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US Army weighing on-the-move communications capabilities for its armoured formations

US Army soldiers participate in a network pilot for CS25 at Fort Stewart in Georgia in February. (Janes/Ashley Roque)

US Army officials envision a future where soldiers inside armoured formations do not depend on large, vulnerable command posts to effectively communicate. To get there, they are on a quest to find the right mix of line-of-sight and satellite communications (satcom) capabilities to field to these formations in 2025.

Under the army's Integrated Tactical Network (ITN) plan, it is fielding various technologies to the force in two-year increments. Work began with Capability Set (CS) 21 that focused on fielding communications technologies to infantry brigades in 2021. This iteration was billed as the benchmark for where the tactical network needs to be to fight on the modern battlefield. A second spiral, dubbed CS23, will be fielded to Stryker brigades in 2023. The service recently completed a technical test with this insertion ahead of a critical design review scheduled for April.

Meanwhile, the programme officials are also preparing for CS25 that will be up for a preliminary design review in April 2023 in anticipation of fielding to armoured formations in 2025. The goal, in part, is to provide these heavy formations with on-the-move communications equipment so that they are more agile and are not dependent on command posts.

“On future battlefields, you [got to] fight dispersed and distributed,” Major General Charles Costanza, the commanding general of the 3rd Infantry Division and Fort Stewart in Georgia, said during an 8 February event. He noted that the current tactical command posts are “too big” but a future CS25 would “improve our ability to fight and survive”.

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