Use Case 1
Army scenario, deployed battle groups
Impact: Complete tactical picture from command to lower levels; speedy decision-making to cope with battlefield uncertainties.
Brief: Provides enhanced situational awareness to all major functions of a Battle Group on the move.
- Operating at large deployment level, the advantages of the TITAN BY NORTAC® solution are mainly in asset tracking and general situational awareness at headquarters, and at different operational and strategic levels. Many countries have constrained budgets and have focused their efforts on deploying the appropriate SA and battle management tools to a small number of elite troops.
- NORTAC Defence® offers a cost-effective tool to expand the SA to a large part of the army, including other arms and services, and tactical air/ marine resources, to produce a greatly enhanced awareness of the overall tactical picture.
- This can be a battle-winner at all scales, by permitting timely and accurate decisions to be made. The TITAN BY NORTAC® Platform can provide SA broadly in different headquarters, and the NORTAC WAVE® personal unit can be deployed to give SA down to individual section levels as well as to key assets, with very low messaging costs, and low probability of detection/ interception.
Deployed Battle Group
- Expeditionary deployments are characterised by the creation of ad-hoc tactical organisations to suit the particular scenario. BGs can be infantry- heavy in peace-keeping operations, but access to heavier forces in support is often essential. A flexible SA tool that can be customised to reflect the particular units and assets that are available is a key requirement.
- The ability to deploy patrols with a reliable means of reporting position, and reacting quickly to the need for support in an emergency, is provided by the use of NORTAC WAVE® devices within the NORTAC Defence® solution. Advantages include:
- Light weight solution, with excellent battery life
- Reliable, independent of infrastructure (satellite) communications channel
- Secure message transmission
- Integrated emergency message transmission
As has been demonstrated in first-line responder use, the ability to track and monitor the position of medical services can permit the optimisation of the use of such resources, and the prepositioning of units in response to the tactical situation.
- A NORTAC WAVE® or similar device can be deployed on each ambulance or response team but can be kept to simple position reporting and messaging, as broader local SA at the vehicle level is not appropriate.
- The main advantage is the SA that the solution brings to the medical service headquarters, as the location of resources is immediately visible. Decisions on the likely future need and positioning of units can be reached and transmitted to deployed teams rapidly and reliably, regardless of terrain or radio communications issues.
- The NORTAC Defence® Short Burst Data (SBD) messaging system can be used to provide a secondary messaging service, or can be used as the primary mode of instruction transmission in some cases.
- The medical picture can be integrated into the overall SA picture at headquarters at different levels using the TITAN BY NORTAC® software, or displayed on other Battlefield Management Solutions by processing short-burst-data messaging using the appropriate apps.
Artillery is rightly considered as the queen of the battlefield, and the introduction of smart munitions has increased its potential.
- At an initial level, the C2SA solution provides the local SA picture indicating the location of assets ranging from Forward Observation Officers (FOOs) to actual guns/missiles, independently of other forms of radio communications. This can be secondary or primary SA information, taking advantage of the low probability of observation and reliability of the Short Burst Data (SBD) SATCOM links.
- Artillery often has GPS-independent Inertial Navigation System (INS) capability, and this can be integrated into the NORTAC Defence® messaging system if required to provide independent positional information, and to ensure that the INS is re-referenced when Global Positioning System (GPS) link is available.
- Future plans include the integration of fire control order messages as part of specialist application packages, emphasising the growth potential of the TITAN BY NORTAC® software.
- Local artillery commanders will take advantage of the Situational Awareness data provided by TITAN BY NORTAC® as part of their BMS systems, either as an alternative display on their local displays or on separate units. NORTAC TACTICAL™ is likely to be deployed down to individual gun/detachment level, and with FOOs and surveillance tools, as the additional weight of a PDA or laptop is outweighed by the more general mapping that is normally required.
The provision of effective Logistics Support requires a full BMS if it is to be digitised, as it requires integration of stores/consumable demand, warehousing, transport, and equipment support among other complex tasks.
