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06 18 2014

Technical feasibility of critical FMN component validated

Technical feasibility of a critical Federated Mission Network component validated: NCI Agency successfully demonstrate secure Internet Protocol-over-Radio capability to NATO AWACS at Unified Vision 2014.

Collaborative and timely decision-making is playing an increasingly important role in the command and control (C2) of deployed forces. Forces engaged in joint operations and deployed over wider areas rely increasingly on low-bandwidth BLOS communication systems and network-enabled capability (NEC) for their support.

Growing requirements for networked and collaborative decision-support systems - supported by a low-bandwidth network bearer service – have placed an increased emphasis on the operational utility of IP networking and services. To provide timely and effective support, mobile C2 platforms (e.g. AWACS, Command Ships) as well as mobile force elements must be able to readily connect to mission networks.

A secure IP-over-Radio gateway capability is called out as critical mission requirement in the draft NATO Federated Mission Networking Implementation Plan (NFIP). During Trial Unified Vision 2014 (UV 14), NCI Agency successfully demonstrated the Airborne Networking Capability (ANC) and the Deployable Ground Entry Point (DGEP). This capability has been developed by NCI Agency in cooperation with and under sponsorship of NATO's Airborne Early Warning and Control Force. Trial UV14 marks the latest and most successful deployment of the NAEWC&F Airborne Networking Capability, as ongoing Concept-Development and Experimentation (CD&E) of secure/wireless IP-networking capability in support of expanded mission sets and capabilities.

The Airborne Networking Capability in combination with the Deployable Ground Entry Point provides secure IP-over-Radio connectivity between ground-based Joint Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (JISR) systems and an E-3A Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) in flight. This IP-over-Radio capability provides IP-ready network interfaces and media-control appliques to existing E-3A's low-bandwidth bearers such as UHF/HF radios, Iridium SATCOM, and UHF-DAMA SATCOM systems.

Although originally developed by NCI Agency in response to ISAF's requirements for IP-networking and XMPP 'Chat' capability onboard NATO AWACS, the Deployable Ground Entry Point's architecture and technology allows the addition of other bearers such as VHF, commercial cellular technology 3G or 4G/LTE, Wi-Fi or WiMAX, making it a universal capability for all services with a requirement for IP-over-Radio connectivity in mission networks.

These new deployable capabilities support important operational objectives for 'first-responders' such as:

• Digitally-Aided Close Air Support,

• Immediate messaging and reporting in support of Command and Control (XMPP Chat),

• Time-sensitive-targeting (FAST)

• JISR management (JISR-product sharing and CSD meta-data replication),

• Cooperative Electronic-Support-Measure Operations,

• Maritime surveillance and tracking,

• Air traffic control,

• Enhanced situational awareness (NATO friendly force information (FFI), ICC/JREAP), and

• Joint-Range-Extension for tactical data links (JREAP C).