Rockwell Collins Develops Wearable Combat Targeting System

By Vivienne Machi
FasTAK tactical combat targeting and communications gateway system

Photo: Rockwell Collins

PARIS — A new combat targeting system that fits in a user's pocket could help joint terminal attack controllers and other warfighters more simply and readily send and receive critical information, according to its developer.

Rockwell Collins’ FasTAK tactical combat targeting and communications gateway system is a new version of the company’s JTAC platforms. It is expected to provide the U.S. military and its allies more reliable and secure connectivity for mapping, targeting and communications in a smaller package. The technology could be used by commanders and front line troops, said Graham Davenport, director of marketing and business development for Rockwell Collins in Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

“We have now created a system which is much smaller, is both Android-based and Windows-based, and which is therefore wearable,” he said June 11 at the Eurosatory air and land defense conference outside Paris. Such technology could help unburden soldiers and airmen while maintaining the secure and stable connectivity needed on an increasingly digital battlefield.

FasTAK encompasses a fully integrated set of hardware that includes a laser range finder, tactical computer, video downlink receiver and digital targeting software, according to Rockwell Collins. The system’s communication gateway combines the company's Link 16 terminal, TacNet tactical radio and an AN/PRC-162(V)1 Manpack radio into one transportable unit to enable tactical interoperability and better digital connectivity with the targeting system.

A key improvement from legacy equipment — designed over a decade ago — is the smaller size, Davenport noted. The system includes a data and power concentrator that enabled the company to downsize the operating systems from a clamshell computer to a mobile phone or tablet, he added. The Windows variant weighs less than six pounds while the Android version is under three pounds, according to the company.

Rockwell Collins is targeting the U.S. Air Force and Army as potential customers for the system, as well as allies around the globe, Davenport said. The company is already delivering units to Jordan, and is under contract with a second undisclosed Middle Eastern partner, he added.

The system was first unveiled at the Canadian Association of Defence and Security Industries’ CANSEC trade show in May, he said.


Topics: Battlefield Communications, C4ISR, Land Forces, Intelligence and Surveillance, Precision Strike

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