A software-based fusion tool aims to ease the problem of tactical information overload by collecting and parsing incoming data, sending just the right types of intelligence to users in real time. The system represents this data graphically on a single
screen, superimposing it over satellite
and 3-D map imagery showing friendly
and known enemy unit locations.
Cutting through the fog of war has challenged commanders for thousands of years. One potential solution is the
iCommand command and control ( C2) fusion engine, which
has operated in the classified world for several years supporting special operations forces command centers. Developed by Austin, Texas-based Textron Systems Advanced
Information Solutions, it merges multiple data streams
flowing into command centers into a single, unified picture,
explains Harvey Davis, director of business development.
Up to 19 individual mission command-type systems
can be running simultaneously in a typical U.S. military
command center—from intelligence and video feeds to
geospatial tools and overlays, he notes. Add data from systems such as Blue Force Tracking and others that intend
to create a comprehensive situational awareness picture,
and the flow of information can be chaotic. These various
feeds, programs and software tools produce operational
plans, synchronization and collection matrices, operational
orders and a variety of reports. Combined with communication systems such as email, web portals, telephone and
radio, these platforms occupy valuable server and equipment space in a command center, limiting overall mobility,
flexibility and situational awareness. The fusion tool integrates these systems into a “single pane of glass,” according
to the company.
Textron presented an early version of the system to an
unnamed U.S. special operations customer in 2013, working
A data fusion system converts
information feeds into a
coherent operational picture.
BY HENRY S.