DY 4 and Systran to ruggedize Fibre Channel

FORT MONMOUTH, N.J. - Experts at the U.S. Army Communications-Electronics Command (CECOM) are using existing technology to build an advanced digital tactical operations center to support a future series of tests of fiber optic-guided weapons.

Jul 1st, 1998

Operations center developed for fiber optic weapons

By John Rhea

FORT MONMOUTH, N.J. - Experts at the U.S. Army Communications-Electronics Command (CECOM) are using existing technology to build an advanced digital tactical operations center to support a future series of tests of fiber optic-guided weapons.

The project involves available Applique-based software and seeks to mount the tactical center on a High-Mobility Multi-Wheeled Vehicle - better known as a Humvee. Applique refers to upgrade packages designed to integrate Army combat vehicles into the future digital battlefield.

The prototype development, which CECOM researchers are doing in-house, involves outfitting the vehicles and providing a table-top simulator for future system development, says Gayle Grant, the CECOM program manager.

CECOM engineers finished the first prototype center last February, at which time they digitally equipped three other vehicles of a test brigade, she says. In all, CECOM experts plan to build six centers on Humvees, all for the 101st Airborne Division at Fort Campbell, Ky., as part of Task Force-21 exercises to develop digital battlefield technology.

The tactical centers and the weapons are part of a revived Enhanced Fiber Optic Guided Missile (E-FOG-M) program managed at the Army`s Aviation and Missile Command at Huntsville, Ala., with overall requirements from the Army`s Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC) at Fort Monroe, Va.

E-FOG-M is an experimental program of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) in Arlington, Va. Prime contractor on the missiles and launchers is the Boeing Missiles and Space Division in Huntsville, Ala.

The hardware is going to TRADOC`s Dismounted Battlespace Battle Lab at Fort Benning, Ga., where Army personnel will test it in about two years. In the meantime, beginning this summer, Army leaders plan preliminary field experiments at Fort Benning. Development work using the simulator will continue in parallel at the Land Warrior Testbed facility, also at Fort Benning.

The basic idea is to integrate sensors and weapons by using existing command and control capabilities. E-FOG-M is to increase the Army`s ability to hit enemy forces from long distances.

If the field tests succeed, Army leaders expect E-FOG-M to grow to about 15 launchers and 300 of the missiles, which launch crews guide to their targets using visual information transmitted back to them over the optical fibers.

The initial range will be near 11 miles, but this is expected to grow to 31 to 37 miles. An earlier FOG-M program in the 1980s failed to move past prototype.

More in Test