Posted by John McHaleGAITHERSBURG, Md., 24 July 2010. During the recent Joint Users Interoperability Communications Exercise (JUICE), warfighters used a Lockheed Martin tactical network planner that incorporated three-dimensional situational awareness to facilitate mobile, ad hoc networking. The Tactical Communications Planner (TCP) utilized modeling and simulation tools and analysis algorithms to meet the challenges of today's highly dynamic tactical edge networks."Today's tactical communications planning and management software suffers from several operational constraints including limited connectivity, constrained bandwidth, and lack of integrated planning tools to reduce network planning timeline and complexity," says Mark Norris, vice president with Lockheed Martin’s IS&GS-Defense. "Our planner showed that these capabilities can be automated to provide a flexible and pervasive networking capability that addresses the challenges of modern battlefields."During the three week exercise, the TCP met or exceeded 98 percent of JUICE test requirements, company officials say. The Planner showed how theater to unit level forces can plan and coordinate tactical networks and communications systems in real-time. The web-enabled, net-centric tool was used in various scenarios, providing users with real-time and rapid re-planning capabilities, peer to peer and hierarchical planning. A three dimensional map provided geographic imaging of planned equipment locations and helped determine optimal placement, enabling the user to view the terrain of an area early in the planning process.