Tactical Communication Systems

The Tactical Communication System is the backbone of the battlefield coordination and communication. The tactical communication system is used to transfer crucial information from commands to intelligence across the battlefield. The TCS is majorly used to overcome communication challenges in battlefield areas. The tactical communication system is used by the military, navy, air force, and other defense sectors. Tactical communication systems are of very high operational importance, providing integrated, secure, highly reliable, and available communication services for forces, even in constraints like hostile environmental conditions, limited spectrum, time-critical and non-linear progress of communication requirements, technical failure of equipment, partial destruction of mesh networks, and jamming by adversaries or events.

Tactical communication systems are worked by specialized networks and advanced equipment. These systems are designed to support voice, data, and video communication between personnel, vehicles, aircraft, and command centers in various operational environments, including combat zones, disaster relief efforts, and other challenging conditions.

The main key features of the tactical communication system are:

  • Secure Communication – It Incorporates encryption of the data and other security measures to prevent unauthorized access and interception of sensitive information. 
  • Reliability – TCS is designed to operate in harsh environments and adverse conditions, ensuring reliable communication even in situations where conventional communication methods may fail.
  • Interoperability – They support interoperability between different units and branches of the military, as well as with allied forces, enabling seamless communication and coordination during joint operations.
  • Mobility – These systems are typically mobile and can be deployed rapidly to support the evolving needs of tactical units in the field.
  • Flexibility – Tactical communication systems are adaptable to various mission requirements and can support a wide range of communication protocols and devices, including radios, satellite terminals, and networked communication platforms.
  • Assures Quality of Service
  • Inherent ECCM features
  • Ruggedisation and Shelterisation
  • Communication elements with Low Electronic Visual Signatures
  • Simple for Management and Training purposes
  • Minimum setup/tear-down time
  • Highly responsive with near real-time communication

Some of the Tactical Communication Systems are handheld radios, vehicle-mounted communication equipment, satellite communication terminals, and command and control systems for managing communication networks and resources. These systems play a crucial role in ensuring effective command, control, and situational awareness for military forces and other tactical organizations operating in dynamic and challenging environments

Tactical Communication system designed based on partial mesh architecture, with the Tactical Backbone Network using several Backbone Nodes interconnected with High Capacity Radio Relay (HCRR) links to provide coverage in the TBA. The HCRR is spectrally efficient, has low emission signatures, and tolerates jamming. User Nodes facilitate the formation of headquarters or a unit to access the TCS network facilities through a similar User Node or Backbone Node, with the system providing multimedia connectivity based on High Capacity Radio Relay, Tactical Optical Fibre, FWS (Field Wireless System) and HF.

Law enforcement agencies majorly used Tactical Communication Systems including Integrated Communication Systems and Interoperable Communication Server, to exchange messages of high importance. These integrated communication systems are imperative to mission-critical operations where multiple wings of military intelligence, warfighters, and other law enforcement agencies unanimously get involved. Tactical communication systems, a vital part of tactical operations centers (TOC) act as command and control posts for police, paramilitary, or military operations that provide a fully Integrated Communication System enabling trained officers and military personnel who guide the active team during a mission.

Integrated Communication System used for police and security personnel to cater to an array of strategic and tactical operations. The Integrated Communication System enables centralized communications management via secured transmission through various electronic equipment and assures operational redundancy. The ICS has an interoperable communication Server ensuring reliable, jam-resistant, and encrypted information exchange among teams/forces even if they are operating on different radio frequencies or different kinds of radios.

Interoperable Communication Server used for law enforcement agencies, and military and security agencies in India for the last two decades. It provides real-time situational Awareness, enabling quick decision-making and battlefield superiority, and provides rugged, all-weather command, control, and interoperable communication systems to manage missions with unmatched efficiency and reliability

The Tactical Communication System is used by armed forces, emergency management, safe city forces, Special Forces, and tactical forces.

Evolving Technologies in Tactical Communication Systems:

VSAT – Most of the battlefield communication is made by the VSAT network, it requires only a small amount of on-site equipment. VSAT networks enable mobile, secure, real-time information relays via satellite over commercial or government frequencies or a combination of both. VSAT enables highly secure and extremely efficient military communications, even under harsh conditions, or in contested and/or congested environments.

Ethernet and VoIP – The Ethernet network is increasing the speed of the integrated digital voice over IP (VoIP), file transfer, image and video transmission and web-based applications on the field. The Intercom system and tactical combat net radio comply with the aforementioned needs, improves simultaneously connectivity, interoperability, flexibility, and mobility.

3D Printing and Synthetic Telepathy – 3D printing for communications, specifically for “brain-to-computer” interfaces, or ‘synthetic telepathy’ are emerging technologies post research in synthetic telepathy by scientists over the years. Electroencephalography (EEG) recorded the brain signals and transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) delivered those signals to the second subject’s brain. Long-range synthetic telepathy could open up incredible new communications options for soldiers in the field, with multiple applications including for covert and Special Forces operations

Quantum Communications – China experimented the Quantum technology in 2016 to fix the communication barrier on the battlefield. Quantum particles can be transmitted over reasonable distances on Earth, and, according to theory, much greater distances in space. The information encoded in a quantum particle is secure against any computerized hacking because the information would be destroyed as soon as it was measured.

Artificial Intelligence

Miniaturization and Wearable Technology – Advanced miniaturization provides smaller, lighter, and more portable communication devices in development. The military wearable equipment such as headsets, smartwatches, and body-worn sensors also getting compacted by the miniaturization technology. This technology enhanced the mobility and situational awareness of individual soldiers while maintaining connectivity with the broader network.

Software-Defined Radio – Software-defined radio technology provides more flexibility and interoperability by enabling radios to adapt to different waveforms and protocols through software updates. This flexibility makes it easier for military forces to communicate with each other and with coalition partners using different radio systems.

Cognitive Radio – This technology enables radios to intelligently adapt to their operating environment, dynamically selecting frequencies and waveforms to optimize performance and avoid interference. This capability improves spectrum efficiency and enhances resilience in congested or contested electromagnetic environments.

Cybersecurity and Encryption –Cybersecurity and encryption technology using secure key management technology and authentication mechanisms are essential for protecting sensitive information and ensuring the integrity of communication channels.

Tactical communication systems are increasingly leveraging various applications to enhance their functionality, efficiency, and effectiveness. TCS used applications are:

  • Voice Communication
  • Data Messaging
  • Mapping and Navigation
  • Situational Awareness
  • Mission Planning and Collaboration
  • Health Monitoring and Telemetry
  • Training and Simulation
  • Logistics and Supply Chain Management

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