The U.S. Army successfully tested its battlefield Internet, by having
a UAV transfer video, in real time, to an AH-64 gunship 75 kilometers away.
This is all part of Future Combat Systems 1.1, a system of communications
equipment designed to operate in combat equipment, and provide the same quick
and flexible transfer of information we have become accustomed to on the
Internet. Passing video around the battlefield requires wireless and encrypted
communications. That sort of thing has been possible in offices and homes for
several years. But on the battlefield, the ranges are longer, and the
environment rather more severe. But the test showed that the system works, and
other tests have had UAVs and infantry getting UAV video as well. The basic
idea is for everyone to be able to quickly share data. Where this is already working,
usually via improvised equipment, in Iraq and Afghanistan, the results have
been spectacular. The enemy is at an enormous disadvantage, and friendly troops
are much safer.
getting to work with everyone will be expensive. Over twenty billion dollars
worth of new communications equipment will have to be installed in vehicles,
aircraft, and on infantry troops. The process is being speeded up because
there's a war on, American troops are using some of this equipment now. The
army and marines do not dare slow down with this, because their troops have
email accounts, and can apply fast and massive media pressure to generals, as
well as politicians, if the battlefield Internet doesn't keep coming.