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Battlefield Information Transmission System (BITS)

As more users and increasingly-complex systems are added to the battlespace array, the Tactical Internet will be unable to handle the data transmission load. In the next 2–5 years, this shortfall will be absorbed by adding a Near Term Digital Radio (NTDR) to replace EPLRS. For the far–term, the BITS program is developing technologies for much greater information throughput.

The technology programs being pursued by the BITS program are described below.

                                                TF       DIV       Corps            
     PRODUCT               QUANTITY             XXI      XXI *     XXI*     FY 99   

Near-Term Data     24 SDR                        X                                  
Radio/Surrogate    Up to 400 NTDR (option)                                          
Data Radio         Up to 900 NTDR (option)                          [X]             

Asynchronous       11 ATM Switch (MSE)           X                                  
Transfer Mode      4 Low Rate ATM Switch         X                                  
                   7 Multimedia Workstation      X                                  

Tactical           30 TEED                       X                                  

Terrestrial        LMR:1Base Station/50          X                                  
Personal           Handsets                      X         X                        
Communications     2 MSE Interface (each)                  X                        
Systems            Hybrid CDMA: 2BS/50                                              

Global Broadcast   1 Uplink, 8 Downlinks         X                                  
Service            1 Program Center                                 (X)             
                   1 UAV Payload                           X                        
                   1 OTM Antenna                                    (X)             

High-Capacity      4 HCTR (10 Mbps)                        X                        
Trunk Radio        4 Static HCTR (45 Mbps)                           X              
                   4 OTM Antenna                                              X     

Airborne Relay     1 Abn Relay (45 Mbps)                   X                        
                   1 Abn Relay (155 Mbps)                                     X     

Satellite          1 UAV Payload, 25                       X                        
Personal           Handsets                                                   X     
Communications     Up to 100 Universal                                              
System             Handsets                                                         

On-the-Move        1 OTM Antenna (45 Mbps)                           X              

Radio Access       1 Static RAP                                      X              
Point              1 OTM Antenna (Mobile                                      X     

(X) Development complete, but not funded for AWE

* Subject to change based on Oct 95 decision on downscoping Division and Corps AWEs

The strategy for acquiring a BITS capability is based on the following three-phase program:

  • Research and Development Phase (approximately five years): Technology base programs and demonstrations (e.g., ACT II, ATDs.) will be used to identify candidate technologies; evaluate products in a laboratory environment; perform modeling and simulation; and perform experimental testing in a user environment.
  • Leave-Behind Phase (approximately two years): Products will be left with operational units that participated in first-phase evaluations so they can develop corresponding TTP concepts and provide the acquisition community with requirements feedback.
  • Fielding Phase (approximately two years): PEOs/PMs will develop system requirements from the operational requirements established during the second phase and acquire the required capability.
  • Asynchronous Transfer Mode (ATM) Technology Integration

    Emerging high-data-rate services and applications (e.g., video) cannot be effectively supported by the existing MSE/Tri-Service Tactical (TRITAC) system. ATM technology has the potential to support these and other wideband services, but was designed for use in low bit-error-rate, fiber optic-based static networks. Effective use of ATM technology in a tactical environment will require that forward error correction, low-rate survivable protocols, bandwidth allocation, signaling, and wireless ATM areas each be adequately addressed before ATM is ready for use with the new High-Capacity Trunk Radios (HCTR).

    ATM experiments conducted during Unified Endeavor in April 1995 will serve as the program baseline. In that exercise, seven ATM switches were installed into MSE shelters, enabling MSE voice traffic to be combined with data traffic over the existing MSE backbone network.

    This and other field trials have shown that while ATM technology can be used in certain tactical applications, many technical issues must be resolved before ATM technology can be deployed effectively in a tactical network.

  • The first phase of the program will provide incremental improvements to the MSE system within the existing bandwidth constraints.
  • During the second phase, the effort will concentrate on issues associated with introducing high-bandwidth radios into the tactical battlespace. At the end of this phase, a functional specification for a replacement to the existing MSE system will be provided.
  • Tactical End-to-End Encryption Device (TEED)

    TEED is an encryption device used to provide end-to-end security for Force XXI data users. As long as the MSE/TPN remains at its current SECRET High security level, TEED would be used by:

  • Unclassified logistics users who need to use the MSE/TPN as a common carrier.
  • IEW users whose security needs exceed the SECRET level of the MSE/TPN.
  • In the first instance, TEED is used to protect the base-level Secret users from users working at lower classifications. In the second, TEED protects the higher-level Top Secret users from the base network. TEED is designed to protect both of these applications. Further development is needed to produce a TEED that will encrypt ATM and IP traffic. The National Security Agency (NSA) is investigating the new BATON encryption algorithm for this use.

    Terrestrial Personal Communications Systems (PCS)

    Research and development performed in the area of terrestrial PCS is a cooperative effort between the ARPA-funded Commercial Communications Technology Testbed (C2T2) program and the CECOM Commercial Communications Technology Laboratory (C2TL) and Digital Battlefield Communications (DBC) ATD programs. PCS capabilities developed under these programs will be demonstrated during the TF XXI AWE.

    The Land Mobile Radio (LMR) system provides intermixed digital voice and data transmission over multiple 9,600 baud, half-duplex channels. Handheld Personal Digital Assistants (PDAs) and generic laptop x486 computers are interconnected via this system. GPS receivers and heads-up displays are also integrated with the computing devices.