- However, the TITAN BY NORTAC® solution can be used to support SA for the various arms and services, as it provides a convenient backup (or primary) solution to tracking key assets – trucks or crates, independent of any land-based radio communications, and the automatic reporting facilities can be very useful to e.g. transport, as drivers are busy driving rather than position reporting.
- The availability of an emergency button is also very helpful to provide local commanders and higher-level headquarters with the occurrence of incidents, be they accidents or enemy action, permitting prompt support or reactive action to be taken.
- A clear SA picture is very useful to resource planners and operational assessment at formation headquarters in planning future operations.
- NORTAC Defence® solutions provide a cost-effective and easily deployed capability that can be integrated into other BMS, or specifically developed for the customer.
Engineer support is quite specialised, and service support depends on specialist knowledge and awareness of the tactical picture if scarce resource is to be used optimally.
- TITAN BY NORTAC® can provide the situational awareness to inform such decisions, and the use of the short-message Iridium SATCOM can provide a secondary means of communications, especially important in operations where resources need to be kept hidden.
- An alternative form of comms using text messaging can form a discrete local network for engineer assets to avoid congesting the tactical battle radio networks. NORTAC Defence® provides the appropriate tools to enable this.
Tactical Air Support
Tactical air support can provide both direct disruptive effect and positioning of resources.
- However, tactical air and land networks tend to operate on different frequencies, with different coding, so intercommunications can be challenging, unless local FAOs are available with the requisite means.
- NORTAC DEFENCE’s SA tools permit a common view of the position of available resources, minimising the opportunity for blue-on-blue engagements, and providing tactical decision takers to form a view with timely and accurate information. Integration of UAV resources is becoming increasingly important. The inclusion of a NORTAC Defence® Iridium link permits independent location information transmission and integration into the tactical picture.
Expeditionary/ Regional Command
Higher-level commanders are likely to be provided with BMS as a priority in the digitalisation process, but costs often result in a partial implementation, leaving the demand for a simple, easily deployed, and integrated SA tool to be used more widely. NORTAC Defence® provides such a tool.
- Of note is the ease of integrating the NORTAC Defence® short-message solution into other BMS through the provision of a dedicated small terminal and apps within the BMS environment. This permits the additional capability that NORTAC Defence® offers to be exploited fully in a limited BMS system, and permitting wider SA across unit HQs.
Iridium Satellite Characteristics
The LEO Iridium constellation provides global coverage and short message latency. It operates at L-band and offers the short-data message mode of operation, which is very low cost and appropriate to basic SA needs, such as position reporting and specific messages.
Iridium Ground Station
It is important to understand the resilience and security aspects of the Iridium constellation, which includes consideration of the Iridium ground stations.
- A message generated by a NORTAC WAVE® terminal (or by TITAN BY NORTAC® with an L-band SATCOM interface) is transmitted to the observable satellite as it transits across the sky. This satellite directly sends this message to a ground station (or indirectly via Ka-band links to another satellite if it cannot see a ground station). This ground station then processes the message and retransmits it to the appropriate satellite for transmission to the relevant TITAN BY NORTAC® unit. TITAN BY NORTAC® then checks security, can re-code the message and transmits it to the Iridium satellite for transmission to the destination if it is not the TITAN BY NORTAC® unit itself. This second message is then relayed as described above, and after processing in the ground station, is sent to the recipient.
Port of Entry
The port of entry is often a chaotic environment, with many peaks of activity as vessels arrive, and a need to track disembarking units.
- The addition of a NORTAC Defence® SA capability can complement local radios, and provide an integrated and common solution to permit effective C2 of this key area, especially if attacks are expected, be they insurgent or enemy action.
The airhead is often better managed than a sea port of entry, as the number of aircraft and their capacity can be more limited.
- However, a secondary SA means to complement local radar and Air Traffic Controller (ATC) can add value, and units deploying from aircraft can also benefit from a text messaging service in addition to the improved local SA.