army will generate a Request for Information to industry to enhance or replace the current onboard WiFi, which works well in line-of-sight situations but will require more robust capabilities to meet Army command post directive to rapidly move and halt in just minutes.

At the same time, the program continues to innovate, and is currently conducting a pilot that integrates command post capabilities into a Joint Light Tactical Vehicle — this time including the Advanced Field Artillery Tactical Data System to enhance fire support missions on the move.

“We conducted an exercise with the Army’s Test Command this past fall to determine the ability of forward observers to initiate a call for fires missions to the command post headquarters,” said Lt. Col. Jonathan Judy, product manager for Network Integration and Modernization. “In the lab we validated we can do digital calls for fire on a Secure But Unclassified – Encrypted network, then verified those results in the field using real Soldiers and equipment.”

As the program shifts to its next iteration, called CPI2 Next, it will focus on including more flexible integrated command post capabilities.

“Commanders want to be able to have the modularity and the ability to change and adapt based on their mission set,” Gamble said. “No command post will conduct operations the same way, because based on your mission set and where you’re located, you’re going to want customized command post capabilities.”

Providing units with modular A-kits for their vehicles and mission-tailored B-kits for the Soldiers themselves will allow for optimal functionality without sacrificing ability to disperse. These kits contain communications devices that will be swapped out according to mission objectives, making them ideal for widespread dispersal.

“All mobile command post development should incorporate both new and existing technologies, including improved on-the move and voice command capabilities, which allows project managers to update existing units without fully sunsetting their equipment, making it a favorable both practically and fiscally,” Judy said.

The Army will continue to seek innovative solutions to address these and other mobile and flexible command post requirements via requests for information this fiscal year, including the potential for interoperability with Mission Partner Environment services in anticipation of combat operations with allies and partners.

“Make sure you give us your biggest and brightest ideas,” Gamble said to industry TEM 11 attendees. “We owe it to our Soldiers in arms.”

By Mollie Ryan, PEO C3T Public Affairs