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DARPA seeks predictive battlefield network capability

A DARPA schematic on how the MINC programme would improve on combat data management systems (DARPA)

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has begun prototype development of a new system to automate data flow and dissemination of combat information across myriad service-centric networks, regardless of domain.

The goal of the Mission-Integrated Network Control (MINC) programme is to move US armed forces away from static or manually controlled battlefield data networks into ones that are managed according to the needs of a given mission or operation, according to DARPA documents released in 2021.

BAE Systems and CACI International were two of the three industry partners that were awarded prototype development contracts for MINC. Programme development will take place in three stages: development of a ‘minimum viable product' (MVP), laboratory and virtual experiments on MVP viability, and live field evaluations of the MVP in a simulated combat environment.

Development work on the MVP prototype is under way at BAE Systems, said Brian Decleene, chief scientist at BAE Systems' FAST Labs research and development division. The highly focused nature of static or manually controlled combat data networks has had benefits on the battlefield, providing combat commanders tailored networking solutions for the mission at hand, Decleene told Janes in a May interview.

However, static and manually controlled combat data management systems; while easier to design, integrate, and field; provide a limited view of the battlefield because of the specificity of a given system's design and capability.

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