TARANIS® Battlefield – The Command & Control System for the "Last Mile"

ESG Elektroniksystem- und Logistik-GmbH

By using command, control & information systems (C2IS) as well as battle management systems (BMS), it is possible to give your own forces a decisive information advantage over opposing forces by quick and secure information distribution. With this information advantage it is not only possible to fight your opponent more efficiently, but also to simultaneously avoid collateral damage or friendly fire.

Experiences from missions in Afghanistan show clearly that the acceptance for a command & control system is dependent on whether it provides functional added value for the soldier and does not prove to be an extra burden. Therefore a C2 system must provide support in areas where other processes - such as speech - cannot guarantee it quicker, more easily and more securely.
This is particularly relevant for mobile deployments, as individual soldiers mostly act in an insecure, often life-threatening environment that demands their attention more than their C2 system. In addition, the training period for using C2 systems is often very short during preparation for a mission.

The short training time before a mission requires a command & control system that is easy to operate and intuitive to learn. The design of an effective command & control system's user interface (Human Machine Interface, HMI) must take into consideration high stress levels, especially in combat situations.

Users of today's C2IS are used to very simple and intuitive user guidance because of their personal smartphones and tablets. The expectations placed on modern military applications are correspondingly high.

Apple revolutionised the consumer market for mobile phones with the introduction of the iPhone in 2007. Because of its decades of experience in developing and maintaining C2IS and BMS, ESG recognised early on the enormous added value of an innovative operating concept for military users.

TARANIS Battlefield

TARANIS Battlefield

Since 2008, ESG has been further developing the TARANIS® Network-Enabled Solution Suite (TARANIS®) to provide users at various command levels with an intuitive and user-friendly system: TARANIS® Battlefield is the solution for the "last mile". It is a map-centric command & control system, optimised for touch control, which runs on a standard PC and supports a variety of communication media and navigation systems. Configuration is carried out by the user. TARANIS® Battlefield concentrates on the most important functions and makes these accessible in a simple, quick and intuitive way. As a result, TARANIS® Battlefield offers maximum flexibility for reacting quickly to modified requirements. Solid interoperability with other C2 systems is provided by the support of relevant standards. The consistently modular and service-oriented system design offers a wide range of possibilities for developing and integrating add-on modules.

As well as being optimised for touch control, TARANIS® Battlefield can also be operated with a mouse and keyboard. The intuitive user interface, with large buttons and easy-to-read display elements, is independent from the hardware used. Special emphasis is placed on the clear presentation of relevant information as well as the possible alternative courses of action, for which colours and symbols (for colour vision deficiency) are systematically used.

The basic design, with function buttons on the edge of the screen, is the same in all operating modes and functions, thus ensuring that important status information can always be found at the same place and that basic operating procedures are always initiated via the same operating elements. The size of the buttons was chosen so that they can also be easily operated under stress and when wearing gloves.

Users are visually informed of an incoming notification or a new chat message by the button colour changing to yellow, and they are acoustically informed as well. The system displays unforeseen operating conditions via the colour changing to red. The user only has to tap the respective button and is then led by the system to the system module concerned. They can return to the main operating mode at any time by tapping on the map button.

A position symbol can be placed on the map just as easily. With a slightly longer tap on the map position TARANIS® Battlefield displays a symbol palette with frequently used symbols. The next tap selects the symbol and positions it on the map. Drawing freehand graphics is also possible. The system independently and automatically ensures distribution to other TARANIS® Battlefield users. Different types of filters make sure that only relevant information is displayed.

Map-Centric Command and Control

The complete APP6 is available for position display. Display and updating occur automatically and do not require any user actions. Thus the user always has an up-to-the-minute overview of the situation which also includes the automatically transmitted position messages (Blue Force Tracking) from other TARANIS® Battlefield systems. Of course, the user can reduce the quantity of displayed position information at any time, in accordance with their specific requirements. The map is open in the TARANIS® Battlefield default view. TARANIS® Battlefield supports several geographical calculation functions, such as distance measurement or terrain section. The visibility of the terrain or the radio coverage can be dynamically displayed in real time within a selected radius based on the user's own position.

In TARANIS® Battlefield routes can be defined via waypoints and distributed to other users via the communication media. These routes are visualised on the map when the driver departs. The driver is supported by a compass rose, with the direction and distance to the next waypoint being displayed. TARANIS® Battlefield uses civilian and military GPS devices such as PLGR, ERGR, DAGR for this, as well as navigation systems such as TALIN 500 and LITEF LLN-GY 40.

TARANIS® Battlefield runs on standard and ruggedised computers which support the operating system WinXP as a minimum requirement. TARANIS® Battlefield supports the complete SEM family in the VHF range, the HRM7400E in the HF range, BGAN, Mini-M and TacSat satellite communication via the PRC117F as well as all IP-capable radio equipment.

A separate administration of TARANIS® Battlefield is not necessary. After installing the system, the user simply enters their station address. This is freely selectable in e-mail format. Then the desired radio equipment is selected. The mission parameters are only entered at the start of a mission or when there is a change in the mission. The most recent valid mission parameters are restored when the system is started. A mission configuration can be changed or a communication structure be reorganised for individual vehicles and a whole battalion within a very short space of time.

Depending on the purpose of use and mission environment, international interfaces can also be used. TARANIS® Battlefield can work in cooperation with armies from other nations via NATO Friendly Forces Information (NFFI) or the Multilateral Interoperability Program (MIP).

With TARANIS® Battlefield, ESG - as a long-standing partner of the Bundeswehr for command & control systems and with its unique expertise in the areas of consulting, system development and training - has developed a system that is especially tailored to the user's requirements on the "last mile". In consultation with users and purchasers, the system can also be flexibly adapted to further special requirements.

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