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Force XXI Battle Command, Brigade-and-Below (FBCB2)

FBCB2 will provide situational awareness and command and control to the lowest tactical echelons. It will facilitate a seamless flow of battle command information across the battlespace, and will interoperate with external command and control and sensor systems, such as ATCCS. The end result will be a vertical and horizontal integration of the digital battlespace and the brigade-and-below tactical unit levels.

The FBCB2 system is comprised of:

  • Appropriate category of Applique or embedded system hardware.
  • FBCB2 software—architecturally compliant with the DII COE.
  • Position navigation and reporting capability (e.g., Global Positioning System (GPS) or an embedded position-navigation (POSNAV) capability).
  • An interface to a terrestrial communication system (e.g., SINCGARS and/or Enhanced Position Location Reporting System (EPLRS) radio) or to a satellite communications system for operations over long distances or rugged terrain.
  • A combat identification capability (e.g., a BCIS capability).
  • Functionally, the FBCB2 system will support lower–echelon battle command tactical mission requirements including:

  • Real-time situational awareness for commander, staff, and soldiers.
  • Shared common picture of the battlespace.
  • Graphical displays, with friendly and enemy unit locations.
  • Target identification.
  • Integrated logistics support.
  • Communications/electronics interfaces with host platforms.
  • FBCB2 provides near-term C2 capabilities to Force XXI units at brigade and subordinate echelons. The FBCB2 system is comprised of hardware, software, and databases being acquired under the Applique and other programs. FBCB2 interfaces with:

    One of the most important aspects of this effort is the development of software and database capabilities which are common and seamlessly interoperable across all systems at these echelons. The FBCB2 software suite, which re–uses and incorporates existing commercial and government software wherever practical, will meet the open systems standards found in the ATA. The FBCB2 software suite is also being developed for forward compatibility with the mainstream of commercial hardware and software developments in order to facilitate the insertion of new technology as the Army evolves to Force XXI. FBCB2 software will incorporate essential functions from the M1A2’s Inter-Vehicular Information System (IVIS) and from the Brigade-and-Below Command and Control (B2C2) prototype.

    Situation awareness is provided by collecting, integrating and displaying a common picture of the battlefield that is consistent in both time and space at each user display. Software being developed for FBCB2 situation awareness allows the geographical location of individual soldiers, weapons/platforms, command posts, and other operational facilities to be collectively presented on a display. Because the Army Tactical Internet is a true, seamless internet based on the world-wide Internet model, it is possible to communicate each individual geolocation to every FBCB2-equipped user within the Tactical Internet. Addressing mechanisms allow geolocations to be flexibly and selectively communicated, and situation awareness software functionality will contain the necessary filters and roll-up mechanisms for each user to be able to selectively display only the locations of units of interest.

    One of the methods by which operational control is achieved is through the transmission and receipt of orders, reports, and data in a timely manner. The VMF messaging function of FBCB2 software provides a key mechanism for effecting that exchange, using a set of 51 joint-approved VMF messages. Each FBCB2-capable system will have the ability to automatically or manually compose, edit, transmit, receive, and process either the full set of these messages or a subset which is specific to the mission profile of that system. The initial VMF message set of 21 messages was developed specifically for the TF XXI AWE and will be expanded for use in the Division XXI and Corps XXI AWEs. It provides the ability to communicate orders, reports, and data in near real-time over the bandwidth-restricted networks found at brigade-and-below echelons. The VMF messaging software also provides the ability to insert and extract data from these messages for automatic insertion or update of tactical databases.

    FBCB2 will be a complex system involving over 1,000 computers in each maneuver brigade, all tied together in a single seamless network. Since it is not possible for this system to start up, operate, and gracefully degrade of its own accord under all conditions without human intervention, FBCB2 software will provide the capability to initialize, control, and conduct an orderly shut-down of the FBCB2 system. Capabilities will be provided in the areas of:

  • System Management: tasks such as loading network initialization data, maps, cryptographic keys, and network addresses prior to an operational deployment.
  • Communications Planning: tasks such as laying out networks, making frequency assignments, and specifying address/circuit assignments/procedures prior to deployment.
  • Network Administration: background tasks such as the monitoring and control of network resources and configuration once operations have commenced.
  • Network Management: real-time tasks such as dynamic network reconfiguration, timekeeping, and circuit deactivation during operations.
  • Functionality Implementation of FBCB2

    Applique Use of appliques is intended to provide C2 capabilities to platforms that either have no embedded C2 capability or whose existing capability is inadequate to meet emerging user requirements. For a platform lacking an embedded digital capability, it will be appliqued with:

  • Appropriate applique hardware.
  • FBCB2 software.
  • Position/navigation capability.
  • An interface to a SINCGARS and/or EPLRS radio.
  • BCIS (not included in all platform packages).
  • Army Tactical Command and Control Systems ATCCS systems are in the process of migrating to the DII COE. Since FBCB2 functionality is also based on use of the COE, selected FBCB2 functional components will be provided for incorporation into ATCCS systems in the near–term. In the far–term, core FBCB2 functionality and other mission applications will be migrated to ATCCS systems.

    Embedded Systems Many Army systems have an embedded C4I capability, including the M1A2 Abrams, the M2A3 Bradley, the AH-64D Longbow Apache, and the OH-58D Kiowa Warrior. At a minimum, the Army plans to integrate FBCB2 software functionality into these platforms sufficient to generate and receive an appropriate subset of the VMF message set.


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