New Interconnect Technology for Modern Soldier Systems

Qwik Connect

The backbone for future US soldier communications is the Warfighter Information Network-Tactical (WIN-T), which delivers voice and

are available. These apps can evolve to reflect a changing operational environment. Apps already in use include: blue force tracking, training manuals, mission planning, ballistics calculator for snipers and IED detection and geo-tagging. Although there are still concerns over security and robustness, expect to see more commercial devices in the hands of soldiers in the future. In our technology-driven world—where a new phone is released every few months—it is no longer viable for armies to spend thousands of dollars on a military-grade smartphone that will be obsolete as soon as it is operational. Communication capabilities and situational awareness on the battlefield is also being improved through enhanced networking capabilities. This means soldiers are no longer limited to traditional line of sight communications, which can have limited range in built-up areas or under cover. Take for example the Exelis SpearNet radio, it is a mobile ad-hoc networking (MANET) device, which means the signal “hops” from one radio user to the next and therefore extends the range of the network. Radio such as SpearNet can provide voice, integrated GPS with SA reporting, and data transfer (100-1500 Kbps) across dismounted networks spanning 6 km. The Spanish Army has chosen the SpearNet for its Combatiente de Futuro (COMFUT) modernization efforts.

data services to soldiers without the need for fixed infrastructure.

WIN-T utilizes satellite communications (SATCOM) to extend the network in maneuver Brigade Combat Teams (BCTs). WIN-T is also self-healing, which means devices can re-route bandwidth if a node breaks down.

 Army Signal Corps patch and HiPer 55116 radio connectors

The latest WIN-T, Increment 2, allows soldiers to use voice and data communications on the move using mobile, self-forming networks - meaning it creates its own transmission paths based on terrain and environment - a first for the US military. WIN-T systems were deployed to West Africa in 2014 as US troops tackled the Ebola outbreak in the region. The equipment improved communications between US Africa Command, troops on the ground and NGOs. The US Army is also upgrading its battle-proven Force XXI Battle Command Brigade and Below/Blue Force Tracking (FBCB2/BFT) system to prepare for the new network. FBCB2/BFT, a system which resembles a large ruggedized tablet, is fitted to most infantry vehicles like MRAPs or Stryker vehicles. The software upgrade means any changes inputted on a vehicle’s FBCB2/BFT will be seen by a dismounted soldier on his Nett Warrior device. The French Army is also placing a significant emphasis on networked communications and data sharing as part of its FELIN (Fantassin à Équipements et Liaisons Intégrés) soldier modernisation. French vehicles are fitted with Sagem’s Spider terminal, a touch-screen display system that resembles the US Army’s FBCB2/BFT. Dismounted squad leaders also have a portable terminal information system designated the SIT COMDE (Offboard Soldier Terminal Information System), which will improve blue force tracking and overall situational awareness.

 Air Force Capt. Bryony Veater, Space Liaison Officer and Space Weapons Officer with the 807th Expeditionary Air Support Operations Squadron, using a Defense Advanced GPS Receiver. Captain Veater trains U.S. and coalition forces how to utilize space weapons into ground warfare. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. David Carbajal)

Qwik Connect n January 2015


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