Next-generation FBCB2 system from Northrop Grumman approved for fielding

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla., 24 Feb. 2011. The U.S. Army approved for fielding the next-generation Force XXI Battle Command Brigade and Below (FBCB2) system, called Joint Capabilities Release (JCR). FBCB2 JCR, developed by Northrop Grumman Corp. (NYSE:NOC) in McLean, Va., will give warfighters enhanced capabilities for battle command.

Feb 24th, 2011

Posted by John McHale
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla., 24 Feb. 2011. The U.S. Army approved for fielding the next-generation Force XXI Battle Command Brigade and Below (FBCB2) system, called Joint Capabilities Release (JCR). FBCB2 JCR, developed by Northrop Grumman Corp. (NYSE:NOC) in McLean, Va., will give warfighters enhanced capabilities for battle command. JCR will be incorporated into the LandWarNet/Battle Command Baseline for fielding to deploying units scheduled to receive software block 2.
The upgrades include an increase in network bandwidth that allows the system to move more information to more users within seconds rather than in minutes. JCR also provides a common FBCB2 platform solution for both the Army and U.S. Marine Corps.
The system includes Blue Force Tracking 2 (BFT 2), a high-tech, high-speed force-tracking satellite-communications network. The Army says BFT 2 will be roughly 10 times faster than the existing BFT system. When JCR is fielded with the new BFT 2 transceiver and network upgrade, friendly positions will be updated in seconds.
More than 95,000 FBCB2 systems have been deployed worldwide, forming the world's largest tactical network. The system has been successfully fielded for 16 years.
"The ability to receive and share battlefield data through a broad-based, reliable network is increasingly important and critical to the mission. JCR provides new collaboration tools and other enhancements that are orders of magnitude more capable than what is available to soldiers and Marines today," says Joe G. Taylor, Jr., vice president of the Ground Combat Systems business unit within Northrop Grumman's Information Systems sector.
With JCR, warfighters will also be able to share more broadly critical, sensitive information. The BFT 2 will include a new Programmable In-Line Encryption Device that is fully compatible with JCR.
Other new JCR capabilities include the Commercial Joint Mapping Tool Kit and an over-the-air self-descriptive situational awareness (SDSA) capability. SDSA will eliminate inflexible fixed databases and allow FBCB2-equipped units to change task organizations in the field to meet new mission requirements.
The new JCR approach is called the "Battle Command Product Line" (BCPL) and is designed to correct the stovepipe development approach taken by earlier command and control systems. Properly executed, BCPL will enable the Army to develop, test, certify, and deploy software capabilities more quickly and at a lower cost.
The version that will be fielded is JCR-Vehicle L-Band (v) 1.1.1.4 V-4. The Army and Marine Corps are currently testing JCR V1.3.1 and considering it for a fielding upgrade this year.
FBCB2 links communication devices, sensors, vehicles, rotary-wing aircraft, and weapons platforms in a seamless digital network to provide a clear, continuous, and common picture of the battlefield. Most FBCB2 systems communicate via a satellite-based network; about 30 percent use the Enhanced Position Location Reporting System, or EPLRS, tactical radio network.
Northrop Grumman won the first FBCB2 development contract in January 1995.

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