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Force XXI Battle Command Brigade and Below (FBCB2) Communications System. Purpose Background Specifications Applications The Future?. Purpose.
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The Army initiated the Force XXI Battlefield Digitization program in 1994, with the intent to proliferate and integrate digital communications and information management technologies across the combined arms spectrum. The purpose of this presentation is to provide information on one aspect of that program, the Force XXI Battle Command (Brigade & Below) Communications System.
FBCB2 is a digital, battle command information system intended to provide commanders, leaders, and soldiers—from brigade to individual soldier, and across all the Battlefield Functional Areas—improved command and control and enhanced situational awareness information. FBCB2 primarily consists of software, but also includes a ruggedized computer for those users and platforms without an existing computer system. Systems with existing computers capable of hosting FBCB2 software will receive the Embedded Battle Command software—a sub-set of FBCB2—and additional hardware as necessary. Embedded systems for the near term include the M2A3 Bradley Fighting Vehicle, the M1A2 System Enhancement Program Tank, and the Army Tactical Command and Control Systems (ATCCS).
The FBCB2 system is comprised of:
FBCB2's primary functions are to send and receive automatic position location reports derived from its interface with the Global Positioning System and to send and receive command and control message traffic via digital over-the-air radio transmissions. The Tactical Internet is the network of radios and routers that provide linkages to connect the myriad FBCB2 platforms (both vertically and horizontally) across the combined arms force. The Tactical Internet consists of the Enhanced Position Location Reporting System, the Single-Channel Ground and Airborne Radio System, and the Internet Controller router.
The FBCB2 system provides an incredible leap forward in the conduct of operations on the battlefield. Giving soldiers on the ground a near-omniscient view of the battlefield will help lift the chaotic “fog of war” that can lead to mistakes and “friendly fire” casualties. The Tactical Internet, as FBCB2 is called, takes data collected from thousands of Global Positioning Satellite sensors aboard vehicles and aircraft and integrates them with battlefield intelligence from a wide range of sources. The data are continuously updated on the fortified FBCB2 Web site and beamed to mobile units in the field. E-mail and voice transmissions provide additional information.
The system is protected by the strongest encryption available, and each onboard computer is equipped with an instant “self kill” mode, which will destroy the unit if it falls into enemy hands. By FY 2005, the devices will be compact enough to carry by individual soldiers. Their sensors will monitor the vital statistics of troops and their vehicles (much like the digital dog tags some troops already wear).
The United States Army is currently in the process of developing its future force structure. Integral to this is the “Unit of Action”, which will serve as the base combat formation, is the Future Combat System (FCS). FCS is actually a family of advanced, networked air and ground-based maneuver, maneuver support, and sustainment systems that will include manned and unmanned platforms.
FCS are networked via a C4ISR architecture including networked communications, network operations, sensors, Battle Command system, training, and both manned and unmanned Reconnaissance and Surveillance (R&S) capabilities that will enable levels of SA and synchronized operations heretofore unachievable.
FCS will operate as a Family of Systems (FoS) that will network existing systems, systems already under development, and new systems to be developed to meet the needs of the UA. The network will enable improved Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR), enhanced analytical tools, Joint exchange of blue and red force tracking down to the tactical level, battle command, real time sensor-shooter linkages, and increased synergy between echelons and within small units.