During the last 30 years in the USSR, the United States and Russia, several automated control systems for combat operations of the Ground Forces (ACCS) were created - Maneuver, GCCS-A, ATCCS, FBCB2, ESU TZ and Andromeda-D. They had a different scope of implementation of the command and control functions, but they coincided in the general approach to automation.
These systems were created in the image and likeness of the organizational and management structure of the Land Forces. Being from a technical point of view, hardware and software systems, automated systems multiplied the shortcomings of the organizational and management structure:
- lack of horizontal communication between units of different types of troops;
- vulnerability of the entire system in case of failure of the upper level;
- reduced speed of information passing between departments of the same level, forced to communicate with each other through the upper level.
The development of systems was also carried out in a hierarchical sequence - first the functional composition of the upper level was implemented, then the middle level, and only then the lower level, with the priority of completeness of the implementation of functions determined in the same sequence. As a result, automated control systems were built according to the same type of centro-oriented scheme:
- center of automated control of the upper level;
- mid-level automated control centers;
- centers of automated control of the lower level.
As can be seen from the diagram, the fire control systems (LMS) were not included in the ASUV tanks, infantry fighting vehicles, self-propelled artillery, air defense / missile defense systems.
The development of ACCS was carried out when the development of the basics of command and control was lagging behind - communications. The creation of a multitude of multi-level automated control centers resulted in intensive information exchange between them, which significantly increased the need for bandwidth of communication channels. The situation was aggravated by the mobile nature of the lower level centers, which required a fundamentally new solution in the field of radio communications.
Initially it was clear that the information exchange will consist not only and not so much of voice communication, but will include data transmission, as well as graphic images and streaming video. Formats of digital, textual, graphic, and video information must be compatible with the onboard control systems of numerous types of weapons and tool reconnaissance. In this case, the method of information exchange in a combat situation must withstand the failure of part of transit nodes and communication channels. These circumstances imposed strict requirements for the unification of information exchange rules, which were not fully implemented in any ACCS.
This was due to improper goal-setting at the stage of developing concepts, setting goals and determining priorities for creating systems. Since the automated control centers were to be located at the level of the headquarters of military units, units and subunits, the goals and objectives were chosen based on the staff requirements for the ACCS functions:
- situational awareness of the operational-tactical situation;
- integrated planning of combat operations;
- simulation of combat operations before they start.
The acceleration of the decision-making process at the staff level had too little impact on reducing the response time to the changing operational and tactical situation of the entire military unit, unit or subunit.
Choosing the purpose of automatic control system
The purpose of creating an automated system should be to reduce the period of time between the moment of detection of the enemy and the moment of his destruction.
The ASCS should become an instrument for coordinating the actions of all combatants. The source of information should be reconnaissance complexes, information receivers - specialized automated control systems of the air defense / anti-missile defense systems and the control systems of combat vehicles / infantry.
The interaction of combatants must take place on a bilateral basis, "advanced unit - fire support unit" in real time (to the best include, including intelligence units). The main type of interaction is the transmission of the coordinates and the type of the target through the communication channel and the response fire effect on the target.
Responsibility for assigning targets according to their priority lies with the commander of the advanced unit, the responsibility for choosing the type and quantity of ammunition for their defeat is the commander of the support unit. The exception to this rule is the use as a fire support of the regular forces of an advanced unit, which are apart from the battle formations, or an unmanned / crewless combat vehicle, the weapon operator of which is actually the commander of the advanced unit.
In this regard, the automatic control system should be based on a terminal-oriented scheme:
- the full functionality of the automated command and control system should be implemented at the level of infantry terminals and the OMS of combat vehicles;
- the upstream automated control centers should use the capabilities of infantry terminals and the SLA of combat vehicles (separation level centers) or downstream centers (platoon level, company level, battalion level centers, etc.).
The ACCS structure takes the form of a set of local centers with coinciding functionality but limited competence. At the same time, in the informational sense, the automated command and control centers are an equal participant in the hostilities, along with the terminals of infantrymen and the JMA of combat vehicles. The exception to this rule arises only at the stage of planning combat operations, when all subordinate centers operate under the control of higher centers.
Setting tasks ACS
Despite the fact that the communication system should not be part of the automated control system, the development project of the latter should be coordinated with the development of a new communication system with high bandwidth and high fault tolerance.
In the military sphere, the main method of transmitting information is the HF and VHF radio communications. An increase in radio transmission capacity is achieved by switching to higher frequencies than those that are already used. The decimeter range of radio waves is used for cellular telephony. Therefore, for automatic control systems, you will need to use a centimeter radio wave with a frequency from 3 to 30 GHz (microwave communication). Radio waves of this range propagate within the direct line of sight, but are distinguished by strong attenuation when passing through vertical obstacles such as walls of buildings and tree trunks. To circumvent them, microwave communication repeaters must be placed in the air aboard a UAV. In order to minimize the darkened zones, the maximum angle of inclination of the radiation to the surface of the earth should not exceed 45 degrees.
