Batllespace Tech

Next phase of Blue Force Tracking hits the ground running

Army Blue Force Tracking system

The JBC-P system provides satellite-linked data and battlefield chat rooms immediately on arrival.

The Army recently began testing the next phase of its Blue Force Tracking system called Joint-Battle Command Platform and officers involved in the training and testing exercises liare seeing good results.  “No matter what the temperature, rain, the distance - that was one system that endured,” Col. Thomas Gukeisen said in an Army release.

The JBC-P system provides soldiers immediately upon landing in a potentially hostile environment with reliable situational awareness and collaborative chat communications, rather than having them take the time to build a command post. The system is designed to allow soldiers a quick communication link during a fight prior to establishing a more robust command post.

Among its features, the JBC-P interface offers a Google-Earth like interface capable of viewing locations through precise zooming, icons that can pinpoint improvised explosive devices and instant messaging for medical attention. It is also has a faster satellite network that can securely encrypt data. A handheld version of JBC-P will also be available for those who dismount vehicles.   

"We can quickly get on chat, so everyone can collaboratively see what we are doing, quickly gain situational awareness, and we can adjust decisions,” Gukeisen said. “I see this as a significant revolution in how we conduct our network-based operations."

Falling within the scope of the Army’s Project Manager Mission Command, the JBC-P’s sister programs such as the Force XXI Battle Command Brigade and Below/Blue Force Tracking have been deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan. 

Last summer the Marines also conducted tests for the JBC-P system. Ultimately, JBC-P will serve the Army, Marine Corps and Special Operations Forces. 

During the recent Army tests, soldiers in the 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division had access to next generation tactical computers called Mounted Family of Computer Systems. These computer systems are vehicle-mounted and are capable of various mission command functions to be displayed on a single screen. The Army projects the JBC-P-equipped system to be deployed to its first unit in the second quarter of 2015.

About the Author

Mark Pomerleau is a former editorial fellow with GCN and Defense Systems.

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