Military Review

FBCB2 US tactical-level automated command and control system (part of 2)

8. Means of communication

I repeat that the communication between the AICs installed on vehicles is supported by two communication systems: the TI (Tactical Internet) information network, using EPLRS and SINGARS radio communication systems, and the Inmarsat mobile satellite communication system (PSC-5 stations Spitfire 225-400 MHz band). At the same time, to ensure satellite communications in motion, the control points of the reconnaissance units and the brigade's command center machine are equipped with special stabilized satellite dishes

FBCB2 US tactical-level automated command and control system (part of 2)

VHF radio stations installed on the HMMWV

HV radio stations and data transmission equipment (ADF) of the range installed on the car HMMWV

KP brigade communicates with higher-level controls and KP of neighboring brigades either through a small regional communications center (CS) in the Enhanced MSE "Advanced MSE" public network, which has a grid structure and asynchronous delivery mode switches, or JNN communication system. Communication systems FBCB2, located on the crew of the brigade, with automated workplaces in the units of the brigade is carried out via radio channels through TRT EPLRS and radio station SINCGARS SIP.

The picture shows one of the brigade communications company’s HMMWV machines with communications equipment installed on it. On the roof you can see the antennas of radio stations of the microwave range to provide communication with the wearable complexes of the system.

The planning, configuration and reconfiguration of the network in the brigade-battalion link is carried out under the control of the ISYSCON system software (integrated systems management software, version 4).

The data in the communication networks connecting the AWS of the FBCB2 system is transmitted under the control of IP protocols adapted in accordance with the requirements and conditions of operation of the radio communication networks in the tactical control unit. Within the command brigade of the brigade and battalion (when placed on site), all communications and system means are interconnected in a LAN using wired means.
KP crews of the brigade are interconnected and with the regional communication center of the Enhanced MSE system fiber-optic communication line (FOCL) with a bandwidth of 100 Mbps. The regional computer network, covering the command post of the brigade and the battalions, is built on the basis of the NTDR radio stations and the JNN communication terminals. In addition, NTDR radios provide redundant communication links for the “brigade and above” control link.

VHF digital multichannel station unit

Radio stations, data transmission devices and GPS receiver antenna used in the system

Directional Antenna Deployment

9. Soft

The software (software) of the FBCB2 system is its key element.
The FBCB2 application software includes the Enhanced Battle Command (EMC) software package, which is a RAM-resident program and, together with other application software, provides interaction between the processor unit and the display unit, as well as general processes of the computer operation.

The EMU software package performs the functions of managing the database, communication, processing and displaying the combat situation maps, processing messages to ensure the operation of the application software interfaces, and the interfaces of the transport and network layer of the Tactical Internet network. The EMU software package in each CMU of the command post communicates through the local network with the switchboard switchboard, and through the switchboard - with the Internet controller of the switchboard machine.

All computer platforms use the same set of application software. The AN / UYK-128 computer processor unit, interfaced with the Internet controller, interacts with it under the control of the TCP transmission control protocols and the UDP user data protocol.

The main window with the display of the topographic base and the location of the object (tactical sign in the center of the screen)

The user interface of the automated workplace (AWS) of the system operator is represented by a "desktop" with icons that is displayed on the liquid crystal touch screen. The system software provides each level of control with a single picture of the tactical situation of the battlefield in two echelons (upper and lower), as well as adjacent formations (right and left). This ensures the timeliness of providing information about the situation as a whole, the position of its forces and enemy troops, as well as attached and interacting units. Touching the pictogram with the stylus (hand), you can display a map of the current combat situation with the location of your enemy forces and forces. Information on the map is updated on a time scale close to real.

In the FBCB2 system, the variable message text format (VMF) is used for sending and receiving information, regardless of the recipient's identity as the sender. Currently, the VMF format is approved as the main one for sending text messages in the e-mail system of the ABC supervisor. In addition, the rapid distribution of digital maps and video images of the terrain and their scaling is ensured.

The user interface allows you to prepare in a automated mode a variety of formalized reports relating to the issues of logistics, medical evacuation, notification of a radiation-biological and chemical attack, to prepare and transmit a brief text and graphic message about the observed actions of the enemy.

Displays the security status of the medical platoon 1 battalion 32 infantry regiment. (All positions - 0% security)

The operator workstation FBCB2 can choose various methods and scales for displaying a digital map or an aerial photograph (video image) of an area with a display of a part of a unified (general) picture of a tactical situation scaled for a given operator, scaled to the appropriate level of control.

