by Nicholas Yuran, Global Protocols
Delivering combat intelligence to the battlespace quickly and reliably is an essential element of modern warfare. As with so many other categories of mission-critical communication, our military depends on satellites to get that information to the deployed warfighter, regardless of the geography, environment, or operating conditions. Modern warfare, like those operations currently being conducted in Afghanistan and Iraq, relies on satcom to deliver tactical intelligence to combatant commanders to help formulate their tactical decisions. Enemy movements and strength level data, weather and terrain products, imagery and other forms of military intelligence (MI) can be transmitted to the battlespace via broadband satellite, and consumed by the tactical commander at near real-time speeds.
The U.S. Armys premier tactical system for distributing combat intelligence is the Trojan Special Purpose Intelligence Remote Integrated Terminal (Trojan Spirit). Tracing its roots back to the 1991 Gulf War, Trojan Spirit has evolved the original concept of pushing MI to the battlespace via satellite to match the vastly enhanced capabilities of 21st century technologies.
During Desert Storm, the ability to push MI to the battlefield just wasnt there, says Mark Jurik, TROJAN System Engineer at Ft. Huachuca, Arizona. The limited capability that did exist was restricted to 64-128 kbps links. At those rates, only limited amounts of finished intelligence could be delivered to theater, and data sets were restricted primarily to ASCII data over a patchwork network. Very little in the way of collaboration over the return channel was even possible.
Todays Trojan Spirit system is a stark contrast to its predecessors, carrying a broad variety of data types that include voice, data, imagery and video, at near T1 rates. Users can collaborate and distribute finished intelligence products over this highly managed network at security levels up to Top Secret/Special Compartmented Intelligence (TS/SCI). The network also offers connectivity and reachback that extends Joint Worldwide Intelligence Communication System (JWICS) networks and Secure Internet Protocol Router (SIPR) networks to reach key MI collaboration assets. Employing the latest satcom technologies, Trojan is providing the warfighter with an essential tool in modern information warfare.
Trojan terminals are deployed both as a vehicular solution, and as a transit case-based system. The primary Trojan terminal type, deployed in as many as 22 separate transit cases, bears the unlikely name Lite V1 (Lightweight Integrated Telecommunications Equipment) and is intended primarily for Army MI brigades and battalions. The system comprises everything from the baseband equipment and workstations, to the RF spares and UPS units. While these terminals are pallet-transportable, some cases require up to a 4-man lift and are not particularly well suited for a rapid mobility requirement. The V2 and V3 vehicular equivalents, however, can be sheltered in a HMMWV or Enhanced Combat Vehicle (ECV), providing a true mobile platform for the Trojan terminal.
On the baseband side of the terminal, the Trojan system is currently undergoing a technology refresh. The core equipment is the Evolution series of satellite routers by iDirect, IGT, and Comtech EF Datas turboIP-G2, accelerated by Global Protocols SkipWare®. The products represent the latest in bandwidth-on-demand satcom and satellite acceleration, ensuring that Trojan users remain on the cutting edge of contemporary satellite technology. Fieldings of this new equipment began in mid-2008 and will continue through 2009, as new and expanded capabilities are added both on the baseband and RF side of the system.
The Trojan program maintains its own hubs, with satellite bandwidth services provided by Americom Government Services (AGS) and backup services through DISAs Standardized Tactical Entry Point (STEP) program. Deployed Trojan users have the ability to collaborate over this network with any Intelligence Center or other MI support assets, with reachback into JWICS and other classified networks. TACLANEs and KIV-9s provide the requisite COMSEC capabilities, giving Trojan users access to NSA, JWICS or virtually any other level of the national intelligence community.
Trojan Spirit in Iraq
While the requirements for combat intelligence via satellite have existed since the advent of military satcom, it took the beginning of combat operations in Iraq in 1991 to spur the deployment of the Trojan concept. From inception to field deployment, Trojan engineers needed only 39 days to deliver the first terminals to theater.
This rapid response to combat requirements is testimony not only to the essential nature of combat intelligence, but also to the remarkable efficiency of those program engineers. The success of that original fielding prompted ongoing deployments throughout the 1990s, with an ever-expanding set of roles and mission requirements, culminating in the role Trojan plays in Iraq and Afghanistan today.