To maintain a constant radio contact in the microwave communication network, it is required to abandon the existing trunk scheme “one base station - multiple subscriber radio transmitters” and go to the zonal scheme “multiple host stations - multiple subscriber radio transmitters”. Node stations - repeaters should be placed at the vertices of a topological network with triangular cells (cells). Each hub station must provide the following functions:
- channel switching at the request of subscribers;
- retransmission of signals between subscriber radio transmitters;
- retransmission of signals between network zones;
- retransmission of signals from / to stationary subscriber radio transmitters serving as gateways to the wired communication system;
- retransmission of signals from / to the satellite communication system.
Depending on the class of the UAV, the height of the nodal stations above the ground will be from 6 to 12 km. At the maximum angle of inclination of the radiation, the radius of the bond service will be in the same range of values. In order to overlap the service areas, the distance between the hubs should be halved, with each station being equipped with six emitters (by the number of zones converging in one top of the topological network) operating in different frequency bands of the same band. Thus, high fault tolerance of the network is achieved by sevenfold redundancy of nodal stations.
Additional degree of fault tolerance of microwave communications is provided by dislocating UAV repeaters only over their territory, covering network nodes using short-range ground-based air defense / anti-missile systems and using direct satellite communications of the same frequency range when conducting combat operations in the rear of the enemy. The air-based hubs do not cancel the use of short-range ground repeaters intended for use in the conduct of hostilities inside the premises with radiotight ceilings.
Noise immunity is achieved by using coding technology of communication channels in a broadband bandwidth in accordance with the CDMA standard, which differs in noise-like signal spectrum, support of dedicated data / voice channels or combining several channels for streaming video. The signals reflected from natural obstacles are summed with the main signal using multi-channel antennas of the UAV-repeater, which increases the noise immunity of the system. Communication with each subscriber is supported by at least two beams, allowing the subscriber to transfer between different nodes and zones of the network without loss of communication. The use of highly targeted radiation makes it possible to accurately determine the location of network subscribers.
Information protocols and formats
In the microwave communication system is proposed to use the network protocol IP. This protocol provides guaranteed delivery of information messages, consisting of separate packets, on any of the possible routes that pass through network nodes and connect two or more subscribers. Communication is interrupted only in case of failure of all network nodes. Information is transmitted in digital form.
Routers that control the composition of the network using the OSPF dynamic routing protocol should be used as switches at microwave nodes. The protocol supports automatic reconfiguration of zones, nodes and channels in case of failure of a part of routers.
In order to ensure the joint transmission of data, voice and video streaming, it is proposed to use MPLS technology based on the assignment of unified tags to information packets, regardless of the specialized protocol supporting the transfer of information of a certain type. Tags address information through the through channel and allow you to prioritize the transmission of various messages.
Specialized protocols are standard solutions tested on the Internet:
- TCP data transfer protocol;
- Voice over IP protocol;
- RTP streaming video transmission protocol.
It is proposed to use HTTP with the MIME extension as the data transfer protocol at the application level. Information formats include HTML (text), JPEG (stills), MID / MIF (map data), MP3 (sound) and MPEG (video).
Functional composition of automatic control systems
In addition to the main functions - ensuring situational awareness of the operational-tactical situation, integrated planning of combat operations and their simulation - the automated command and control system should provide additional functions:
- monitoring the interaction of advanced units with fire support units by monitoring the content of information exchange between them;
- correction of this interaction through the redistribution of fire support units;
- management of intelligence units not assigned to advanced units;
- management of fire support units not assigned to advanced units;
- interaction with fire support forces that are part of a higher military unit, unit or compound by transferring coordinates and types of targets.
Situational awareness should be provided by compiling information from the infantry of the advanced units, fire support units and intelligence units, as well as from upper-level ACCS. Summarized data on the operational-tactical situation is automatically distributed in the automated control system of a lower and higher level. The data received from the upper level ACCS is distributed to the lower level with a lesser degree of detail.
The planning of combat operations is carried out in the course of an iterative exchange of draft plans prepared in the lower, middle and upper level ACCSs with the adoption of a final decision at the middle level.
Simulation of combat actions based on data on operational-tactical situation should be made on an ongoing basis in real time with the issuance, at the request of projects, of short, medium and long-term plans for decision-making by the command of a subunit, unit or formation.
The structure of the automated command and control system is formed by infantry terminals, control systems for combat vehicles and automated centers. Each level of ground forces control has its own automated control centers. The management levels of the headquarters organization have the main and reserve / spare centers. Only one of these centers provides automated management, while the others serve as information replication centers.
Reservation of automated control centers is carried out according to the following scheme:
- when the main center is out of operation, one of the reserve centers performs its duties;
- when the last spare top level center is out of order, its duties are performed by the first lower level center (right up to the infantry terminal);
- upon disposal of the first center of the lower level, the duties of the center of the upper level are performed by the second center of the lower level, etc.
The infantry terminals and automated control centers at the subunit level are equipped with wearable equipment, the parts level centers with portable equipment, the combat vehicle control systems and the connection level centers with portable equipment. Wearable hardware is made in the form of a single module connected to an external antenna. Portable equipment consists of several modules, the dimensions of which provide for the center to be deployed on board a combat vehicle. The carrying equipment consists of several modules mounted in a metal container with an integrated air cooling system.
