February 17, 2012

From Air Traffic Management to Close Air Support: Firentis presents a new C2 application for Joint Fire Deconfliction

News Report

As reported by Digital Battlespace, Frequentis is going to demonstrate a new Command and Control application to the German Bundeswehr next week. The application, named Smart Collaboration @ Joint Fires (SC@JF), has been designed to enable deconfliction between joint fire support cells and is expected to support NATO ISAF fire support operations in Afghanistan, including Close Air Support (CAS).

Defence sources who conducted such operations with NATO's ISAF in Afghanistan during 2010 said a lack of deconfliction between fire missions had caused concern. They admitted that 'mistakes' had been made and called for a software programme to replace 'pen and paper' typically used in Tactical Operations Centres (TOCs) at that time.

The Technology

Firentis' Smart Collaboration @ Joint Fires (SC@JF) is based on a previous solution that was developed for safety critical mission support in Air Traffic Management, named SmartStrips. The new product, that is still in a demonstration phase, is based on a distributed and fail-safe architecture combining three major elements: clients serving as flexible human machine interface, virtual servers as highly reliable service suppliers, and adapters providing universal external interfaces for data exchange with other information systems (including an interface to MIP-compliant systems).

Designed for command posts at brigade and division levels, a typical configuration for the system comprises two large touchscreen displays that automatically upload data from joint terminal attack controllers and alike on the ground. Displays include logging of friendly and enemy positions as well as target information; operational assessments including rules of engagement; risk assessment comprising 'danger close' parameters; and a compilation of effects available to complete the tasking. Information is automatically disseminated to multiple touchscreens- also available in wi-fi tablet form- around an operations room allowing the various specialists involved in a CAS mission to see and verify all the data.

SC@JF incorporates military concepts, including standard operating procedures and standardized processes, in the domain of Joint Fire Support and offers a highly innovative Collaboration and Decision Support Environment. The envisaged use of the system would be to assist operational staff to plan and coordinate engagements and analyse targets from strategic down to tactical level of command.

References: Digital Battlespace (1), Firentis (2)

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