Latest News : JALN TCS: Lifting the fog of war

JALN TCS newsletter

How many warfighter and civilian lives have been needlessly lost because of a lack of accurate enemy location information? Ultra’s newest product line, the Joint Aerial Layered Network Tactical Communication System (JALN TCS) solves one of the most challenging problems on the battlefield today: providing the right information to the right personnel in real-time regardless of terrain or radio waveform. JALN TCS takes the real-time high bandwidth tactical communications capabilities historically reserved for higher tactical command and provides it at all levels: command, brigade and maneuver while stationary or on-the-move.

Providing real-time situational awareness at the maneuver level is critical to preventing friendly and civilian casualties and enhances warfighter abilities to understand an enemy’s true disposition and intent. JALN TCS seamlessly bridges distances and extends the Common Operational Picture (COP) over a wide, austere and complex operational area through an airborne payload and ground control station.

Even today, with our vast technological superiority, the fog of war is an ever present dynamic. In July 2008, the men of Company C, 2d Battalion, 503d Parachute Infantry Regiment valiantly endured four hours of intense close quarters combat defending their position in a battle in the village of Wanat in Afghanistan’s Waygal Valley. Nine American soldiers lost their lives. After a detailed and objective analysis of the battle, a U.S. Army review concluded that: “The proximate cause of casualties was the insurgents’ ability to arrive at Wanat essentially undetected and infiltrate into positions literally yards from the main ‘Combat Outpost’ (COP) and the ‘observation post’ (OP).” 1
Wanat 2
Like in so many instances throughout the history of warfare and even in our recent engagements, the “fog of war” obscured the tactical leaders’ ability to understand the true enemy disposition and intent in Waygal Valley. According to the Army study, “The “fog” persists even in an age in which a military force fields a large number of electronic devices to provide an ever increasing amount of situational awareness to commanders.” The intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) assets were managed at the theater level and were not dedicated to the brigade area of operations to provide more current and relevant intelligence when it was needed. Had the commanders in the Waygal Valley had the advantage of a clearer situational awareness picture, the outcome might have been significantly different.

Ultra is proud to present a critical component to the overall solution that can help lift this “fog of war” down to the tactical level, as shown in the following illustration:

JALN image
Aerial network

The JALN TCS payload on a manned or unmanned aircraft disables the enemy’s ability to move undetected by providing:

  • Tailored, relevant, synthesized, actionable intelligence to the lowest tactical level
  • Video management, relay, and dissemination—even over low bandwidth systems
  • Secure, anti-jam tactical data link network communications
  • File management and sharing, free-text, chat, and 9-line communication
  • Multi-channel radio relay and bridging (U/VHF, HAVEQUICK, SINCGARS & P-25)
  • Legacy system interoperability and operations with new waveforms

Utilizing combat-proven ADSI® core technology and TacViewC2™ tactical display software, JALN TCS translates and bridges tactical data links and hosts all of the common JTIDS terminals.

ATS is currently working on the next JALN TCS product, the Tactical Airborne Command, Control, Communications and Intelligence (C3I) Pod (TACPOD)™

Ultra’s TACPOD solution

“TACPOD provides the JALN TCS communications payload in a standard aircraft pod that can be flown on manned and unmanned aircraft. As a standalone system only requiring power, the TACPOD does not affect the safety-critical components of the aircraft and houses its own antennas. This unique capability minimizes the integration cost and significantly reduces the time required to get a payload flying,” said Jeff Harlan, TCS product line manager at ATS.

“The TACPOD allows current aircraft to have a multi-mission tactical communications role providing a persistent C3I capability in most combat environments.” With the JALN TCS payload in TACPOD form supporting information operations of a host of ISR assets, every brigade combat team (BCT) could have its own capability to deliver enhanced situational awareness to the warfighter at the “first” tactical level.

1The US Army Combat Studies Institute 2011. “Wanat, Combat Action in Afghanistan, 2008”

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