Together with EADS Telekom, ESG Elektroniksystem-und Logistik-GmbH is developing a new computer system for the planning, controlling and monitoring of the German army’s communications network. In future, it will thus be possible to plan the required communications structure more effectively based on the existing hardware available to the troops in the run-up to their deployment. The planning and management system currently in development is known as IRIS, which translated stands for “integrated, computer-supported, information transmission controlling and network management”.

One reason behind this development, commissioned by the army, is the growing number of German troops being sent to regions with poor communications networks (Bosnia, Afghanistan etc.). The army does in fact possess top-of-the-range hardware, with which effective connections can be established, yet what is missing is an adequate software system to allow the cross-system implementation of this hardware (AUTOKO, BIGSTAF etc.) to be planned beforehand. This is especially important because the success of military operations depends on the functioning communications connections between the soldiers and their commanding officers. This is particularly applicable against the background of networked missions or “Network Centric Capabilities” which envisions for the closely-linked assignment of sensors, information, weapon systems and decision-makers. In addition, a particular challenge is that military units generally move and thus the communications networks must follow them. The planning and management system, IRIS, supports this necessary mobility.

The computer system IRIS is based on open standards. It will be realised as an integrated, intranet-based complete solution, which is prepared for future technological reconfigurations of the army’s communications network and can seamlessly fit into the future IT environment of the German Armed Forces. IRIS will make it possible to carry out the planning of frequencies and the radio link system as well as the planning of additional service networks. Moreover, IRIS supports military command, for example, amongst other things, in the creation of messages and to show maps and situations.

A time period of two years is envisaged for the realisation of the IRIS system. ESG and EADS will divide the work equally, whereby ESG is the main contractor. With IRIS, ESG is strengthening its range of competencies to include the field of planning, development and integration of information systems. Its success in this field will be shown in the coming months when its leading developed mobile C3I system, HEROS-2/1 Batch 2, is introduced into two multinational corps. HEROS supports the army at corps, division and brigade level and in the long term will be incorporated into an integrated information management system of the army.