Army program to modernize BFT
(Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL

ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. -- The Army's network modernization efforts are extending to its friendly force tracking system, delivering enhanced, resilient and uninterrupted situational awareness to the warfighter through a collaborative approach.

The Army's friendly force tracking system known as Blue Force Tracking (BFT), provides tracking, and Situational Awareness/Command and Control (SA/C2) on more than 120,000 ground/air vehicle platforms across the Army and Joint services. In August, Project Manager Mission Command (PM MC) set a new path forward for the future system, Mounted Mission Command-Transport (MMC-T).

MMC-T will provide significant improvements to SA/C2 message delivery and SATCOM capabilities by increasing resiliency and integrating additional communications pathways through the Common Operating Environment (COE). MMC-T will also be an integrated sub-system of the Integrated Tactical Network (ITN).

The PM MC-led effort involves numerous stakeholders and leverages the C5ISR Center-chaired BFT-3 Open Systems Architecture (OSA) Consortium, enabling Joint DoD stakeholders and collaboration among industry partners through Cooperative Research and Development Agreements (CRADAs).

The consortium aids the government in defining the non-proprietary interfaces and standards necessary for a MMC/BFT Modular Open Systems Architecture (MOSA). The modular architecture is designed to allow MMC-T to counter emerging threats through rapid technology insertion and agile acquisition. The MOSA defines a network that will be able to operate in a contested and congested electronic warfare spectrum, and cyber-challenged environments by providing anti-jam, Low Probability of Intercept and Low Probability of Detection (LPI/LPD) capabilities.

"The MMC-T strategy embodies an evolving threat focused, common sense path toward achieving a timely and economical solution for BFT modernization, in line with the Chief of Staff of the Army's network modernization priorities," said Ifeanyi Igwulu, MMC-T/futures project officer, Product Manager Joint Battle Command-Platform (PdM JBC-P).

MMC-T presents significant cost savings while enabling open competition by collapsing the BFT-1 and BFT-2 SATCOM networks into a segment of the MOSA-based network, and leveraging government-owned technical data, software packages and existing hardware.

"This approach benefits CRADA partners by maximizing opportunities for competition to deliver new capabilities to Soldiers throughout the lifecycle of the system," said Adam Webb, electronic engineer supporting PdM JBC-P.

The consortium will continue to define MOSA interfaces and standards for MMC-T in order to inform the MMC-T Transceiver request for proposal, or RFP, set to be released in the first quarter of fiscal year 2021. The MMC-T RFP will be supported by a modularized build of the current BFT-2 waveform. This modular waveform will allow the government to acquire and deploy transceivers from additional partners and sources, providing industry additional opportunities to compete.

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