Army convenes key parties to discuss software in modern weapons

A new “Software Solarium” aims to share information and strengthen the service’s focus on software dependent weapon systems.

The Army has established a new “Software Solarium” program to discuss and address the growing dependence of tanks, infantry carriers, radios, artillery and other weapons on software improvements. 

 “No matter what weapon system -- whether you're talking about a tank and the amount code such as software code that’s now resident in our main battle tank or our newest troop carriers -- they're all very software-defined because of the platforms that we've integrated into their systems,”. said Major General Bruce T. Crawford, Commander of Communications Electronics Command (CECOM). 

The Software Solarium II, which took place in early Feb. at Aberdeen Proving Grounds, Md., brought together Army, academic and industry leaders into a single forum to address growing challenges in software governance, policy, sustainment and cyber protections, the Army said in a statement.

Army leaders attending this most recent Solarium, an extension of an initial forum in Sept. of last year, included flag officers and program managers from Army modernization, acquisition, information technology and cyberspace arenas.

Crawford explained that software has increasingly played a central role in the maturation and combat effectiveness of weapon systems over the last 15 years.

“The capability that we have today in our formation, especially at the tactical level, is night and day, to be honest with you, compared to what we had in 2003,” he said.

Emphasizing that there is not really a weapon system of relevance on the modern battlefield that does not heavily draw from software components, Crawford said the evolution of software applications has changed tactics, techniques and procedures in combat.

“The industrial base that supports the Department of Defense has been using software to modernize, instead of focusing on just hardware as the mechanism by which they've been able to increase capability,” Crawford said.

Software modernization in an open-architecture environment allows the Army to quickly upgrade platforms and weapon systems as new threats emerge. Modern radar technologies, for example, are now being designed with common sets of standards so they can accommodate detection upgrades as threats change, Army weapons developers explained.

The C4ISR domain is among the areas most substantially affected by this dependence on software. For example, Crawford cited Army progression from mostly hardware-based SINCGARS radios to software-defined radios able to run multiple waveforms. 

A key dimension to the “Software Solarium” involves special meetings of senior Army leaders to help adjust to the rapid and consistent emergence of a software-reliant weapons arsenal.

Crawford explained that the cyber domain, including priorities such as cybersecurity, is inextricably linked to software.

“We brought in Army Cyber on the front side of this to have a conversation about how we can create more collaboration space between the development and sustainment of software and the actual cyber enterprise that's building capacity for the Army down to the tactical level,” he said.  

“Our intent is to use software to operationalize readiness down at the tactical level,” Crawford added. “It would probably be easier to identify those that don't have a software contingent to them.  If they don't have a software contingent to them, they're probably legacy and on their way out.”

Artillery is another significant way in which software advances have changed combat, Crawford said, pointing to the Army’s “Fires Center” at Fort Sill, Okla.

“We've gone to software-based technologies that provide a lot more capability in a given weapon system platform. That's a shift we're seeing across the Army.  It's really software that is enabling our warfighting capability,” Crawford said.

 “If you go back to pre-9/11, our systems were designed to fight a force-on-force type of conflict. As we faced a new enemy and new tactics, we had to enhance and adapt our software to fight an urban type of fight,” said Medhat Abuhantash, Director of the Software Engineering Center.

Thermal sights in Abrams tanks and other armored vehicles, digital force-tracking graphical mapping technologies such as Joint Battle Command-Platform and even small arms have growing pertinent software components. 

U.S. allies are now collaborating with this effort as well, Crawford said. He said he discussed software in personal visits to Australia, the United Kingdom, Germany and Korea within the last year.

X
This website uses cookies to enhance user experience and to analyze performance and traffic on our website. We also share information about your use of our site with our social media, advertising and analytics partners. Learn More / Do Not Sell My Personal Information
Accept Cookies
X
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Do Not Sell My Personal Information

When you visit our website, we store cookies on your browser to collect information. The information collected might relate to you, your preferences or your device, and is mostly used to make the site work as you expect it to and to provide a more personalized web experience. However, you can choose not to allow certain types of cookies, which may impact your experience of the site and the services we are able to offer. Click on the different category headings to find out more and change our default settings according to your preference. You cannot opt-out of our First Party Strictly Necessary Cookies as they are deployed in order to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting the cookie banner and remembering your settings, to log into your account, to redirect you when you log out, etc.). For more information about the First and Third Party Cookies used please follow this link.

Allow All Cookies

Manage Consent Preferences

Strictly Necessary Cookies - Always Active

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data, Targeting & Social Media Cookies

Under the California Consumer Privacy Act, you have the right to opt-out of the sale of your personal information to third parties. These cookies collect information for analytics and to personalize your experience with targeted ads. You may exercise your right to opt out of the sale of personal information by using this toggle switch. If you opt out we will not be able to offer you personalised ads and will not hand over your personal information to any third parties. Additionally, you may contact our legal department for further clarification about your rights as a California consumer by using this Exercise My Rights link

If you have enabled privacy controls on your browser (such as a plugin), we have to take that as a valid request to opt-out. Therefore we would not be able to track your activity through the web. This may affect our ability to personalize ads according to your preferences.

Targeting cookies may be set through our site by our advertising partners. They may be used by those companies to build a profile of your interests and show you relevant adverts on other sites. They do not store directly personal information, but are based on uniquely identifying your browser and internet device. If you do not allow these cookies, you will experience less targeted advertising.

Social media cookies are set by a range of social media services that we have added to the site to enable you to share our content with your friends and networks. They are capable of tracking your browser across other sites and building up a profile of your interests. This may impact the content and messages you see on other websites you visit. If you do not allow these cookies you may not be able to use or see these sharing tools.

If you want to opt out of all of our lead reports and lists, please submit a privacy request at our Do Not Sell page.

Save Settings
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Cookie List

A cookie is a small piece of data (text file) that a website – when visited by a user – asks your browser to store on your device in order to remember information about you, such as your language preference or login information. Those cookies are set by us and called first-party cookies. We also use third-party cookies – which are cookies from a domain different than the domain of the website you are visiting – for our advertising and marketing efforts. More specifically, we use cookies and other tracking technologies for the following purposes:

Strictly Necessary Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Functional Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Performance Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Social Media Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Targeting Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.