How Army’s new Battlefield Command System will work

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A revolutionary new Battlefield Command System (BCS) that will change the way the Australian Army fights was launched in Canberra recently.

Director Land C3 Systems Program Officer Colonel Mick Toohey said the systems delivered under the Land 200 Program would be a “real game changer for Army”.

“The BCS will enable Army combat commanders to make smarter, faster and safer decisions – smarter decisions by having shared, real-time situational awareness – faster decisions via the rapid distribution of the right data to the right people at the right time – and safer decisions by reacting quickly to automatic alerts and blue-force tracking, reducing the chance of fratricide,” he said.

Colonel Toohey said the BCS comprised two subsystems – a Battle Management System (BMS) and a Tactical Communications Network (TCN).

“BMS enables commanders to monitor, direct and review operations in real time,” he said.

“Digital maps can be overlayed with combat data, including messages, orders and blue- and red-force tracks that are updated constantly, either automatically or manually by operators and or staff.

“Software will be enhanced to support simultaneous, collaborative planning by larger numbers of staff in brigade- and divisional-level headquarters.”

Colonel Toohey said the TCN was a secure, mobile communications infrastructure that supported the BMS data and other combat systems data, such as the Army field artillery tactical data system, and also provided voice services.

“At the heart of the TCN are the Harris AN/PRC 158 radios.

“These are state-of-the-art, highly secure, multiband and multichannel radios,” he said.

“In the past, one green box equalled one radio channel.

“The 158 radio provides two channels in one box, significantly reducing the space and power required to integrate the radio into the vehicles.

“The multiband capability on these radios allows the communications planners to trade off the data throughput for the range between radios.

“The general rule is the higher the data capacity, the shorter the range – the lower the data capacity, the longer the range.

“TCN’s advanced networking waveform will provide a usable data capacity from 58 kbps up to 5 MBps.”

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Colonel Toohey said the revolutionary aspect of the Land 200 capability was the Weapon Integrated BMS (WINBMS).

“WINBMS provides a collaborative engagement and collective defence capability by integrating the platforms’ weapons and sensors with the BMS.

“The M1A1 tank will be the first platform to receive this capability,” he said.

“Tank WINBMS is the Army’s first step into a direct-fire land combat system and, importantly, it will inform the integration of the capability into the future Land 400 combat reconnaissance vehicle (CRV).

“CRV is expected to be delivered with additional sensors, like a laser warning system, which will increase the survivability of the crew but, when integrated with the WINBMS, will increase the survivability of the larger tactical formation.”

Colonel Toohey said the BCS would be integrated into additional Army vehicles, including 59 M1A1 tanks, seven M88 armoured recovery vehicles, 150 medium-heavy cargo trucks, 276 protected mobility vehicles – light, and 57 protected mobility vehicles – medium.

“As a package, it’s almost another third of the Army that will be equipped with the Land 200 Battlefield Command System capability,” he said.

“The initial operating capability will be in the third quarter of 2021 and the final operating capability in the third quarter of 2022.”

Chief of Army Lieutenant General Angus Campbell said the Battlefield Command System was all about coordinating and commanding the use of Army’s people so that decisions could be made more quickly and actions taken in a more coordinated way.

“It is the highest priority project in the Army because when we build a network and connect all the parts of that force to that network, we are greater than the sum of the individual,” Lieutenant General Campbell said.

“It is the improved quality of command and control of all aspects of our operations, so it’s not about high-end warfare, not about counter-terrorism, it’s about everything we do.”

Defence Industry Minister Christopher Pyne announced the approval of Project Land 200 Tranche 2, worth up to $1.4 billion, on November 28.

Minister Pyne said Harris Communications Australia would deliver the tactical communications network, including encrypted radios, and Elbit Systems of Australia will enhance the Battle Management System software, which tracks our units, delivered under Land 200 Tranche 1.

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Compiled from a report in ARMY Newspaper

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Brian Hartigan

Managing Editor Contact Publishing Pty Ltd PO Box 3091 Minnamurra NSW 2533 AUSTRALIA

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