Display of a tactical situation on the background of an electronic map of the area.

Maps of different scale and with a personal background allow you to see the location of each vehicle in the brigade or only the vehicles of its platoon or company. In addition, other data of a tactical situation can be displayed on a digital map - the deployment of rear units, minefields, security corridors, etc. Such a mapping of the situation data allows you to quickly navigate the terrain and in the situation at night or in conditions of limited visibility, as well as to achieve a positional advantage over the enemy.

Information about the combat situation, for example, the location of the enemy, is entered by the squad leader into the system and via the SINCGARS ASIP radio station via the Internet controller enters the tactical radio terminal (TRT) of the EPLRS platoon or company for further distribution in the network.

Each ground vehicle of the brigade transmits to the FBCB2 network its position data obtained using the Navstar system.
In addition, on many platforms there are EPTs TPT systems, which also automatically determine their own location on the basis of measuring the difference in the travel time of radio signals. The software automatically selects from these two sources the most qualitatively prepared data on the location of TRT.

Examples of displaying the tactical situation and the position of objects against the background of aerial photographs

If dense foliage, meteorological conditions, terrain or other factors interfere with receiving the signal from the Navstar satellites, the position data obtained from the multifunctional EPLRS system is used.

In general, the FBCB2 system software in the “team and below” link provides the following tasks:
- the provision of constantly updated as of the current time information about the combat situation, condition and action of its troops and enemy forces, filtered by the command link, level and location of the subscriber;
- determining the geographic location of the subscriber (if he is in the air, the altitude of the flight is also determined);
- display on the monitor screen tactical situation;
- compilation and distribution in an automated mode in electronic format of formalized messages and confirmations of the receipt of messages, orders and instructions, requests for fire support, target designation and orders for firing, warning signals, operational reports;
- the formation and imposition on the electronic map of the combat situation of the elements of the terrain, obstacles, intelligence data, operational standards, geometric data, schemes - applications to the combat orders;
- the exchange between the components of the FBCB2 ACS and other elements of the ABCS ACS in semi-automatic mode with selected data that are critical for the performance of the combat mission.

From other subsystems of the ABCS ACS, the FBCB2 system electronically receives the following data, which are important for solving a combat mission:
- from the automated command and control system for the army corps logistics (CSSCS) - location of supply points;
- from the ACS by the actions of the formations, units and subunits of the army corps (MCS) - combat orders and diagrams - annexes to combat orders;
- from the ACS by field artillery fire (AFATDS) - reports of fire support;
- from the ACS for processing and analyzing intelligence data - data with intelligence results;
- from the air defense system automated control system (AMDPCS) - data of the air situation, including warnings about the threat of an air attack;

The FBCB2 system, in turn, transmits the following data to the ABCS ACS:
- in the CSSCS ACS - generalized information on the status of material and technical supply to the company level;
- in the MCS ACS - situational awareness data and the geographical location of the SV and army units aviation (in the air);
- in ASAS ACS - data on situational awareness and geographic location of the Ground Forces units and army aviation (in the air), as well as intelligence reports;
- in AFATDS ACS - applications for fire support and reports on the results of fire support.

The picture of the tactical situation is constantly updated, and using the settings of dynamic filters, without operator intervention, is displayed on the FBCB2 screens as a battle map. Many automatic functions minimize the need for the operator to enter data or commands via the keyboard. Any operator can contact any serviceman of the brigade on the task being solved by him, and not on the position in the network.

However, the most serious drawback of the system is the fact that the situation and location of the brigade link objects and below, displayed by means of FBCB2 software, cannot be displayed by means of higher instance software without their prior processing manually.

The screenshots below show the position of objects in the area of ​​the airport of Baghdad, displayed by means of FBCB2 software and means of ACCS of a higher instance (possibly, 4 control md).

Displaying the location of individual objects (combat and other equipment) of the brigade link and below, using the FBCB2 software against the background of the aerial photograph

Pay attention to the different interface of the programs used to display the tactical situation:

Display of the tactical situation (the position of units) against the background of the aerial photograph near the airport of Baghdad using software tools used by the senior authority after the manual data processing.

10. Perspectives

To stop at what Americans have achieved is a bad form.
Therefore, at present, efforts are being made in the US Army and the Marine Corps to comprehensively improve situational awareness, down to the level of the detachment commander (individual soldier). At the same time, those systems hardware complexes are being improved that are planned to be installed on transport and combat platforms, including more advanced ones (compared to the HMMWV machine family) in the images below:

According to American experts, new hardware and software systems should provide timely, adaptable services of command, control and situational awareness (С2) for all levels of tactical level management, which will expand the possibilities of using tactical units.

