Defense IT

Army creates on-board network for Abrams, Strykers

The Army is integrating sensors, weapons, computers, communications gear and display screens into its tactical and combat vehicles to lighten the load, streamline otherwise disconnected technologies and strengthen an ability to launch electronic attacks, service officials said.

The new “open architecture” on board the vehicles uses Ethernet technology to connect C4ISR systems including targeting, weapons and electronic attack applications.

The VICTORY effort, formally Vehicular Integration for C4ISR/EW Interoperability, is intended to lessen the need for multiple disparate GPS, sensor, display screen and communications “boxes” built into a single vehicle.  

The C4ISR and electronic warfare integration is aimed at correcting problems created by a “bolt-on” approach that puts multiple pieces of equipment on combat vehicles.

The Army plans to have this new architecture implemented on a wide range of vehicles by next year. VICTORY will be engineered into Joint Light Tactical Vehicles, Strykers, Abrams tanks and Bradley Fighting Vehicles, among others.

Aimed at improving what Army developers call “precision, navigation and timing (PNT),” VICTORY will also make combat vehicles more resistant to jamming and electronic attacks.

“Having a common architecture will let us share PNT with all the boxes on a platform so we only need to buy one or two receivers for that platform,” said Maj. Gen. David Bassett, the Program Executive Officer for Ground Combat Vehicles.

VICTORY provides a phased set of standard specifications with common terminology, systems, components and the interfaces needed to integrate C4ISR/EW mission equipment and platform applications, Army officials stated.

The technology includes a new, centralized “data bus-centric” design, sharable hardware components and software upgrades implemented independently of hardware adjustments. The program also integrates hardware and software to improve information assurance.

Last year, the Army demonstrated the VICTORY technology on a Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicle, or MRAP.

This 2015 assessment included the integration of the on-board computer systems, CREW electronic warfare devices, SINCGARS radios, Common Remotely Operated Weapons Systems for crew members to attack enemies from within the vehicle under armor.  Degraded Visual Environment sensors allow operators to see through dust, clouds, sand and other obscurants and Warfighter Information Network – Tactical, or WIN-T, a mobile SatCom network were also part of the integrated on-board systems.

 “This effort gives soldiers a …common set of tools and capabilities, allowing the Army to reduce soldiers' operational burden and providing better insight into logistics and maintenance needs…”an Army statement said.

About the Author

Kris Osborn is a former editor of Defense Systems.

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