The US Army has awarded Northrop Grumman Corporation a contract of $296m to continue development of the distributed common ground system-army (DCGS-A) mobile basic system for brigade combat teams (BCT ).

DCGS-A mobile basic is the army’s latest in a series of DCGS-A systems designed to access and ingest multiple data types from a wide variety of intelligence sensors, sources and databases. The new system will deliver greater operational and logistical advantages over the currently-fielded DCGS-A version 3 and the nine ISR programmes it replaces.

The critical upgrade to DCGS-A will strengthen the army’s current fleet of multiple fielded intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) ground analysis and exploitation systems and significantly empowers individual soldiers at all levels by providing them with modern, common tools and services for accurate, time-sensitive warfighting support.

The new system will also support all phases of combat and provide a scalable expeditionary-level capability, with the ability to query authoritative data sources and large numbers of enterprise databases; visualise and exploit data both relationally and geospatially and collaborate with other users.

The enterprise-level service-oriented architecture (SOA) framework of the DGS-A mobile basic will allow the insertion of new, third-party applications developed in accordance with established standards.

The contract granted by the army’s Program Executive Office for Intelligence, Electronic Warfare and Sensors will take the DCGS-A programme through Milestone C in late 2011, with full system production expected to start in 2012.

The initial operating capability for the DCGS-A mobile basic BCT is presently scheduled for late 2012 as part of the army’s forces generation effort for equipping units in rotational deployments.