The US Army has received the next version of Force XXI Battle Command Brigade and Below (FBCB2) software, the joint capabilities release (JCR), from Northrop Grumman Corporation.

The US military and coalition forces in Iraq and Afghanistan use FBCB2 as an important situational awareness and command and control system.

The US Army Communications-Electronics Command in New Jersey will use the JCR software, which provides a common FBCB2 platform solution for the army and US Marine Corps.

Northrop Grumman Information Systems ground combat systems vice-president Joe G Taylor said the JCR enhancements and added interoperability expanded FBCB2 into a robust system.

The JCR will replace the current version of blue force tracker (BFT) that takes minutes to refresh friendly force position locations. Once JCR is fielded with the new BFT-2 transceiver and network upgrade, it will update the friendly positions in seconds.

The software supports multiple products for a variety of users, including aviation, dismounted soldiers, logistics and fires.

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Future JCR versions will provide additional services including open office file transfers, image downloads, chat and instant messaging.

FBCB2 integrates radios, sensors, vehicles, rotary-wing aircraft and weapons platforms in a single digital network to provide an uninterrupted picture of the battlefield through a satellite-based network.

The first FBCB2 development contract was awarded to Northrop Grumman in January 1995.