The Army moved a step closer to integrating tactical network management across the battlefield by approving the integrated-system control operational-requirements document May 30. The ORD establishes key performance parameters the ISYSCON system must achieve in an operational environment. The system consists of four interrelated hardware and software versions, which provide critical NM tools for Signal commanders and unit G-6/S-6 sections from maneuver battalion through Army theater Signal command.
The four different ISYSCON versions – being developed by the product manager for communications-management systems – are in different stages of development, testing and fielding. The versions are fielded to units based on supported network size and unit mission to support warfighting information requirements and ensure tactical-communications networks are deployable, reliable and flexible.
The four ISYSCON versions are:
|ISYSCON (V)1. This version manages the Area Common-User System wide-area networks at theater through division level and requires interoperability with the objective Joint Network-Management System. ISYSCON (V)1 consists of two humvees – a heavy humvee and an expanded-capacity humvee. ISYSCON (V)1 also includes two standard integrated command-post shelters, two servers and four workstations. ISYSCON (V)1 supports Army theater Signal command, echelons-above-corps and corps Signal brigades; 40th and 86th Signal Battalions; and division Signal battalions. Currently the (V)1 manages mobile-subscriber equipment networks at corps-and-below Signal units. Fielding is underway or completed for I, III, V and XVIII Corps units. Fieldings to EAC units are scheduled to begin in 4th Quarter Fiscal Year 2003 after Network Enterprise Technology Command conducts a field test of the triservice-tactical communications NM software in 4th Quarter FY03.|
|ISYSCON (V)2. This version has the same functionality as the (V)1 but requires less hardware to support smaller networks. ISYSCON (V)2 consists of two humvees, one SICPS, two servers and two workstations. The (V)2 supports Signal battalion-control centers at EAC and corps; 44th, 72d and 112th Signal Battalions; and certain separate companies. The (V)2 fielding parallels the (V)1’s fielding and is also underway or completed for I, III, V and XVIII Corps units. As with the (V)1, (V)2 fieldings to EAC units are scheduled to begin 4th Quarter FY03 after the NETCOM field test.|
|ISYSCON (V)3. Once developed, the (V)3 will be a reduced-capability, transit-case version of the (V)1 designed to support corps and division early-entry/split-base operations. It will support the ability of the Signal planner to plan, engineer, manage and monitor a small early-entry network until the more capable ISYSCON (V)1 arrives in the operation area. The (V)3 will consist of a workstation, router, printer and uninterrupted power supply integrated into preconfigured transit cases. Since the (V)3 is at the beginning of its development cycle, it won’t be available for testing and fielding until at least FY04.|
|ISYSCON (V)4. This version is deployed at maneuver brigade and below for combat-net-radio-based WAN management. The (V)4 also provides local-area network management at all echelons from maneuver battalion through EAC. Each ISYSCON (V)4 consists of two computers: a ruggedized Appliqué Paravant V4 for survivability, and a commercial Panasonic Toughbook laptop for configuring devices that have become unreachable through the network and require physical connectivity. Both computers host the same software, called the Tactical Internet Management System, which incorporates the Force XXI Battle Command Brigade and Below software. The (V)4 is currently being fielded to III Corps units to support FBCB2 networks’ NM; this is to prepare for the Army’s simultaneous initial operational test and evaluation of FBCB2, Maneuver-Control System and ISYSCON (V)4 in 3d Quarter FY03 at Fort Hood, Texas. ISYSCON (V)4 is also a key participant in the Stryker IOT&E 3d Quarter FY03 and will be fielded to the Stryker brigade combat teams.|
The ISYSCON family of NM systems marks the Army’s first baseline of a common set of NM products from the foxhole through EAC. In the future, as the Warrior Information Network-Tactical is developed, tested and fielded to support the Objective Force, the ISYSCON family of systems will provide a bridge for the Army to migrate toward the WIN-T Network-Management System, ensuring the Army maintains an integrated NM capability across all echelons.
The Enhanced Position-Location Reporting System continues fielding to selected Army units as the program moves forward to replace the current EPLRS network-control station with a smaller and less costly EPLRS network manager. Fielding of radio sets to 1st Cavalry Division and 1st Brigade, 25th Infantry Division (Stryker Brigade Combat Team 2), will be completed in Fiscal Year 2003.
EPLRS’ Army program objective is 10,805 sets. There has been no change in the units to be fielded; however, there have been adjustments in both the year of fielding and the quantities to be fielded.
