Information Warfare: Future Combat Systems 1.1


January23, 2007: 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.

But 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.


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