In addition, they must improve the effectiveness of combat and reduce the risk of losing control due to a high level of information protection, rapid system recovery and comprehensive compatibility within a single information space, including with control points above the brigade. The system differs from the previous software version with more advanced network services and a convenient user interface.
At the same time, several versions of wearable hardware-software systems are tested at the same time (in the pictures below).
In addition, the next generation of software is being installed, which is installed on wearable platforms that are identical in functionality to the personal digital assistants smartphones. The Joint Battle Command-Platform (JBC-P) software is another upgrade of the Force XXI Battle Command Brigade and Below software.

The goal of the implementation of the Joint Battle Command-Platform is to achieve complete informational interaction between aviation, ground combat vehicles, soldiers in the combat formations of subunits, sea-based platforms and higher-level control systems. JBC-P is the basis for achieving interoperable combat unit compatibility.

Currently, system developers are experiencing various options for computer wearable platforms. Work on choosing the best option will last until November 2012 of the year.

Below are a few of the wearable versions of hardware and software systems and information display tools from various manufacturers.

In addition to this work, the US Marine Corps has planned the deployment and deployment of a portable, personalized system known as Command and Control Compact Edition (C2CE), which is essentially a software application for Windows Mobile wireless gadgets and provides soldiers with navigation and intelligence information. The system also allows the commander to observe and edit the general tactical situation (common tactical picture), but unlike JBC-P, which includes hardware, software and network solutions, C2CE is only an application program for smartphones and handheld computers. As stated, both systems will be fully information compatible.

Having assessed the direction of development of these systems as promising, many US companies, on their own initiative, began to develop secure personal and mobile computers. For example, Lockheed Martin announced at the beginning of June 2010, the development of a protected tactical personal computer (Tactical Digital Assistant) for field units. The computer must be suitable for installing both FBCB2 software and JBC-P applications and allow processing and transfer of secret information in the network of tactical units. Computer and network performance should be sufficient to stream video and process information from tactical sensors.
As for the interaction of the FBCB2 system with other US Armed Forces, solving the problem of practical implementation of the key provisions of the "network-centric" concept of "managing combat operations on the basis of a single information and communication space" with each other information and computer networks of different scale - from local to global, with high mobility, bandwidth and speed deployment.
A unified information and communication system in the US Armed Forces is created taking into account centrally developed plans for the formation of an organizational structure, hardware and software based on the technological achievements of the commercial sphere and adapted for use in adverse environmental conditions, both in command and on board and auxiliary platforms. According to the views of American military scientists, the fulfillment of the above requirements should lead to the formation of such a new operational-strategic concept, as the "information sphere of the theater of operations". which takes the form of a network of networks, "comprehensive, completely inseparable, covering the entire space from the surface of the Earth to the cosmos."

However, for all tactical level control systems, a critical issue in solving this problem remains the question of bandwidth of communication channels.
However, the implementation of this global task must ensure in full:
- distribution of data by tactical situation;
- improving navigation capabilities, the accuracy of determining the geographical location;
- coordination of the actions of the forces, clearly denoting the intent, the intentions of the commander and the maneuver scheme;
- Improving management of logistics / material use;
- the ability of the technical means of the control system to operate in motion;
- better integration of various technical means of intelligence (sensors) into the complex of technical support of the control system;
- reducing the likelihood of their own troops hitting with fire;
- designation of subsequent goals (tasks);
- concentration of effort / fire;
- improved combat planning;
- the addition of additional funds that can be used in the development and decision-making.
In conclusion, it should be noted that the US Army command highly appreciates the results of the use of automated control and communication systems in conflicts of the late XX - early XXI century and is interested in their further improvement by creating a unified infrastructure that will significantly improve the interaction of controls at all levels, improve the quality of their commanders decisions and bring them to subordinates, to ensure the achievement of overwhelming superiority over any opponent.

In preparing the material of the article information was used sites:
Articles from this series:
FBCB2 US tactical-level automated command and control system (part of 1)
FBCB2 US tactical-level automated command and control system (part of 2)
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  1. il grand casino
    il grand casino 27 August 2013 10: 10
    Thanks for the article ... overseas "partners" have come up with a lot of things ...
    1. KG_patriot_last
      KG_patriot_last 27 August 2013 11: 05
      I would not say that this is a lot ... Of course, there were many private problems during the development, but the task was actually to ensure communication with all tactical units of the army, from the detachment and higher ...
      1. KG_patriot_last
        KG_patriot_last 27 August 2013 11: 12
        For example, you can cite a topvar site as an example:

        They succeed, someone writes an article, others read, some comment or even correct, put additional photos or even videos ... And everyone sees who he is talking to, where he is (conditionally), rank and so on ... Well and of course, the most important thing is the imposition of a tactical situation on the map, I did not find an analogy ...

