4G Will Get You 10X
an advanced cellular system offers warfighters
up to 10 times the speed of 3G networks.
By Master Chief Petty Officer Chris Vertin, USA (Ret.), Lt. Col. Scott Brooks, USA, and Lt. Col. Dave Hernandez, USA
new 4G capability known as JOLTED TACTICS offers tactical units up to 10 times the wireless bandwidth, data rate and delivery speed of 3G
networks. The Internet protocol-based
system is designed to provide robust
communications to dismounted spe-
cial operations forces teams and gen-
eral purpose forces at the tactical level.
The system leverages innovations in 4G
Long Term Evolution cellular technolo-
gies, software-based encryption and
mobile Ka-band spread spectrum satel-
lite communications to rapidly deliver
megabits of data to mobile, dismounted
teams equipped with specially config-
ured mobile devices such as smart-
phones or netbooks.
The Joint Operational Long Term
Evolution Deployable (JOLTED) Tac-
tical Cellular System (TACTICS) also
features the ability for forces to securely
interface directly with existing command, control, intelli-
gence, surveillance and reconnaissance systems. This will not
only give them access to previously unavailable mission data
but also allow them to input information, potentially giving
tactical commanders a far more accurate common operation-
al picture. Using 4G Long Term Evolution (LTE)-based tech-
nology, dismounted forces can now use applications such as
streaming media, voice over Internet protocol (VoIP), email
and instant messaging for immediate situational awareness.
For example, remotely deployed forces equipped with
a specially configured JOLTED TACTICS 4G device can
exchange large video or imagery files in seconds rather than
minutes. Forces operating in urban environments in Afghan-
istan or other flashpoints can receive and immediately share
critical location and indication and warning data in usable
formats, such as map overlays of threat locations or video
from an unmanned aerial vehicle operating overhead.
JOLTED TACTICS also provides the capability to accom-
plish emerging missions using previously unavailable real- or
near-real-time information and intelligence products. As an
example, a specially configured JOLTED TACTICS hand-
set could be used by warfighters manning checkpoints in
Several of the services are trying out the JOLTED TAC TICS cellular
system to provide more data to warfighters in the field.
Afghanistan to access databases residing in the United States
to verify biometrically verify the identity of a potential adver-
sary on the spot.
Recognizing the value of 4G cellular networks, the U.S.
Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) asked the Joint
Staff J- 6, deputy director, command and control integra-
tion, C4 Assessments Division (C4AD) to help deliver this
force-multiplying capability directly to dismounted, remotely
operating forces. The challenge included not only identifying
a capable network transport, but also the security, applications
and equipment necessary for full, sure access.
Using readily available government and commercial off-
the-shelf equipment and software, the C4AD integrated a
unique third-generation (3G) cellular, personal digital assis-
tant/cellphone-based Internet protocol (IP) environment
called Tactical Cellular. With this demonstrated success-
fully in combat evaluations, Coalition Warrior Interoper-
ability Demonstration/Experiments (CWID/X) and Limited
Objective Assessments (LOAs), the C4AD used the lessons
in this issue
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