U.S. Navy brings British ship into VTC network in Persian Gulf

BAHRAIN—The U.S. Navy has hooked the British aircraft carrier HMS Invincible into a satellite-fed video teleconferencing (VTC) network serving major U.S. warships operating in the Persian Gulf.

"This is the first time a British afloat platform'' has enjoyed such connectivity, said Senior Chief Robert Behm of the Naval Computer and Telecommunications Station here.

Behm, who spent two days on the Invincible installing equipment needed to make that ship's systems compatible with U.S. Navy gear, said the network interconnects the Invincible with the U.S. aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson and with the U.S. Navy Central Command, headquartered here.

Behm said the U.S. Navy conducted a successful "pierside'' test of the Invincible's VTC system this month. A spokeswoman for the U.S. Navy Central Command said the Invincible first used the VTC system Feb. 23.

Rear Adm. Alfred Harms, commander of the U.S. Navy Carrier Battle Group Three, said the VTC system would allow him to have "face to face'' dialogue with the British fleet commander.

Harms added that the VTC system, which uses newly upgraded communications links recently installed by the Navy in the Persian Gulf region, allows him to talk with and see "whoever I want'' in a chain of command that stretches all the way to Washington, D.C. He said the VTC system and collaborative planning tools allow him to conduct face-to-face discussions with commanders in "Riyahd, Kuwait or Washington.''

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