Story and photos by Maj. Bryce Gatrell
2ABCT PAOThe 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, is upgrading its tracked vehicle fleet - M1A2 Abrams, M2A3 Bradley Fighting Vehicle and M109A6 Paladin systems - to the new Joint Battle Command-Platform."This is a significant upgrade, the Soldiers are now receiving the most advanced technology we can provide them," said Loren Simpson, fielding execution lead, Bowhead Logistics Services. "The advances in technology have now come to the forefront on the modern battlefield and every Soldier will be better off for it. Not only for their own protection, not only for winning wars, but for those around the world where these brave men and women deploy to and assist in times of need."The JBC-P is the Army's newest evolution of the Force XXI Battle Command Brigade-and-Below/Blue Force Tracking systems, according to Program Executive Office Command Control Communications-Tactical website peoc3t.army.mil/mc/jbcp.php.This new system equips Soldiers with a faster satellite network, secure data encryption, advanced logistics tracking and greatly reduces the risk of fratricide, according to the site.The JBC-P allows commanders and crews to see all friendly forces on the battlefield whether on the new or old system, said Maj. Christopher Riley, brigade operations officer, 2ndABCT, 1st Inf. Div."It helps support simple dialogue with other systems and streamlines information flow," he said.Soldiers also have the ability to talk with one another by using a chat function. This chat option provides an additional means of communication when other forms, like radios, could be out of range or inoperable.The 'Dagger' brigade's tracked vehicles were previously equipped with the FBCB2/BFT 6.5 system. This is an older version, which operated on the BFT 1 network. However, the wheeled vehicle fleet operates on the new JBC-P version and runs on the new BFT 2 network.Although these systems operated on different networks, they still communicated and provided command and control, but they had limitations. The new upgrades will fix those issues and provide our warfighters with a faster and more secure friendly force tracking system, Simpson said."JBC-P has newer graphics, newer user interface buttons, touch-to-zoom maps, drag-and-drop icons, more user friendly messaging formats and many other items too long to list," he said. "Soldiers operating this system will see a marked improvement over their older systems."Soldiers of the 2nd ABCT, 1st Inf. Div., work hard to maintain their readiness. They recently completed a rotation at the National Training Center at Fort Irwin, California, and have many upcoming gunneries. The JBC-P upgrade is just another way the brigade is able to increase their readiness and ability to fight tonight."The system substantially increases our lethality because of its secured satellite connectivity and upgraded interface, which is much more user-friendly and has faster transmitting data speeds," Riley said. "We anticipate this new system to be incorporated into our combat platforms and provide increased readiness for deployments and to work alongside our joint partners in the operating environment."