Tactical Radios. The requirement for radios to continue operating in the tough cyber or electronic warfare environments is gathering top-level attention for Army leadership. Additionally, interoperability between these radios needs to be improved. For that purpose, the Army has centralized coordination of tactical radios to develop evolutionary capabilities with tactical radio platforms, wave forms, position-navigation-timing, ancillary devices, mobile/mounted application network transport management and network operations for items which are components of the tactical radio network system. Three critical gaps have been identified:
- Gap 1 – Lack of protected networked line-of-sight (LOS) and beyond line-of-sight (BLOS) voice and data communications for command and control (C2)
- Gap 2 – Current tactical radios do not adequately provide continuous levels of situational awareness (SA) required of future conflicts
- Gap 3 – Geographically separated Warfighters don’t have the ability to pass critical battle command information to the appropriate echelons of command while operating in various tactical environments
Army breaks down their network by Tiers: Brigade Network (upper tier), Battalion Network (mid tier), and Company Network (lower tier). As the Army modernizes its communication networks to support enhanced voice and data capabilities, it will employ software-defined radios as a key component at the brigade and below tiers.
The lower tactical Internet architecture is concerned about size, weight and power (SWaP) issues and future versions will reduce the weight the soldier must carry. They utilize soldier radio waveform (SRW) to provide company and below voice and data communications. This tier is characterized by primarily single channel radios operating at both the unclassified and secret level along with two channel radios at platoon and company to ensure multi-network integration and connectivity. The primary lower tier waveforms are the Soldier Radio Waveform (SRW) and SINCGARS. There is the potential that other lower tier waveforms could be added and/or combined as the network evolves over time. SATCOM: Demand Assigned Multiple Access/Integrated Waveforms DAMA/IW; add MUOS in CS 15.
The mid tier portion of the network designed to support battalion and company level operations. The mid tier is the critical high capacity backbone of the radio environment. It provides the battalion and company commander with the means to process voice and larger amounts of data across their tactical formation over a terrestrial based network. The mid tier is the interoperability point for higher echelons, Joint integration, aviation integration, and multinational interoperability. The primary mid tier waveform is the Wideband Networking Waveform (WNW).
As MUOS comes on line, Army expects it to be a useful asset for combat forces, SOF, mobile and disadvantaged users. MUOS will be ported into the HMS Man pack (called MUOS Applique) later this year.
Positioning, navigation and timing (PNT) information currently being provided by GPS is a cause for concern in a contested environment. GPS is vulnerable in multiple ways: kinetic (anti-satellite weaponry, orbital tampering, etc.) and non-kinetic (jamming, hacking, etc.). DoD is looking at Assured PNT by distributing multiple types of navigational aids and sensors throughout the Battlespace and across many platforms, linking them together, to provide highly accurate positioning without GPS.
The next post in this series from August Technet is on Defensive Cyber
Latest posts by ChrisScott
- TechNet Augusta 2016: Defensive Cyber - September 15, 2016
- TechNet Augusta 2016: US Army Tactical Radios - September 12, 2016
- TechNet Augusta 2016: Integrated Electronic Warfare Systems (IEWS) - September 9, 2016