    Hybrid PCS is the second-phase system under the C2T2 program. It is expected that this second system will have smaller (transportable) base stations; better hand-off and peer forwarding; more users per channel; higher data rates; and lower transmit power. Broadband code-division multiple access (CDMA) technology is being explored for this system.

    A key piece of the demonstrations scheduled in conjunction with the TF XXI and Division XXI AWEs is the interface to MSE. Because current LMRs only have an interface to the public switched telephone network, a more complex interface is needed for MSE. This interface will be developed under the DBC ATD.

    Army Direct Broadcast Satellite (DBS)

    Commercial DBS systems offer the potential for low-cost, wideband data and video dissemination. Unfortunately, these systems are geographically limited to CONUS; are designed specifically for the home user; use commercial frequency bands; and are nearly at maximum capacity. This project, in coordination with the Joint Global Broadcasting System (GBS), will develop an Army DBS system providing the flexibility required to support operations while maximizing the benefit of low-cost commercial developments.

    Three commercial DBS terminals will be acquired, modified to work with standard Ku-band antennas, and integrated with Sun workstations to provide an uplink/downlink capability. A single Army DBS programming center will be established to consolidate, schedule, and control data/video dissemination. An airborne DBS transponder will be developed and demonstrate a global capability for in-theater data dissemination under direct control of the theater commander. Finally, the capability to receive DBS data on a moving platform will be explored.

    High-Capacity Trunk Radio (HCTR)

    HCTR will serve as the next-generation line-of-sight radio for MSE. It will provide a trunk radio capable of a minimum data rate of 45 Mbps to support ATM switching. As an integral part of the Radio Access Point (RAP), the HCTR will also extend wideband integrated communications services to highly mobile forces.

    The HCTR program is a technology-based, advanced development initiative to explore and develop technologies supporting a wideband trunk radio with the capability of operating while on-the-move. The program will include the evaluation of a COTS synchronous optical network (SONET)-based radio, starting with the delivery of the radio in November 1996 and concluding with a report in September 1997. Concurrent with the COTS SONET radio experiment, an accelerated procurement will be conducted to provide a near-term wideband radio, HCTR(-), with a performance goal of 10 Mbps and 20 Km range for near-term ATM upgrades to MSE. The objective HCTR will be capable of providing 155 Mbps operation in a static mode, and 45 Mbps in an on-the-move mode. Four on-the-move HCTRs are planned for delivery in early FY99.

    In the stationary mode, the HCTR will provide a wideband multi-channel trunking capability for MSE. It will act as an upgrade replacement for the current AN/GRC-226, providing wideband backbone and extension links for ATM-equipped MSE switching assemblages. In the on-the-move mode, the HCTR will be operated as an integral part of the mobile RAP. As part of the RAP, the HCTR will connect various narrowband tactical systems—including SINCGARS, EPLRS, NTDR, and MSE—to the wideband point-to-point backbone network.

    Airborne Relay

    Current extended-range communications are heavily dependent on satellite links and terrestrial networks, presenting a number of operational limitations in many parts of the world. This project will develop an airborne relay capability providing a wideband communications range extension, supporting the HCTR and RAP programs. The wideband airborne relay will also be part of the UAV communications payload suite.

    Satellite Personal Communications Systems (PCS)

    Satellite PCS will provide worldwide communications via networks of low–earth orbiters using handheld units. Systems are expected to support voice, facsimile, data and paging communications. This program will investigate commercial satellite-based systems to develop an autonomous battlefield personal communications capability. This will include development of a UAV-based system and universal handsets. The current strategy is to work with industry toward developing cooperative research and development agreements.

    On-the-Move Antenna

    This program will develop a wideband communications on-the-move antenna to support RAP HCTR communications. The antenna will be capable of operating in line-of-sight mode and via an airborne relay. Phased-array antenna technology is being pursued because these antennas are generally lower in profile and more agile than reflectors. There are, however, technical limitations that impact their effectiveness, particularly at low and varying look angles. The RAP antenna program will address these concerns by developing an on-the-move capability for the Common Ground Station antenna and adapting that technology to support the HCTR.

    Radio Access Point (RAP)

    RAP is a vehicular-mounted self-contained communications center that contains an ATM switch, an HCTR, an on-the-move antenna, a controlling workstation, and interfacing equipment for narrowband tactical systems, to include SINCGARS, EPLRS, NTDR, and the MSE Mobile Subscriber Radio Terminal (MSRT). RAP allows mobile narrowband tactical users to access wide bandwidth networks for voice, data, and video communications.

    RAP will seamlessly extend wideband trunks from the tactical point-to-point backbone to lower echelons with support for integrated voice, data, and video access to/from users located on mobile platforms or foot-mobile. A phased approach of developing and demonstrating a RAP capability will be used. It will involve developing, acquiring and integrating the required interfaces, protocols, and software, as well as assembling the system hardware.

    The specification phase will develop a high-level system documentation/specification with detailed RAP functional and performance specifications. A laboratory RAP prototype phase (RAP V1) will demonstrate connectivity in a static, laboratory environment. The data rate of the wideband trunk will be a maximum of T1. During RAP V2, a mobile RAP host will be demonstrated in a laboratory environment, using mobile IP with low to medium (2.4 kbps to 56 kbps) data-rate channels. A static RAP field demonstration will incorporate a static version of the HCTR radio provided by the HCTR program. Finally, communications on-the-move will be demonstrated in 1999 using a mobile RAP.

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    Maintained by Robert Sherman
    Originally created by John Pike
    Updated Saturday, September 12, 1998 6:35:55 AM