There are currently approximately 85 Trojan terminals deployed in Iraq, 13 in Afghanistan, and another 77 terminals deployed in support of other global military operations. Near term plans for Trojan Spirit include the fielding of an additional 220 terminals worldwide in support of the Armys PROPHET program.
As Trojan terminals proliferate throughout the U.S. military, they are increasingly becoming a military-wide standard in field intelligence delivery, collection and dissemination. Not only does Trojan serve the U.S. Armys MI units, but an increasing number of tactical intel units throughout the U.S. military have adopted Trojan as their method of delivery for combat intelligence.
In Iraq, the USMC used Trojan terminals to disseminate MI back to the Marine Corps Satellite Wide Area Network (SWAN). In the early stages of the Iraq War, the U.S. Air Force employed Trojan Spirit terminals in support of UAV reconnaissance and intelligence gathering operations, using the system as a data dissemination point for forwarding UAV video and other reconnaissance data. Given the versatility and historical success of this terminal, it is likely to remain at the forefront of the US militarys MI mission for years to come.
The program is managed by CECOMs I2WD at Ft. Monmouth, New Jersey, with engineering support provided by the Army Information Systems Engineering Command at Ft. Huachuca. Together, the programs technology staffs are working to expand the capabilities of the Trojan systems even further, with the goal of revolutionizing the way tactical intelligence is collected and disseminated.
Beyond simply consuming MI, Trojan engineers are already working on upgrades to the RF component that will vastly increase the networks bandwidth and allow for a greater intelligence collection mission in the field. Aiming for speeds up to 50 Mbps, the network will eventually support the transmission of more SIGINT product and imagery to the field as well as allow MI units to collect larger volumes of field intelligence and forward it to CONUS/OCONUS intelligence centers for processing and analysis.
The Trojan Spirit program is another example of the critical role that satcom plays in the modern battlefield. Whether simply in support of morale services or delivering vital combat intelligence to the deployed warfighter, satcom continues to be the backbone of tactical military communications. The delivery of combat intelligence to the battlespace presents its own unique challenges, from bandwidth demands to security requirements. But the combination of modern satcom technologies and the ingenuity of the Trojan program engineers have made the dissemination of tactical intelligence a practical and effective component of our militarys information warfare mission.
About the author
Nick Yuran is the Vice President of Business Development at Global Protocols, Inc. As a founding member of the company, Nick has worked to promote standards and interoperability among the military communications community, with a focus on tactical satellite.
About SkipWare The flagship product of Global Protocols, SkipWare® was the industrys first commercial implementation of the Space Communications Protocol Standards Transport Protocol (SCPS-TP). Recognized today as the leading implementation of SCPS in the US DoD, SkipWare has the largest install base of any SCPS vendor, and has been specified for many of the US DoDs largest tactical and strategic satellite networks.
Standards and Certifications. Since the initial release of SkipWare v. 1.0, Global Protocols has focused on providing high-performance and ease of use, while remaining true to the original open-source SCPS standard. Users of SkipWare-powered devices can be assured of standard-compliance and interoperability. There are no proprietary technologies hidden in SkipWare that will lock the user into Global Protocols as the soul vendor of their network acceleration. SkipWare is fully compliant with Mil-Std-2045-44000, and has been JITC-certfied to operate in US DoD networks.
SkipWare has been successfully tested by the DoD for interoperability with many of the militarys most common modem technologies, including iDirect INFINITI, ViaSat Linkway and Comtech EF Data Vipersat-based architectures. SkipWare is the specified acceleration for the US Armys Joint Network Node (JNN) program, as well as DISAs STEP and Teleport programs. It is currently in operational use on nearly 3,000 platforms worldwide supporting thousands of warfighters.
- Feature Set
- Dynamic Bandwidth Acceleration (D-TDMA, S-TDMA/DAMA, SAMA, DVB/RCS)
- Packet and Header Compression
- Bandwidth Shaping Controls
- Selective Negative Acknowledgments (SNACK)
- Asymmetric Routing Tolerance
- Rate Paced Acceleration
- Path MTU Discovery
- DoD-mandated Security Features
- Simultaneous Sessions
- Unlimited3200 Max Accelerated Sessions