Allen-Vanguard and Track24 Defence develop new signal jamming update
A new system for automatically sending near real-time, beyond-line-of-sight (BLOS), machine-to-machine (M2M) updates, to electronic counter measure signal jamming solutions, has been developed by Allen-Vanguard and Track24 Defence.
Allen-Vanguard started working with Track24 Defence in April 2010 in a partnership designed to enhance its offering. Bobby Strawbridge, director of electronic countermeasure (ECM) program business development at Allen-Vanguard believes that electromagnetic battlespace situational awareness is the future for ECM development and ultimately every soldier or military asset will have a sensor sniffing the electromagnetic spectrum.
Strawbridge comments: “Our customers are operating in some of the most hostile regions in the world and they require innovative next generation ECM solutions. We were keen to work with a provider that could supply a secure commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) satellite backbone, so we could automate M2M alerting in the continued war against improvised explosive devices (IEDs).
“Jammers require real-time updates if they are to be as effective as possible. We knew if we could send these over a secure COTS data link then we would be able to offer our clients next-generation capability for very little extra cost. A WiFi link or a GSM connection is useless when you are in austere conditions miles from a transmitter; and while short burst data or SBD gives you very little bandwidth to play with, it does mean you can re-configure and receive data from the device regardless of its location or surroundings. A smaller pipe also uses less power, resulting in less battery drainage, and the BLOS functionality means if the device is captured then it can be quickly zeroised.”
Information from these assets will be passed to the electronic warfare centre so that the common operating picture can be updated. Data can then automatically be sent data back to front line personnel allowing assets to engage or evade.
Strawbridge claims it is this that will make M2M a key capability tool in future. He continues: “Very few COTS solutions provide round pegs for round holes – but the beauty of COTS is its flexibility. Solutions can easily be modified and adapted without incurring multi-million pound redevelopment expenses; modified COTS is the future. If end users want to rapidly incorporate new functionality then it is flexible enough to allow for this – COTS is a blank slate that we can develop as we see fit.”
Track24 Defence Sector Director, Giles Peeters, comments: “The potential of COTS situational command and control solutions is being realised. Low cost, low bandwidth L-band satellite is gaining in popularity as its capability enhancing benefits are explored. The work with Allen-Vanguard demonstrates exactly how this type of satellite communication can be used as part of an effective solution. We’re now in talks with other defence agencies that are also interested in exploring bespoke BLOS capability-enhancing solutions.”
Strawbridge concludes: “M2M is a never-ending journey – customers want advanced capability, but often do not actually know what is possible until they see it – M2M comms is the future, and once introduced to the concepts and potential functionality, customers quickly want to exploit the possibilities. COTS and M2M suit the ever-changing nature of the asymmetric battlefield. It is cost versus benefits – this Track24 Defence-supported solution, as an ECM add-on, is a fraction of the price of the end cost, but allows for massively increased automated M2M capability.