With military operations becoming ever more interconnected, a fresh look at networking architecture is required, to enable complex, large-scale systems to work together and progress at the rapid pace dictated by technological change.
The military requires information to be transferred across echelons, supporting joint operations of manned and unmanned systems, integrating assets on land, at sea, in the air and in outer space. Communicating video streams in real time between multiple sources and users require handling of massive databases and huge volumes of data, to be processed, transferred, stored and displayed to the right users, with minimal delay. Reliable communications must be maintained at all time, under combat conditions, regardless of environmental, physical or man-made interference.
Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) decided to turn this challenge into an opportunity. Realizing the solution must rely on a pool of experience, and not on a single, specific technological answer, IAI has established a corporate-wide technical team, mapping the technologies the company divisions already have in-house, and focusing on new capabilities that should be addressed. After three years of development, IAI’s total connectivity solutions are unveiled at the Singapore Airshow 2012, where the company is introducing a new, cross-service command, control and networking approach designed to support intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) services, active defense systems and offensive precision strike capabilities.IAI’s new family of networking systems integrates common core capabilities and specific solutions designed for land forces missions, and airborne applications supporting air operations. A special subset of the system is uniquely tailored for the operation of precision-guided weapons.
This networking architecture integrates a number of IAI developed technologies, based on open architecture and commercial standards, including software defined radios (SDR) and next generation commercial, cellular communications (4G/LTE). In addition, the systems also include unique elements required for military operations, employing the mobile elements of the system, supporting tactical users, physical and electronic hardening, enhanced redundancy, higher level of security, minimizing latency and support for real-time operations. The resulting system is a ’network of networks’ offering the best Commercial Off The Shelf (COTS) technology with unique capabilities derived from military and airborne systems.
The new architecture enables members to contact other users over the ’mesh’ without binding themselves to specific properties such as frequencies, bandwidth or locations. Connectivity is generated ‘on the fly’ utilizing advanced IP based technology, combining terrestrial, wireless and satellite communications, offering rapid, secure and predictable information exchange, supporting the mission in hand to the best of its ability.
Typical services include enhancement of airborne networks, exchanging ‘everything from everywhere’, for example, providing small tactical units with precision strike capability using a ‘see & strike’ operating concept, where the warfighter can designate targets from an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) and call a remote weapon to automatically engage it, without involving the complex procedures mandated by passing through redundant command levels. The new system will also enable superior integration of command and control – sharing a common operating picture throughout all operational and tactical levels. The new networks will provide all this, while improving connectivity and optimizing spectrum utilization.
Having analyzed future requirements and technological trends affecting the market, IAI assigned a special expert team to study, evaluate and develop the designated hardware and software required. Now underway, through a two-year company funded program, IAI applied for several patents forming part of the intellectual property and unique offering of its new technological solutions.
Designed an open system, the new integrated networking architecture will become available to technology and business partners, enabling the company full access to export, with focus on the Asian market.