Network-centric warfare not working?

Discussion in 'Staff College and Staff Officers' started by msr, Apr 18, 2007.

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  1. msr

    msr LE

    http://www.popularmechanics.com/technology/military_law/4215715.html

    There's a half-billion dollars invested in the gear hanging off the heads, chests and backs of the soldiers of Alpha company. Digital maps displayed on helmet-mounted eyepieces show the position of all the men in the unit as they surround a block of concrete buildings and launch their attacks. Instead of relying on the hand signals and shouted orders that most infantrymen use, Alpha company communicates via advanced, encrypted radio transmissions with a range of up to a kilometer. It's more information than any soldiers have ever had about their comrades and their surroundings.

    But as Alpha kicks in doors, rounds up terror suspects and peals off automatic fire in deafening six-shot bursts, not one of the soldiers bothers to check his radio or look into the eyepiece to find his buddies on the electronic maps. "It's just a bunch of stuff we don't use, taking the place of useful stuff like guns," says Sgt. James Young, who leads a team of four M-240 machine-gunners perched on a balcony during this training exercise at Fort Lewis, Wash. "It makes you a slower, heavier target."

    msr
     
  2. Rather like that annoying constant chatter in your ear from the PRR when you are trying to concentrate on whats going on around you, as well as wanting to listen to the Command net.

    Cant wait until FIST comes in.

    F
     
  3. in_the_cheapseats

    in_the_cheapseats LE Moderator

    An interesting post just as a trial starts of FIST equipment down on the Plain!

    This doesn't surprise me in the least. With our smaller expenditure, I think that the UK effort will prove too bulky and less capable too. Give it another 10 years and a couple of up and coming techs (fuel cells for one) and there may be a chance of it all coming together - as it is, I hope we have enough guts to say "no" for the time being. We don't need the extra weight.

    Someone simply saying "it's really good" doesn't hack it for me and I, for one, will read this story and continue to ask how you quantify the supposed operational effectiveness increase that this type of equipment people hope will give us. These troops on the ground in the fight obviously don't find it useful and if that's the case, it shouldn't be carried.

    If only we could concentrate on getting radios that worked, that were secure and had the range we needed without adding weight.......

    I can't help but think that we will find ourselves back to where we were about 1916 - two years of weighing soldiers down with more and more kit, then a radical shift back down the route of minimalisation and, cynical me - the renewed ability to move, run and fight with the kit you do have to carry and need.....

    Of course this is far too pragmatic and realistic a view. But hey, got to dream :(
     
  4. Who's driving this - military or commercial needs?
     
  5. in_the_cheapseats

    in_the_cheapseats LE Moderator

    The military of course - but without an idea of what they really think they need or the proof to back up their wish list.

    I get the feeling it it is a case of "wouldn't it be cool if it could do this..." with the commercial boys rubbing their hands in glee as we change the spec yet again.
     
  6. Bowman and DII all over again...

    Litotes
     
  7. And GD, EDS and EADS all say "we can do that for you, but it wasn't in the original requirement and it'll cost you extra". Ker-ching!
     
  8. Schaden

    Schaden LE Book Reviewer

    Saw all the gee whiz stuff on something about the Stryker units - looked really impressive but I kept wondering who the poor sods will be that keep everything updated minute by minute.
     
  9. Bang on the money Cheapseats.

    We haven't got IFF working between vehicles and aircraft yet. This sort of thing is a great idea but not usable in combat. I might not have any experience of being under fire but I deal with this sort of technology on a daily basis and making it useful in a civvy surveying role would be hard enough. For a military role - forget it.

    Only bit that's worthwhile would be if everyone had a mobile phone sized device with GPS on it, it would be possible for IFF (AIR, AVN or Armour) to work from it. It could be useful for finding people too. I'm certain that it's information overload for the infanteer if it's on a helmet mounted visor. Useful in armoured vehicles mind you. Look up the Leopard II situational awareness system video on youtube.
     
  10. As I suspected - comparison to Bowman, right on the money - literally!
     
  11. Only bit that's worthwhile would be if everyone had a mobile phone sized device with GPS on it

    Those are now called "mobile phones". See Nokia E61, E90, N95, Hewlett Packard HW6915 and Media Companion series.
     
  12. This would be great. Amazingly, just like AIRWAVE radios used by emergency services in the UK. Transmit, receive securely, make mobile calls, patch through to anywhere in the network.. all the things BOWMAN doesn't do well and its the size of a big mobile phone. Sure it needs some masts and stuff but surely thats not insurmountable!

    Sadly it'll never happen... We'll just keep doing the starhip trooperr thing..
     
  13. Well, similar. A GPS mobile phone would need some modification / reprogramming to do this job. You would also need a cellular network covering the battlefield. I agree the technology is similar but it wouldn't really do the job. Having said that I bet that Nokia could develop a suitable product in about 18 months given an order!
     
  14. Well, you can get small (picocell) Node-B stations for under $10k now, with wireless or satellite backhaul. The ROK is putting the whole thing on 802.16e..
     
  15. Hello? Hello?

    I am sorry, I think the fish just fell out of my ear.