Army ruggedizing digital battle command system

The Army Force XXI Battle Command, Brigade and Below (FBCB2) program is about to get more rugged thanks to a new contract with DRS Technologies Inc.

The program is focused on developing a digital battle command information system designed to provide commanders and individual soldiers across all battlefield functional areas, with improved information for command and control (C2) and enhanced situational awareness. The system is intended to support lower-echelon battle command tactical mission requirements, including target identification and graphical combat area displays.

This is the fourth consecutive year that Northrop Grumman Corp. Mission Systems, the prime contractor on the program, has awarded subcontracts to DRS for the program. The new $29 million contract is for rugged Applique computer systems and display units, mission data loaders and engineering services, according to Paul Casner, executive vice president and chief operating officer of DRS Technologies.

DRS' RVS-330 Rugged Vehicle System, the Applique, is designed to operate in and survive the harshest of environments. It is comprised completely of off-the-shelf components in order to progress with technology. Work for this order will be performed by the company's DRS Tactical Systems unit in Palm Bay, Fla., and product deliveries are expected to begin next month, Casner said.

The situational awareness component of the program will collectively display the geographical location of all weapons, platforms, soldiers, command posts and other facilities and will be used in conjunction with the Army's Tactical Internet, a seamless Internet connection, for ease in communication, according to the Army.

The Tactical Internet interfaces with the Army Tactical Command and Controls System, collects information from both the operation center and the individual units and then disseminates it through FBCB2 computers for improved situational awareness. Interoperability with external C2 and sensor systems provides a seamless flow of battle command information, according to the Army.

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