Systematic developed a new Variable Message Format (VMF) Gateway for its SitaWare Headquarters command-and-control (C2) software.
The new capability is available as an add-on module and provides an interface that enables VMF track data to work across a variety of formats, automatically exchanging Blue and Red pictures.
VMF Gateway leverages work conducted by Systematic in conjunction with the Australian Army’s Land Network Integration Centre (LNIC). That project saw a VMF Capability Technology Demonstrator (CTD) established and which could move information between SitaWare Headquarters and a number of the Australian Army’s systems.
Initial testing of the VMF CTD supported 15,000 entities and subsequently grew to 25,000 – a scale that is representative of a coalition and multinational environment.
A similar setup to that of the VMF CTD was in place for the Joint Warfighter Assessment 18 at the Grafenwoehr and Hohenfels training centres in Germany. There, members of the ‘Five Eyes’ intelligence alliance could observe the full common operational picture from across the event. The demonstrator fed into SitaWare Headquarters and other C2 and situational awareness (SA) systems.
The gateway enables users to seamlessly convert VMF data to and from Multilateral Interoperability Programme (MIP), NATO Friendly Force Information (NFFI), Over-The-Horizon Gold (OTH-Gold), and Link 16 formats.
“SitaWare Headquarters is ideally suited to providing the interface between VMF and other NATO/US data formats,” explains Morten Juhl Bødker, Systematic’s product manager for the software. “Nowadays coalition operations are the norm, as such, effective interoperability is a must and can mean the difference between mission success and failure. SitaWare Headquarters is operationally proven and its open architecture provides inherent capability growth and adaptability.”
In the case of the Australian Defence Force the VMF Gateway capability is enabling the service to better link with other ‘Five Eyes’ members and with NATO networks. As its alliance is fundamentally with the US, Australia decided to follow the VMF protocol for near real-time SA, however, the Australian military regularly conducts missions alongside NATO members and therefore requires the ability to effectively interoperate.