The Information Age and the associated information revolution promise the prospect of ubiquitous battlefield networks through which all battlefield entities are seamlessly integrated so that real-time data can be shared, as and when required. To modern commanders the allure of this promise is irresistible. It has been several hundred years since a commander has had the ability from a convenient hilltop to survey personally the disposition of all friendly and adversary forces. Now, in the Information Age, the modern commander, with senses enhanced by electronic sensors and modern communications systems, can stand on an electronic hilltop and once again ‘see’ whatever portion of the battlefield is desired at whatever detail is appropriate.
This book analyses the tactical communications systems required to support modern land commanders. Chapter 1 describes the operational environment of the digitized battlefield and examines the process of command and control that is the core business of the tactical commander. Chapter 2 provides a brief overview of the technologies that are pertinent to the provision of tactical communications systems. Chapter 3 provides an overview of army organizational structures, aiming to provide a basic understanding of the size and disposition of army units, army command structures, tactical communications structures, and the role of support and services.
Readers familiar with communications technologies and army organizational structures may wish to skip to Chapter 4, which begins by briefly examining the early history of military communications and then focuses on the development of the two major battlefield communications subsystems that are deployed by all modern armies.
Chapter 5 develops an architectural framework to define the tactical communications system required to support modern land commanders. It begins by outlining key design drivers that shape the architecture of a tactical communications system. Options for a mobile tactical communications system are then examined and a suitable framework is developed within which architectural issues can subsequently be considered.
Chapters 6 to 10 then address the major subsystems of the tactical communications architecture. Each subsystem is considered in terms of the fundamental design drivers that direct the provision of tactical communications. Architectural options are analyzed and a preferred option is selected. Consideration is also given to the options available for the migration of legacy subsystems. Finally, Chapter 11 addresses the critical issue of interfaces.