The international Special Operations Forces community continues to turn towards more mobile Command and Control (C2) solutions in line with ongoing demand for internally transportable vehicles (ITVs) capable of ’Fly-Drive’ operations.
Speaking to Monch at the Special Operations Forces Innovation Network Seminar (SOFINS) at Camp de Souge, France, on 30 March, industry sources explained how European and NATO SOF units were paying increasing focus to such capabilities in line with more expeditionary missions which can see Special Operations Task Groups working in communications-deprived environments.
As an example, one undisclosed Tier 1 force component in northern Europe has already upgraded its fleet of Polaris Government and Defense MRZR 4x4 ITVs with a mobile C2 capability, while force elements from the Portuguese Army’s Centro de Tropas Operacoes Especiais (CTOE) or Special Operations Troops Centre are also in discussions to integrate a similar capability on board its fleet of Polaris’s MV850 4x4 All Terrain Vehicle.
Such a concept was exhibited at SOFINS by C4i Systems which showed the MV850 fitted with integrated BGAN satellite connectivity; Software Defined Radios; rugged tablet end user device for illustration of battle management system technology; mast-mounted electro-optical camera; as well the C-Reach modular computer providing a voice, video and data gateway, operating with BioDigitalPC 9 processor. The vehicle was also fitted with solar power recharging blankets and a Photonics Squad Power Manager (SPM) 622.
“The BioDigitalPC 9 provides a combined fully interchangeable and removable process and secure storage solution which allows users to adopt a modular approach to their tactical computing requirements without the need for signficant hardware change,” company literature reads.
“It is able to run any x 86 operating system including Windows, Windows Server, LINUX, CentOS, RHEL, Ubuntu and many others and is hot swappable,” it was added.
This solution allows a mobile headquarters element to not only command and control the tactical battlespace but also feed back live voice and video feeds back to permanent headquarters thousands of miles away if necessary.
Conversely, permanent headquarters are capable of listening to tactical radio channels, even though they might not be operating on SATCOM but instead Line of Sight or other alternatives such as Mobile Ad Hoc Networks (MANET).
The BioDigital PC 9 processor is capable of storing up to 120GB of data and provides a single point of contact for special operations teams seeking to either ‘zero’ data on the move if engaged and forced to deny vehicles; as well as hand over to tactical headquarters staff for immediate exploitation of intelligence gathered in the field.
“The future will see every tactical ground vehicle operating with a processor at some stage,” one source explained while highlighting interest from the US Special Operations Command.
C4i Systems have also developed a similar capability for an undisclosed special operations units in Saudi Arabia providing reach back from forward deployed tactical elements back to strategic headquarters components.