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Seriously ruggedised battlefield computer


January 20, 2004

The US Army is digitising the battlefield to such an extent, that it has awarded an indefinite delivery/indefinite quantity contract valued at approximately US$100 million for the supply of DRS Technologies rugged Applique Computer Systems for the U.S. Army's Force XXI Battle Command.

The US Army already has over 9000 DRS FBCB2s which incorporate advanced digital information processing and networking for improved combat support, real-time command and control, and enhanced operability and situational awareness throughout the military's force structure. Under the new contract, the FBCB2 will complete transition to full-rate production.

FBCB2 is focused on the development of a digital battle command information system designed to provide commanders, leaders and soldiers, from brigade to individual soldier and across all the battlefield functional areas, with improved information for command and control and enhanced situational awareness.

Installed on more than 40 different platform types, these systems support the Army's Blue Force Tracking requirements, which include beyond line-of-sight reporting and tracking, as well as significant improvements in vertical and horizontal information integration for incorporation into the Army's overall battlefield visualization efforts.

Incorporating the latest developments in digital information processing and networking, the FBCB2 system provides improved combat support, real-time command and control capabilities, enhanced interoperability and situational awareness throughout the force structure at the soldier, weapons and platform levels, assuring that U.S. armed forces keep pace with advanced technology developments of the 21st century. Interoperability with external command and control and sensor systems provides a seamless flow of battle command information.

The system is intended to support lower-echelon battle command tactical mission requirements, such as real-time situational awareness, target identification and graphical combat area displays.

The situational awareness component will collectively display the geographical location of all weapons, platforms, soldiers, command posts and other facilities and will be used in conjunction with the Army's Tactical Internet (TI), a seamless Internet connection, for ease in communication.

The TI interfaces with the Army Tactical Command and Controls System (ATCCS), collects information from both the operation centre and the individual units and then disseminates it through FBCB2 computers for improved situational awareness.

About the Author
Mike Hanlon Mike grew up thinking he would become a mathematician, accidentally started motorcycle racing, got a job writing road tests for a motorcycle magazine while at university, and became a writer. As a travelling photojournalist during his early career, his work was published in a dozen languages across 20+ countries. He went on to edit or manage over 50 print publications, with target audiences ranging from pensioners to plumbers, many different sports, many car and motorcycle magazines, with many more in the fields of communication - narrow subject magazines on topics such as advertising, marketing, visual communications, design, presentation and direct marketing. Then came the internet and Mike managed internet projects for Australia's largest multimedia company, Telstra.com.au (Australia's largest Telco), Seek.com.au (Australia's largest employment site), top100.com.au, hitwise.com, and a dozen other internet start-ups before founding Gizmag in 2002. Now he writes and thinks. All articles by Mike Hanlon
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