New battle command software undergoes testing

Joint Capabilities Release includes additional features

U.S. troops seeking to verify the position of friendly and hostile forces in ground combat eventually will be able to upgrade that information in seconds rather than minutes, according to the contractor developing the software.

Northrop Grumman Corp. has delivered an upgraded version of the Force XXI Battle Command Brigade and Below (FBCB2) software to the Army for formal testing, company officials today.

The upgraded software, called Joint Capabilities Release (JCR), offers a common FBCB2 platform that can be used by Army and Marine Corps forces, the officials said.

FBCB2 is a communications platform used by U.S. and coalition forces in Iraq and Afghanistan to determine the location of friendly and enemy units. More than 85,000 FBCB2 systems are installed in combat vehicles and helicopters.

When JCR is fielded with the new Blue Force Tracker-2 transceiver and network upgrade, it will be able to pinpoint friendly positions in seconds. JCR also includes new features such as a commercial joint mapping tool kit, Type 1 encryption for relaying classified information, and over-the-air, self-descriptive situational awareness.

Future JCR releases will include additional features such as open office file transfers, image downloads, chat and instant messaging.

About the Author

William Welsh is a freelance writer covering IT and defense technology.

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