        And we have a paper newspaper. Someone wrote until they deliver it through the signalmen, until you get a review, while they edit it, and so on and so forth ...

        In general, radio-voice communication against different formats: voice-photo-video-text
      2. Mirrors
        Mirrors 27 August 2013 13: 03
        The task actually does not come down to communication at all. A data transmission network, which is based on communication systems, is just a kind of mail, a transport system. The task is reduced to the timely receipt of information from various sources, its processing of information, presentation. The result is generally a different quality of control, when forces and means are used efficiently and quickly, a qualitatively new level of interaction is created. Decisions are made more reasonably and quickly, combat orders and orders are communicated to almost every soldier quickly and accurately, indicating the mission, the location of their forces and the forces of the enemy.
      3. Geisenberg
        Geisenberg 28 August 2013 00: 06
        Quote: KG_patriot_last
        I would not say that this is a lot ... Of course, there were many private problems during the development, but the task was actually to ensure communication with all tactical units of the army, from the detachment and higher ...

        A lot, actually. It was necessary to sort everything out and to distinguish the essential, then put it into fractions - where the software is where the hardware is and so on, bring the information into a digestible form suitable for work and quick comprehension. The task here is not so much in the development of a communication channel as in the classification of objects with the highlighting of their main properties. I would not say that this is particular. If God forbid, Amers slap an expert system capable of making more or less meaningful decisions, then consider all of us kabirzdets, you can put on a shroud and crawl to the cemetery. After that, their army will automatically turn into an army of robots led by robots and a global non-nuclear war of American robots against the whole world will begin. What are they striving for. So, the work carried out is actually titanic, really worth the money that fell off for it and even more (if we compare, for example, with an airplane that does not fly yet).

        something like
  2. crambol
    crambol 27 August 2013 11: 12
    I wonder what ours captured in Georgia? And why did the Pentagon so hysterically demand that the staff cars be returned, not realizing that the TROPHIES did not return?
    1. Geisenberg
      Geisenberg 28 August 2013 00: 09
      Quote: crambol
      I wonder what ours captured in Georgia? And why did the Pentagon so hysterically demand that the staff cars be returned, not realizing that the TROPHIES did not return?

      Very expensive espionage equipment, scanners of the radio frequency, vision systems, probably some of the means of information protection ...

      the little things in general ...
  3. Recon
    Recon 27 August 2013 12: 00
    and after all it’s creepy from such news, especially if you discard all the gossip about insecurity, lack of integrity, that this is all easily incapacitated, and so on. all these problems can be solved for designers, and over time they will be solved, especially the main one - autonomy from the energy source.
  4. MAG
    MAG 27 August 2013 12: 03
    Beauty in a word. And we have the leadership of the battle going like this - Mikhalych take those two. He got away and walked around those bushes and all in plain text and with obscenities)) Often they put either Tatars or Chuvashs on the radio stations and you won’t understand what sort of ZAS they are talking about.
  5. yanus
    yanus 27 August 2013 13: 34
    The system is not bad, and of course, this would not hurt our army. The truth confuses a number of things. If there are no problems with the "Papuans", then with a serious opponent how she will lead herself an interesting question.

    1. Banal seizure of one of the terminals and access to information about the location of enemy troops. Only have time after that to reset the coordinates to "Grad". Of course, there may be access passwords and so on, but you can "politely ask" the terminal operator to log in.
    Of course, it is possible to differentiate the levels of access to information. For example, display limited information on higher-level units, but what about "awareness" then?

    2. Work in standard Internet protocols, albeit in a closed network. Honestly, I thought that for such systems they make their own protocols. And in standard protocols and solutions are standard - spam terminals, for DDOS server))). Of course, not everything is so simple, but standard protocols greatly simplify the solution to such problems.

    3. Standard operating systems. Windows 95 / NT is a blow below the waist)) I have nothing against such systems, they are reliable, undemanding but ... yes, even schoolchildren can write viruses for them. It is enough to get a couple of terminals to start writing viruses and to think over options for downloading them.

