The US Army is introducing a new standardised family of tactical computers, titled 'Mounted Family of Computer Systems' (MFoCS), to help enhance soldiers' situational awareness in the battlefield.
The systems are currently manufactured by DRS Tactical Systems as part of a three-year, indefinite delivery/indefinite quantity (IDOQ) contract awarded by the Project Manager Joint Battle Command-Platform (PM JBC-P) in June 2013.
Developed in three models, including basic, intermediate and advanced, the systems are expected to bring interoperability to tactical computers and enhance soldier experience by enabling the operation of several different software applications and eventually better mission planning, monitoring and execution.
Soldiers currently use different computer systems to access communications systems that provide a complete battlefield picture in combat and tactical vehicles, thereby increasing size, weight and power demands.
PM JBC-P Blue Force Tracking deputy product manager, Dominic Satili, said the delivery of basic through advanced computing and display capabilities demonstrate the command's efforts to fulfill several mission command applications needs while doing away with the burden of operating different computers in the same vehicle.
"The vision here is to have a single tactical computer for army vehicles that will run multiple applications," Satili said.
"This standardises the type of computer and at the same time creates a family of different sizes that adjusts to the mission."
The basic model is a tablet, while the intermediate configuration also features a processing unit with a 12, 15 or 17 inch display.
Besides the tablet, two intermediate units are also present in the advanced model to make all three MFoCS models interchangeable and easily customised to suit any mission.
The ruggedised tablets are capable of operating on a 25ft cable and hence can be used by soldiers outside or passed around inside the vehicle.
Designed to run the army's joint battle command-platform (JBC-P), the computers are also expected to support other command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance applications and offer mounted computing solutions for the marine corps.
Initial delivery of MFoCS computers in support of integration and testing is anticipated within 20 weeks of the contract award.
Image: the Mounted Family of Computer Systems is expected to enable soldiers to better plan, monitor and execute missions. Photo: courtesy of DRS Tactical Systems.