Smart phones prepare for battle

Army Product Manager Command, Control, Communications, Computers Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance On-the-Move (PM C4ISR OTM) is scheduled to conduct the exercise that has become the Army’s largest C4ISR and networking technology demonstration, Event 10, in June.

To understand how handheld devices will be integrated into the larger E10 exercise, contributing editor Barry Rosenberg spoke recently with Jason Sypniewski, branch chief of PM C4ISR OTM's Integrated Event Design and Analysis branch.

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DS: What’s the thinking behind the demonstration of handheld devices during E10?

Sypniewski: Handheld technology is pervasive in our day-to-day life and is something that most 19- to 25-year-old soldiers are familiar with. If we can integrate it into a tactical environment, the technology becomes an extension of them and ultimately a force multiplier.

We're looking to see how we can best integrate this technology. To do so, the various handheld devices being brought to C4ISR OTM E10 will be employed to support dismounted soldier operations during the capabilities assessments in a relevant environment phase of the event. We'll assess the challenges and concerns and provide feedback to the technology providers on how best to mitigate risk for those challenges and concerns.

DS: What are the engineering and technical challenges associated with handheld and on-the-move capabilities?

Sypniewski: There are various challenges associated with integrating handheld devices into a system-of-systems architecture. Physically, there are challenges with size, weight and power and how to integrate the devices onto a soldier's kit without impacting how they perform their mission.

Technically, there are challenges with how to get dismounted voice and data into the larger network in a manner that is consist with required information exchange requirements amongst all the systems in the architecture. Issues with range and throughput always come in to play in dismounted operations, as well.

DS: Describe for us the ground and intelligence role that handheld devices will play during E10.

Sypniewski: The C4ISR OTM E10 architecture is focused at the system-of-systems level, so all systems and capabilities employed will be integrated together in one single, integrated architecture, and, depending on the objectives of a specific activity and the information exchange requirements, they will have the ability to communicate with one another.

The dismounted level will be integrated with the mounted level, which will include intelligence components at the platform level and within fixed facilities like the [Tactical Operations Center]. There will be various sensor platforms deployed during C4ISR OTM E10, as well as a sensor fusion and intelligence data dissemination capability provided by [Distributed Common Ground System-Army].

About the Author

Barry Rosenberg is editor-in-chief of Defense Systems. Follow him on Twitter: @BarryDefense.

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