The US Army’s 11th Armoured Cavalry Regiment has applied a very small aperture terminal (VSAT) internet connection to the Global Combat Support Systems-Army (GCSS-Army) during a field training exercise at Fort Irwin, California.
VSAT is a small dish capable of providing an internet connection at any location, whether forward deployed or in garrison.
Maintenance Troop communications and electronics shop head chief warrant officer William Evans said the VSAT has ‘a 90,000 mile journey through millions of dollars of infrastructure and sophisticated equipment, all in less than 700 milliseconds.’
While using the internet connection from the VSAT, the GCSS-Army is claimed to have provided real-time updates, a change from previous programmes for maintenance management.
Specifically, the VSAT has streamlined army maintenance and directly increased the combat readiness level of line units.
Maintenance troop warehouse staff sergeant Don Nottingham said: "GCSS-Army gives the commander the ability to track logistic deliveries, and maintenance scheduling within their unit."
During the exercise, the maintenance troop successfully evaluated the VSAT capabilities for GCSS-Army and Supply Support Activity (SSA) in a deployed environment.
Maintenance Troop warehouse non-commissioned officer in charge staff sergeant Shelly Warren said: "Having the VSAT capabilities improved the supply support activity SSA warehouse, prescribed load list, and shop office operations while in a field training environment."
The ability to access GCSS-Army during the field training exercise simplified the distribution of clothing, tools, construction materials, vehicles, and repair parts to customers, with no wait period.
In the absence of VSAT, all customers would have to wait until the rear detachment personnel processed and shipped their parts to the field site in order to receive parts.
In addition, the process of deleting parts off the deadline report would also be prolonged, as the parts would first need to retrograde to a garrison for processing.
Previous programmes would require several days to process and update part deliveries, work orders, and maintenance scheduling, slowing down all maintenance operations.
Image: A US soldier sets up the very small aperture terminal at the National Training Centre on Fort Irwin, California, US. Photo:courtesy of US Army.