ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. (April 14, 2014) -- The Communications-Electronics Center of the Research, Development and Engineering Command is pursuing the integration of communications, electronic warfare, and position, navigation and timing capabilities into common modular hardware, the center's Space and Terrestrial Communications director told guests at the Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association Aberdeen-Maryland Chapter luncheon here, April 9.
Dr. Paul Zablocky, director CERDEC S&TCD, explained that neither the Soldier nor vehicular platform can keep pace with speed and scale of C4ISR capability, nor can it accommodate the size, weight and power requirements of desired capabilities using the current approach. "The Army has historically implemented a multitude of separate 'boxes' on individual platforms to realize each platform's required radio-based capabilities - communications, EW, etc. The Army is unable to evolve or refresh these capabilities easily, cost-effectively, or at the pace of commercial technology evolution due to complex integration challenges, lack of commercial competition, and proprietary interfaces," he said.As Zablocky walked among the room of approximately 140 government and industry guests, he described CERDEC's plan to develop platform specific "A and B-kits," or standard platform configurations. The two kits will provide the infrastructure made up of open, modular hardware and software utilizing open interface standards. Domain cards would plug into a backplane chassis to determine function and capability (e.g. communications, electronic warfare, position navigation and timing).This "software-defined RF" would allow for seamless interoperability between C4ISR/EW functions, significantly decrease Soldier and platform size, weight and power requirements and configuration burden, and enable rapid insertion of new technologies into a common chassis -- allowing the Army to outpace adversary threats in the C4ISR domain, Zablocky said."The Army currently spends billions procuring similarly functioning but developmentally stove-piped C4ISR and electronic warfare systems," he said. "We're building on prior Navy and DARPA science and technology investments to develop leap-ahead technologies to provide an intelligent C4ISR network that provides seamless and cooperative operation of RF systems. The time is right to change the way C4ISR/EW systems are engineered and integrated onto platforms," Zablocky said.ABOUT COMMUNICATIONS-ELECTRONICS RESEARCH, DEVELOPMENT and ENGINEERING CENTERCERDEC is part of the U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command, which has the mission to develop technology and engineering solutions for America's Soldiers.RDECOM is a major subordinate command of the U.S. Army Materiel Command. AMC is the Army's premier provider of materiel readiness -- technology, acquisition support, materiel development, logistics power projection, and sustainment -- to the total force, across the spectrum of joint military operations. If a Soldier shoots it, drives it, flies it, wears it, eats it or communicates with it, AMC provides it.