Terminals automated process control systems and control systems for combat vehicles
The infantry terminal is designed for individual equipment of privates, sergeants, officers and generals of the Land Forces. The terminal performs the functions of a subscriber microwave transceiver, computing and navigation devices, as well as an SMS weapons.
The terminal is made in the form of a pocket communicator with a sealed metal case, inside which are a processor, RAM, read-only memory, battery, radio modem, ports for connecting external antenna and information display device, wired communication line input and power supply connector. In addition, the communicator contains a receiver of the global satellite positioning system and a block of autonomous inertial positioning system.
The communicator is equipped with an external antenna in one of two options:
- omnidirectional whip antenna;
- a narrowly focused phased antenna array (HEADLAMP), forming a tracking radio beam in the direction of the microwave radio zone station or the satellite communications system orbit.
Whip antenna is installed directly into the port of the communicator and is designed for wireless communication inside the shielded room. Complete with a pin antenna and a low-power on-board microwave repeater, the communicator provides distributed work for the commanders of divisions and headquarters operators located at mobile command posts on board command and staff machines, helicopters and airplanes.
The HEADLIGHT is made in the form of a dome shell formed by a flexible printed circuit board, on the front side of which there are radiating elements, on the reverse side - a shielding metal coating. The dome shell is embedded inside the polymer helmet of an infantryman and is connected to the communicator using a coaxial cable. The HEADLIGHT is designed for mobile radio communications with automated control centers, other communicators and SMS of combat vehicles.
The tracking beam of the phased array allows an antenna to reduce the radiation power by an order of magnitude, to eliminate the radio-visibility of the transmitters and to provide for microwave repeaters the possibility of spatial selection of radio-rays and sources of interference created by the enemy using EW tools.
The information display device consists of projection glasses, ear speakers / microphones that transmit sound through the bone tissue of the skull, and a fiber optic cable connecting the communicator port with projection glasses. The port contains radiating and receiving optical matrices, as well as optoelectronic modulators. Projection glasses consist of a frame, protective lenses, prismatic projectors, external and internal lenses. Ear speakers / microphones contain optoacoustic vibrators. The image is transmitted in three ranges of the optical spectrum - visible from the matrix to the projectors, infrared from the matrix to the internal lenses and back, as well as thermal from the external lenses to the matrix. Sound is transmitted in the form of modulated optical radiation between modulators and vibrators.
The thermal image of the terrain, taken by external lenses and processed by the processor, is converted into the visible and projected on the inner surface of the protective lenses, including those with magnification. At the same time, the thermal image is combined with a digital topographic map stored in the permanent storage device to determine the coordinates and the distance to the targets. Tactical marks, reticle, virtual buttons, cursor, etc. are projected on the surface of the protective lenses. Infrared radiation, reflected from the pupils of the eyes, serves to position the cursor in the field of view of the glasses. The communicator is controlled by voice commands and hand gestures.
The communicator serves as the MSA of a portable weapon - assault and sniper rifles, machine guns, rocket and automatic grenade launchers. A weapon is aimed at a target by combining the line of sight of the sights with a virtual projection of this line, calculated by the processor, taking into account the coordinates, range and speed of the target.
The MSA of a combat vehicle consists of onboard surveillance devices, communications, computing and navigation equipment and PAR. Crew members are connected to the OMS via an internal wire line through unified communicators. Helmet projection visors are used in combination with ear speakers / microphones as information display devices. Outside the combat vehicle, a wireless microwave link is maintained using dome headlamps built into the crews' helmets.
Information security in communication channels should be provided using symmetric encryption using private keys, which are regularly replaced with new ones using asymmetric encryption using public keys.
Computer processors must have unique identification numbers that are taken into account when encrypting information in communication channels and allow you to block outgoing messages in case equipment falls into the hands of an adversary. Blocking outgoing messages does not exclude the analysis of their content by the electronic intelligence service.
Communicators must maintain a monitoring mode for their location (by direction finding of radiation) and the physical state of carriers of communicators (by controlling breathing with the help of vibrating microphones). If the communicator enters the enemy’s territory or if the carrier of the communicator loses consciousness, outgoing messages are also blocked.
Computer hardware must be produced on the domestic element base using certified imported components.
In order to minimize power consumption and heat dissipation of hardware, it must use multi-core processors and solid-state devices for permanent storage of information.
To protect against the effects of high-power electromagnetic pulses, the electronic equipment and external power supplies are placed in sealed metal enclosures with conductive cooling. In the antenna inputs are mounted fuses in the form of avalanche-span diodes. Radio frequency and power supply cables are shielded with metal braid. Wired communication lines are made of optical fiber.
Computer software must be developed in accordance with data transfer protocols and information presentation formats that meet international standards.
System software, including embedded input / output system, operating system, file system and database management system, should consist only of domestic software products in order to prevent unauthorized access to information, intercept control and disable computer hardware and weapons.
Application software may contain both domestic and imported components, subject to the supply of the latter with open source code and a description of the flowcharts of the algorithms used.