When Michael Holm, President and CEO of Systematic, thinks about his company’s Battle Management Product, he can’t help but think of the song “Born to be wild”.
The song conjures up images of tanks and armoured vehicles tracking through all manner of terrain. The song typifies an attitude; it describes a feeling, and it could be the anthem for any soldier out in the action. It is precisely this situation where one can expect to find Systematic SitaWare Battle Management.
Understanding the modern soldier
Today’s soldier has typically grown up in an age of video gaming, mobile phones and the pervasive internet. The modern soldier is computer literate and is used to having intuitive computer software.
While many computer gaming companies try to emulate real life battle scenario in their games, many software vendors are trying to incorporate the intuitive design of computer gaming into their solutions.
Systematic is a strong believer in getting to know the end user and having a clear mental picture of where its software will be used. The reasoning is: “Understanding the end user allows you to understand their needs”. It is only when a company grasps the pressures and dangers a user is facing on a daily basis that they can begin to truly build intuitive software.
The term “Mission critical”, takes on a whole new meaning at the tactical level. It is in theatre that battles are lost or won. Best made plans can come unstuck at the first hurdle, each turn is unpredictable, danger is never far away and tension is always high.
An IT solution will not miraculously remove the danger, but a reliable, robust and comprehensive tool that is easy to use in the heat of battle can provide a competitive edge.
Standard-based, off-the-shelf products
With the end-user scenario firmly entrenched in the psyche of its developers; Systematic has built a suite of products that are set to change the mindset for defence-specific software procurement.
Gone are the days of large, costly bespoke systems which can take years to specify, even longer to develop and that have a very real probability of being obsolete before they’re even completed. In its place comes a range of off-the-shelf products that are built on international standards and open architecture.
By utilizing the standards and adopting an open architecture in system’s design, vendors like Systematic have been able to create products lines that can be used as “building blocks” to create a very specific national system that are based on international standards.
The shift in design gives nations the best of both worlds. It provides the majority of the functionality that one would normally expect from a bespoke development and the interoperability that one can expect from the use of international standards.
Moving from bespoke development to off-the-shelf products also gives a range of “extra” benefits. Upgrading and maintenance of the system is significantly easier than with bespoke solutions; nations receive the benefit of others’ experience in that all development ends up expanding the base of core functionality of the product; and, off-the-shelf products are thoroughly tested to ensure that they are readily deployable.
SitaWare Battle Management Capabilities
SitaWare Battle Management contains all the essential functionality that one would expect from a command and control solution. Situational awareness that allows a common operating picture to be shared throughout the entire chain of command; blue force tracking that assists in reducing the incidence of friendly fire, especially on coalition missions; sensors integrations that integrate information from weapon systems, vehicles, laser range finders, etc. to provide one of the most comprehensive overviews of all elements within the battlespace; and, much more.
In order to increase the speed of command, information must be exchanged quicker than ever before. The traditional manual and semi-automated methods of achieving situational awareness are rapidly becoming obsolete. All of the observations coming in from the field need to be shared simultaneously in as close to real time as possible, as delays can cost lives.
The SitaWare Battle Management solution offers comprehensive situational awareness. Through an accurate, up-to-date overview of the battlespace, commanders are continuously supported in making qualified decisions, thereby increasing their operational capabilities.
Accelerated decision making
In the days of increased operations at the joint and coalition level, sharing information between forces and nations is also essential. Modern defence forces need a battle management system that is open and can be readily integrated with a range of third party systems.
By reducing the barriers to communication between those in the field and the rest of the chain of command, Systematic SitaWare Battle Management solution creates a superior common operational picture and helps accelerate the decision making process.
In the heat of battle time is of the essence. There is no time to read computer manuals, no time to type lengthy plans. In this environment computer systems must be tough, robust, intuitive and above all flawless. Having systems with a proven operational track record is becoming increasingly important to nations that expect to purchase today, deploy tomorrow.
The battle management solution is specifically designed for intense tactical situations. With touch screen user interface and tailored to ruggedised equipment making the solution extremely useful in the operational environment.
Totally integrated chain of command
Each product in the Systematic SitaWare Suite has its foundation based upon a common core technological framework and SitaWare Battle Management is no exception.
Using the core as a basis, the individual products are built to specifically cover the needs of a distinct echelon of command. Having a base of core functionality ensures that all products within the suite work together seamlessly and give the various levels of command the information that they need to make the life and death decisions they face each day.
In relation to SitaWare Battle Management the tactical commander can quickly and efficiently report any changes that have been observed in the field to others immediately. Reports such as those in relation to friendly, neutral or hostile positions are automatically shared with other units.
As the operation progresses, a forward commander can draft alternative courses of action on the fly. The solution has a freehand drawing tool that allows the commander to create tactical drawings and disseminate them through the chain of the command with the push of a button.
At the forefront
For several years now, Systematic has experienced rapid growth within its core business areas and increasing interest from NATO and Partnership for Peace Nations for its command and control product, namely Systematic SitaWare. Recently there has also been considerable interest from non NATO forces in Asia.
According to the company, SitaWare has been purchased for use at various levels by defence forces in the UK, Denmark, Finland, Romania, Sweden, Slovenia, Bulgaria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Spain and NATO.
In July 2007, the Finnish military announced that they would use SitaWare to form the core of the MATI II project for their network centric warfare operations in the future.
At the time of signing Lt. Col. Jukka Kauppila from the Finnish Army Command said, “We needed a system that would be fully operational in a relatively short time span and the off-the-shelf aspect of Systematic SitaWare meant that we received a system that is not only robust, but can also be implemented immediately.”
A little over 12 months later, both the Danish Army and the Swedish Army announced that they too will be using SitaWare in the future. Again in signing their contracts both Sweden and Denmark pointed to the fact that they need to be immediately deployable for international operations with an open, battle-proven solution as the main reason for committing to Systematic.
Facts about Battle Management
* Map management - Multiple maps with support for ERSI map files. Map management is greatly simplified compared to “desktop” SitaWare, where pre-configured layouts (raster, satellite, vector, coloured terrain) as chosen by a few clicks.
* Layers and Navigation - Show / Hide pre-specified overlays. The same overlays as in SitaWare are supported, however the selection shown is simplified to a few clicks on the current plan, current OWN and ENEMY situation.
* Symbology - APP6-a / MilStd 2525b. The full military symbols set for tactical graphics can be displayed, and the operator can draw tactical graphics as well.
* Free-hand drawing - The operator has a “free-hand” drawing capability, drawing unstructured information on the map, which can then be exchanged with other installations (typically other vehicles).
* Integrated Chat and Messaging - Select addressee(s) from list or the map. Send message from predefined templates. Attach files. Inbox and outbox with persistence.
* Sensor Integration (cameras, laser range finders, etc.)
* Designed to provide bandwidth efficient data exchange with low latency over an IP/Non-IP based radio network, customisations are available for IP/Non-IP capable radios from a number of the leading vendors.
For more information on Systematic SitaWare Battle Management, visit www.systematic.com/sitaware
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