The ENM customer test was scheduled in October/November at Electronic Proving Ground, Fort Huachuca, Ariz. The test’s focus was primarily operational in nature and emphasized ENM evaluation, radio-set training and technical-manuals-as-job-aids evaluation.
Evaluation results will be used to support the ENM fielding decision. Initial fielding will support SBCT-3 in FY03. This product improvement will be updated in the fielded units as a modification workorder in FY04/05.
Four training courses were developed and/or modified to support ENM’s field operations and deployment. These courses, which kicked off in late September, include the ENM operator’s course, ENM monitor’s course, EPLRS system-planner’s course and radio-set operator’s course.
The Multifunctional Information-Distribution System Low-Volume Terminal 2 successfully completed its IOT&E in June. The Army’s Test and Evaluation Command generating the IOT&E test report in October.
The MIDS contractor continues to address recently identified power-amplifier availability issues. The power amplifiers are required to complete the Army’s reliability testing and support the Navy’s operational evaluations. The shortage of reliable power amplifiers has identified a need to seek alternate suppliers; however, the lead-time required won’t meet immediate requirements. The Army and Navy are coordinating activities to satisfy priorities and requirements for a full-rate production decision in December.
The near-term digital radio and Step 2C radio are interim, experimental radios designed to provide tactical-operations center-to-tactical-operations center data communications to brigade-and-below units.
The NTDR system is a mobile packet-data radio network that links TOCs in a brigade area. Its main purpose is to provide data transport for automated systems in the Army Battle-Command System. Brigade networks of about 35 radios interoperate with other divisional networks, and a network-management terminal provides radio NM.
The Army’s acquisition executive directed limited procurement of NTDR system to explore the limits of near-term technology and provide a technical baseline for developing a multiband, multimode, digital radio system.
Fielding NTDR to SBCT-2 was scheduled to be complete in October, while fielding to 1st Calvary Division is slated for completion in September 2003; 3d Armored Cavalry Regiment, FY05; and III Corps, FY06.
The Step 2C radio is designed to provide secure, mobile, data-networking capabilities for disseminating data throughout the warfighter battlespace, principally from brigade to battalion levels. The radio system includes an NMT. In its carrier-sense multiple-access protocol mode of operation, the Step 2C radio can scale to networks of up to 400 nodes. It can scale to up to 16 nodes in its time-division multiple-access mode.
The Step 2C is scheduled to be fielded to the SBCT-3 through SBCT-6 in FY03.
The NTDR and Step2C radios will be among the first to be replaced by the Joint Tactical Radio System.
Our joint forces need a new tactical data radio to successfully support the Joint Chiefs’ Joint Vision 2020 transformation. JTRS has long been touted as the solution, but we’ve never shown what the system is actually capable of until now.
The production contract award for the vehicular JTRS’ Cluster 1 to the Boeing team has provided our forces with the first tangible outline of how this new system will operate. Boeing’s design (figure below) incorporates a modular approach. Each channel or radio segment is comprised of a single line replaceable unit. This allows hardware replacement of these LRUs without having to take an entire three- or four-channel radio into maintenance. This concept reduces spare requirements while significantly increasing the unit’s communications reliability.
The LRUs are mounted into a vehicle adapter that fits into a standard Single-Channel Ground and Airborne Radio System mounting tray. Single-channel universal transceiver LRUs (the three smaller modules in the center of the above photo) operate from two megahertz to two gigahertz. More mounts can be used to incorporate more LRUs if necessary.
The wideband power amplifiers (in the photo’s left) support all communications modes except Link 16. Special power amplifiers are required for Link 16 and high-frequency radio equipment.
The networking/information security unit (to the right in the photo) provides networking and cryptologic functions as well as radio control and interface. A single vehicle adapter can support up to four universal transceivers.
JTRS will be a family of radios that combines the functionality of our current single-function radio system into a single, interoperable joint radio. It will provide secure, software-programmable, multiband, multimode, digital systems that will eventually replace all existing radios in the tactical arena. And through the addition of the wideband networking waveform, JTRS will significantly improve tactical networking on the battlefield.
The Army’s leadership has worked very hard to ensure that the Objective Force’s command, control, communications, computers and intelligence capabilities are protected while simultaneously developing a strong, viable migration path for integrating the future tactical radio system.
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Army Communicator is part of Regimental Division, a division of Office Chief of Signal.