DB - Digital Battlespace

Germany continues pursuit of Tactical Edge Networking

1st November 2019 - 12:00 GMT | by Andrew White in London

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The German Army continues to consider requirements to support its next-generation tactical communications programme with industry sources suggesting the effort remains a ‘very fluent process’. 

The German Army initially launched a pair of programmes to support the future connectivity requirements of mounted and dismounted combat teams, including the Mobile Tactical Communications (MoTAKO) and Mobile Tactical Information Network (MoTIV) efforts.

After combining both programmes into the unified Digitalisation of Land Based Operations (DLBOP) programme, the German Army signed an MoU with the Netherlands in June 2019 to jointly pursue the Tactical Edge Networking (TEN) programme.

However, the German Army will continue to stipulate its own set of requirements under the TEN-DLBO nomenclature before combining demand signals with its counterpart Dutch programme, TEN-FOXTROT.

Programme officials from TEN-DLBO confirmed to Shephard how a Joint Programme Office with TEN-FOXTROT is due to be established by the end of the year with an RfI following in February 2020.

This will include a series of spiral developments focused on supporting soldiers operating at the tactical edge with interoperability with partner nation forces a top priority. 

Approval of the first spiral is expected to be confirmed in December with product selection due to following in 2022. The first units within the German Army are expecting to receive the first tranches of equipment in 2023.

Addressing delegates at DSEI in London on 11 September, TEN programme officials described how German and Dutch armed forces must cooperate in order to manage expectations in the face of the ‘increasing speed of change in the information technology environment’.

‘We need a different mindset to find a solution to faster improve our equipment and renew technology. Our ambition is to enable new technology and make information technology a prime weapon system which we can take into action,’ officials explained while asserting how mobility remains a ‘prime’ requirement for the programme.

‘We need to be faster and swifter,’ officials added before illustrating demand signals to further enhance the Sensor-to-Shooter requirements of mounted and dismounted close combat units.

TEN-DLBO and TEN-FOXTROT are also due to benefit from a Tactical Core reference architecture, capable of supporting the wider TEN programme over the next 15 years and beyond.

Speaking to Shephard in September, TEN-DLBO’s programme manager, Christian Peters of the Federal Office of Bundeswehr Equipment, Information Technology, and In-Service Support (BAAINBw), described the programme’s philosophy to allow ground commanders to operate ‘securely [and] be interoperable and effective in their missions’.

‘That is why we build the new bi-national organisation TEN. Both ministers of Defence in Germany and The Netherlands acknowledged the need for a different way of working and concluded this with the signature of the agreement to jointly follow the journey of modernisation with TEN. A key milestone,’ Peters added.

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