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Survivability, data transport dominate ABCT integration plan

US soldiers from 2nd BCT, 3rd Infantry Division, pull security in front of Combat Outpost Meade in Iraq. (US Army)

Concerns over network survivability and a push towards development of agnostic data transport capabilities have been the main drivers in the US Army's Armored Brigade Combat Team On-the-Move (ABCT OTM) pilot programme.

The effort is one of several technology capstone initiatives identified in the Capability Set 25 (CS25) iteration of the service's Integrated Tactical Network (ITN). Elements of the ABCT OTM programme have been undergoing preliminary operational testing and evaluation by active-duty army units since September, spearheaded by the 2nd Brigade Combat Team (BCT) of the army's 3rd Infantry Division. Senior service leaders are planning to draft a full-on network design for armoured integration into the ITN, with work on that effort scheduled to begin this February.

“We are going to test some [tactics, techniques, and procedures], we are going to look at some hardware, [and] we are going to look at some different solutions that we can bring to bear,” 3rd Infantry Division Deputy Commanding General-Maneuver US Army Brigadier General Jasper Jeffers said.

Compared with other ITN force integration efforts that have coincided with previous network variants, Gen Jeffers said the ABCT OTM programme was less focused on driving data up into the network and dispersing it across the battlefield and driven more towards getting data to front-line armoured units quickly.

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