June 1, 2005 The network centric battlefield moved a step closer this week with the first live-fire testing of the Quick Reaction Unitary (QRU) Army Tactical Missile System (ATACMS) using a network centric integrated High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) launcher. If it sounds complex, that’s because it is, but the big idea is to save time when a time-critical target is identified in the battle space. The test went like this: an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) identified a Time Sensitive Target (TST), relaying the information to the proper system node in order to generate a "call-for-fire" message to a Battle Command Cell (BCC) prototype. The BCC prototype provides embedded battle command capabilities, including command and control, situational awareness and direct sensor feeds of target imagery. The UAV provided geographic location data to the BCC, which then ordered a fire mission for an ATACMS QRU off the network-integrated HIMARS launcher, significantly reducing the time to hit the target. The test proved that in those defining moments when seconds matter, a directly networked HIMARS firing ATACMS in the command and control structure will prove to be a considerable force multiplier.
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