In 1998, the Multilateral Interoperability Programme was created in order to fulfil these requirements. The aim of the programme is to define an interface for the exchange of information between the command and control information systems of the 28 nations and organisations taking part in the programme. This interface can be used at all command levels - MIP has no technical restrictions. Since its beginning, MIP has developed into an essential standard for information exchange in the military.
The currently available MIP Baseline 3 (BL3) is based on operational demands for a „joint" exchange of data, „Plans and Orders" and a Data Exchange Mechanism (DEM) much simpler than that of MIP BL2. The service life of MIP BL3 is at least 4 years (inservice period 4 plus). The 3.x version improvements to the MIP baseline are intended as incremental „service packs" for the MIP BL3 solution. ESG has been a reliable partner to the German Armed Forces since the beginning of the Multilateral Interoperability Programme, both providing consulting services and taking responsibility for realising the project.
Multilateral Interoperability Programme
The core element of the MIP solution is the common NATO JC3IEDM (Joint C3 (Command, Control and Consultation) Information Exchange Data Model), which defines the information space. There are two systems available to the user for the exchange of data between the systems:
DEM the Data Exchange Mechanism, which works on the basis of database replication, and MEM the Message Exchange Mechanism, which is comparable to a standard e-mail application.
With the realisation of the German MIP experimental system BL3, ESG has proven the MIP interface to be a highly viable option for achieving multilateral interoperability. The aim is to integrate the MIP functions into the different national systems. To achieve this, the comprehensive ESG interoperability solution MIP DEMCenter was developed as a standardised MIP gateway.
Award for MIP
In 2008, the Multilateral Interoperability Programme MIP received the "Network Centric Warfare Award" from the American Institute for Defense and Government Advancement (IDGA) for winning the "Outstanding NCW Program from a Coalition Partner" category. This award underlines the special significance of MIP for interoperability.
The demand for a system-wide interoperability solution was realised with the implementation of the MIP DEMCenter as a national MIP gateway. The architecture of the MIP DEMCenter uses standardised technology and has a modular design. The operating system of the MIP DEMCenter has been simplified greatly with the aim of achieving "one-button" operability.
The MIP BL3 DEM is the interoperability mechanism for the databaserelevant exchange of information. The main focus in its further development was on optimising the connection protocol. In addition to this, the MIP BL3 DEM's initialisation phase for establishing a connection between MIP systems has been accelerated significantly. This has helped to achieve an even stronger overall focus on the operational usability of the system.
Technical possibilities with the MIP DEMCenter
- Much simpler DEM "connection management" for the user
- Implementation of the core software components as a service
- Optional incorporation of different user interfaces via realisation of an API interface
- Automation of MIP DEM business processes
- Interfaces for new technologies are already set up
"Plans and Orders"
With MIP BL3, database-relevant exchange of NATO STANAG 2014 plans and orders via the MIP DEM has been realised. This new "Plans and Orders" section significantly increases the operational importance of the MIP interface. In the ESG MIP BL3 solution, the "Plans and Orders Web-Editor" has been implemented as a comprehensively usable web application based on a Java application server. This web application is intended for editing and presenting plans, orders and "fragmentary orders" (FRAGOs).
This has enabled the technical requirements for efficient use of the new "Plans and Orders" section to be fulfilled. The software technology used includes open source components, and uses the advantages of both standardised interfaces and operating system independence, thus offering the advantage of simple integration into command and control information systems.
The scope of technical and operational testing in the development of MIP BL3 was increased significantly in comparison to previous baselines. In addition to this, a test instance was established for performing technical tests over the Internet - the MIP Test Reference System (MTRS). This made it possible to further increase the level of quality.
Advantages of MIP BL3
- Joint data model with data model expansions from the air and naval forces domain
- Information exchange expanded with "Plans and Orders"
- Stronger focus on operational use
- Increased quality through use of a test and reference system and increased scope for System Level Tests (SLT)
tacMIP - tactical Multilateral Interoperability Programme
For the exchange of command and control information via MIP right down to the tactical level, ESG has created the tacMIP solution. With this system, operational information for the relevant command levels and mission types is filtered out of a command and control information system and converted to a compressed format. This filtering and compression enables transfer of the information over networks with a very narrow bandwidth.
As a comprehensive MIP gateway, the MIP DEMCenter can take on tacMIP functions as modular expansions, thus realising a comprehensively usable solution for the exchange of information right up to the tactical level.