LWI - Land Warfare

DSEI 2017: BAE connects to the tactical edge

13th September 2017 - 01:09 GMT | by Andrew White in London

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The BAE Systems Tactical Hotspot Concept Demonstrator tactical ground vehicle, designed to support strike brigades during expeditionary operations, will begin an 18-month evaluation programme with the British Army in October this year, company officials have revealed to Shephard.

Highlighted for the first time at DSEI in London on 12 September, the Concept Demonstrator comprises a British Army 4x4 Panther tactical ground vehicle fitted with a suite of C4I equipment designed to support forward-deployed strike brigades across multiple communications domains.

BAE Systems officials explained how the concept would provide voice and data services to the ‘tactical edge’ from a ‘mobile, protected and fully integrated communications suite, designed to provide superior situation awareness at reach’.

The concept has been designed to support the processing, exploitation and dissemination (PED) of ISR data as well as high capacity line of sight meshed networks; satellite communications on the move (SOTM); mobile ad hoc networking (MANET) communications; and air land integration missions.

In development for just nine months, the technology demonstrator features multiple communications payloads including an Airbus Defence and Space SOTM antenna mounted on the roof the vehicle; General Dynamics Mission Systems’ 4G LTE and Bowman VHF and UHF connectivity; as well as a Thales Falcon radio for Line of Sight; Link 16 data link and BAE Systems data services including WiFi access.

According to Steph McMenamin, responsible for Military Air and Information at BAE Systems, a pair of vehicles will be delivered to the army’s 21 Signals Regiment for evaluation in support of the wider Strike Brigade Concept.

The evaluation is expected to comprise a total of four exercise packages over the duration of the trial with 21 Signals Regiment considering concepts of operation, tactics, techniques and procedures associated with the platform. Exercise serials will be conducted across the Salisbury Plain Training Area, company officials added.

Capable of supporting mission communications up to ‘SECRET’ in classification, the Tactical Hotspot Concept Demonstrator has been identified as a possible solution to satisfy increasing demands for mission critical communications during expeditionary operations with the provision of voice, data, telephony and video teleconferencing capabilities. 

The effort has been funded to date by BAE Systems, Airbus Defence and Space and General Dynamics, although industry officials explained that the British Army would be contributing funds to assist in mobility elements associated with the evaluation. This includes the donation of the pair of Panther ground vehicles, BAE Systems officials explained. 

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