Command and control system unveiled

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Fulcrum Solutions and EADS have unveiled their command and control system, which they hope will be adopted by the South African National Defence Force.South African military software solutions provider Fulcrum Solutions and multinational aerospace, defence and related services company EADS have unveiled their tactical command and control system (TC² System), which they hope will be adopted by the South African National Defence Force (SANDF).

The TC² System is based on the German “Faust” battlefield command and control system that was developed by EADS over a period of 10 years, says Fulcrum Solutions CEO André Wolmarans. Fulcrum changed the software code of the German solution and adapted it to meet the requirements of SA and the African region.

“Command and control is a strategic area of defence that needs to have local solutions, says Wolmarans.

Last year, EADS and Fulcrum signed an agreement to work together in the field of command, control and intelligence, enabling the representation of EADS initiatives in this space, the localisation and enhancements of EADS products for SA and Africa, and the support, training and legacy integration of solutions in SA.

Peacekeeping

Wolmarans notes that the German army command and control system was developed in 1995, evolving into the Faust tactical command and control system in 2001, which was a section-to-brigade-level system, including weapon-specific modules. This system, he says, has been used for peacekeeping in Afghanistan, Bosnia and Kosovo, by the United Nations (UN) and the NATO Response Force.

In 2005 the Faust system was upgraded from a section-level to division-level system, which included both weapon and branch-specific modules, and was field tested, he says.

More than 350 command installations have been delivered for both the NATO Response Force and the UN missions, he adds, saying it has received positive feedback from soldiers.

“The TC² System is the latest software version adapted to the needs of the SANDF,” he states, adding that this TC² System brings together all command and control information and forms the central part of the command and control system.

In addition, Wolmarans says, user feedback generates continuous improvements to the supported features. For enhancements such as integration of SANDF doctrine and workflow, implementation of mission relevant functionality and adaptability to future tactical communications systems, Fulcrum will carry out an on-going process of adapting the system to national and regional needs.

Tactical communications

“The TC² System supports several communication interfaces, including HF, VHF, UHF, Inmarsat C, ISDN, Eurocom, GSM and Tetrapol. It will also support Link-ZA, a local South African communications protocol, to make best use of the available tactical communications.

“The system was designed by soldiers for soldiers,” Wolmarans points out, and the local adaptation, modification and enhancements by an innovation cycle will include SANDF soldiers.

“The TC² System is the only battle-proven command and control system in the world at this stage, and it is seen as a possible solution to be used by the UN in Africa as in Europe. In a war scenario, central military HQ needs a central hub or software to communicate with all units on the battlefield.

“This solution can help with interpreting the battlefield, helping planning, predicting and acting proactively. With this collaboration there will be a huge European transfer of knowledge into SA, which gives us the opportunity to build on 10 years` experience,” Wolmarans says.



Fulcrum is hoping to take advantage of the SANDF`s large-scale acquisition drive, which includes the need to find a suitable command and control system. Acquisition tenders are expected to be announced during the first half of this year and Fulcrum is expecting to face competition from companies such as Saab Grintek, ADS-Thales and a few smaller players.