    4. Information about the location of the troops. Suppose the coordinates are determined via GPS, but these coordinates should be "reset" to higher units. And do it often enough. If there are enough low-power transmitters inside the tank platoon, then a more powerful signal is needed when communicating with higher units. The distances are stupidly longer. Accordingly, how will the enemy electronic reconnaissance react to such "blinking"?

    5. Reliability of communication. In terms of signal encryption, I think there is practically no chance to crack it. But here is the signal transmission itself ... If you have a couple of subscribers, this is one thing, but if you have hundreds of them, then the frequency change, etc., etc. is very complicated.

    The opinion, of course, is superficial - but such questions arose immediately after reading. I hope our Ministry of Defense will not go for normal salaries for specialists, so that they find all the "bottlenecks" and find methods of counteraction.
    1. Mirrors
      Mirrors 27 August 2013 19: 38
      Confused by another - I served a long time, was engaged in control systems in the fleet. They were implemented with difficulty, the commanders tried to do everything the old fashioned way. And then the fleet was ahead of other types of the Armed Forces in this matter. It seems to me that over the past years, the attitude towards ACS as toys in the troops has not changed at all. After all, the question is not about the creation of ACS, the question is about the accumulation of experience in their use, which is not happening. They will show the big bosses the exercises with the use of automated control systems by the troops, and they themselves will grab the telephone receiver and give obscene words on it "combat orders." You can rivet a lot of tanks, aircraft, ships, but calmly lose in the organization of command and control. This is dangerous.
      1. Geisenberg
        Geisenberg 28 August 2013 00: 11
        Quote: Spiegel
        It seems to me that over the past years, the attitude to ACS as a toy in the army has not changed at all.

        And there is. This is solved in an elementary way - the cocks that relate to ACS as toys are dismissed, and the others master computer literacy in an orderly manner. There would be a technique, and work with it will force.
    2. Geisenberg
      Geisenberg 28 August 2013 00: 19
      Quote: yanus
      The truth confuses a number of things. If there are no problems with the "Papuans", then with a serious opponent how she will lead herself an interesting question.

      All of the above is the place to be. Just do not complicate. Nobody will decrypt the traffic - they will knock down the satellite, put interference on the battlefield, suppress the laser communication with smoke, transmitters will cover them with anti-radar missiles, emit radiation from each individual infantryman and soak it in a sartir, etc. ...

      That is, this system is good only in the event of a war with the Papuans who are not equipped with similar equipment and means of suppression ... as is the case with Iraq, for example. For example, it will not drive against us because it will be pushed with adequate opposition.
      1. roial
        28 August 2013 13: 02
        Quote: Geisenberg
        Nobody will decrypt the traffic - they will knock down the satellite

        When was the last time exercises on the destruction of space objects? Saying is easier than doing, I'm not even sure what Russia can do.

        Quote: Geisenberg
        put obstacles on the battlefield

        First, you need to open the communication system, determine the operating frequencies and algorithms of the stations, and after that purposefully press the communication system, and not just jam the entire airwaves with interference, according to the principle "neither to myself nor to people."

        Quote: Geisenberg
        laser communication suppressed by smoke

        Something new, I heard about the development of "laser communication" between satellites, but in the troops ... ??? Well, how are you going to put a dim curtain in a vacuum ????

        Quote: Geisenberg
        repeaters will be covered with anti-radar missiles

        How do you imagine this ??? The cost of the relay is 500-800 bucks, and the missiles are several tens of millions of dollars, the number of repeaters in the brigade is several tens of pieces - do not go broke ??

        Quote: Geisenberg
        on radiation will infringe on each individual infantryman

        Who will pinch him ??? After all, you have already hammered the airwaves with interference, how are you going to direct "oppressors" to it ???

        Quote: Geisenberg
        For example, it will not drive against us because it will be pushed with adequate opposition.

        Actually, neither Russia nor other countries of the former USSR at the moment have anything to oppose to this system, not to mention opening it and suppressing it (well, except for carpet bombing and the use of nuclear weapons)
        1. yanus
          yanus 29 August 2013 11: 12
          Quote: roial

          First, you need to open the communication system, determine the operating frequencies and algorithms of the stations, and after that purposefully press the communication system, and not just jam the entire airwaves with interference, according to the principle "neither to myself nor to people."

          If the connection provides the opponent with overwhelming advantages, then completely blocking the air is not such a bad idea. Evens the odds.
          In addition, by completely clogging the air, you can leave small "windows" that can be "opened" for a short while at different times in order to provide minimal communication for your troops.