Technology Today

2012 Issue 2

Command, Control, Communications, Computers and Intelligence (C4I) Systems

Technology enabling solutions to meet the operational needs of an evolving worldwide threat

Raytheon C4I system solutions support the U.S. military and more than 60 international customers on six continents, providing a total battlefield integrated system-of-systems capability.

Immediate threats to the security of sovereign nations vary based on the domain, country or area within a country. There are, however, the following trends:

  • Within the air and space domains, the ballistic missile threat has expanded to include rogue nations.
  • Many nations are acquiring unmanned air systems (UAS) intelligence, surveillance reconnaissance (ISR) platforms.
  • Low-flying, slow UAVs and low-flying, fast cruise missiles are serious and proliferating threats.
  • Attack from many small, swarming boats is an issue both for naval and commercial vessels.
  • Asymmetric threats on land and sea are growing at a rapid rate.
  • Electronic warfare is evolving, increasing its overall level of sophistication.
  • Cyber warfare is proliferating at an accelerating pace.
  • Threats to position location, precision navigation and timing systems (e.g., GPS) are likely to have a more widespread impact.

The ultimate goal of C4I systems (Figure 1) is to provide commanders with the appropriate and timely information they need to address these threats. Towards this end, Raytheon's C4I systems have a wide range of capabilities that enable:

  • Development of a situation awareness (SA) or common operational picture (COP), and the sharing and displaying of this picture as required by commanders at all levels.
  • Efficient communication of tasking to implement directions and decisions among the command hierarchy in order to support their forces in executing operational plans.
  • Analysis of the operational environment to automatically identify or support the manual identification of threats, and to provide threat response guidance.

Figure 1

Underlying the above capabilities are tools and support for comprehensive planning across three distinct command authority levels or echelons: strategic C4I (planning weeks to years in advance by a national command authority), operational C4I (planning days to weeks in advance, by an operations center), and tactical C4I (days to real-time planning, down to the battalion level).

Raytheon's C4I Capabilities

Raytheon's C4I operational capabilities and enabling technologies are summarized below. Working in concert, these discriminators provide the ability to obtain, gather, process and distribute information to optimize data-to-decision effectiveness, thereby enabling defensive forces to respond promptly and appropriately to the constantly evolving threats.

Common Operational Picture (COP): C4I provides a common operational picture (COP) for situational awareness that can be made available to all command elements. Key capabilities necessary in developing this picture include the ability to integrate track and contact data from a host of sensors types, and the correlation of that data to address multiple tracks due to sensor overlap. It is typical for sensors to have various output formats, periodicity, and error characteristics, as well as other variables. Within each of the C4I systems, the track management component, typically consisting of a specific number of trackers and a correlator, reconcile these differences to create an accurate integrated picture. Additionally, C4I systems can include non-track data that enhances the track picture (information specific to a commercial vessel or airliner, for example). Raytheon has long been a leader in the technology behind trackers, which are enablers for several Raytheon C4I products, including the Advanced Multi-Source Tracker (AMST) used in Sentry® and the Solipsys Multi-Source Correlator Tracker (MSCT [domestic] and MSCT-I [international] version).

See related feature:
Raytheon Tracker Technology for C4

Situation Analysis: The ability to employ threat recognition capabilities directly in the C4I system for threat behaviors as they are identified offers an additional level of analysis for watchstanders and commanders. Several approaches to situation analysis are included in Raytheon C4I systems, including rule-based analysis of kinematic or track details, analysis of historical data and analysis of other related data. Examples of these approaches include:

  • Automatic identification (e.g., pending, unknown, assumed friend, friend, neutral, suspect or hostile) based on either direct information through identification friend or foe (IFF), blue force tracking, automatic identification system (AIS) information and/or selective identification feature (SIF) code.
  • Threat identification based on track characteristics and other kinematic data such as penetration of restricted areas, exceeding specific altitudes/speed criteria for specific types of tracks, maneuvers not typical for specific track types, and impossible movements or threat launch point.
  • Use of reference databases to identify possible spoofing of identification beacon information (such as a ship previously reported as "scrapped" showing up in the COP).

This analysis of track data and enhancement data by the system can bring to light information not readily discernible by a watchstander or commander. As threats evolve, Raytheon C4I systems allow appropriately trained customer personnel to modify the parameters of threat identification algorithms to counter new threats.

Guidance for Threat Response: Raytheon's C4I systems are easily adaptable to seamlessly support a customer's unique workflows and doctrines within a system's perimeter. For example, when a threat is observed and entered into the system, the workflow capability guides operators through the additional data entry, evaluation processing and approval screens necessary for an appropriate response. This automation reduces the response time for completing a task, ensures that proper approval has been granted and offloads the coordination of the process from the staff, providing more time for operational activities.

Enhanced Mission Planning: Raytheon C4I systems provide operational planning for different command echelons within a single service branch, across multiple service branches, and for both military and civilian agencies. This includes status information on systems, equipment and personnel that can be entered into the system and then automatically distributed to commanders of other units, services or agencies.

Effective planning involves processing large amounts of information. This is enabled by work areas that provide a single, multi-panel window displaying the most accessed information in a concise manner while also providing access to less commonly used data. Operator actions are minimized by automatically linking selected data to other related panels. Operator efficiency is also increased by anticipating common behaviors, by automatically populating data entry fields and by performing tasks (such as creating a mission) based on the context of the operator's actions. An associated interactive graphics information system (GIS) display provides a graphical representation of a work area's information, enabling visual, graphics-based updates for the many planning tasks. As entered updates appear on the GIS, the changed data automatically appears at corresponding locations within the appropriate work area.

Raytheon's multilingual capability makes a complex system easier to use by operators of different nationalities. Internationalization software performs text replacement with the appropriate lookup translation in the customer's language; and, for the Middle East and other parts of the world that use right-to-left language flow, the C4I software properly translates the screen layout and data sequence accordingly.

Tactical Edge C4I Platform: Tablets and smartphones are replacing ruggedized field laptops for many applications, both civilian and military. Raytheon's C4I technology addresses several challenges to their effective use, such as the security of devices and the data transmitted, as well as the reliability of network connections in hostile environments limited by low bandwidth and data dropouts. Raytheon's C4I solutions conserve bandwidth, detect and recover data dropouts, maintain functionality even when disconnected, and facilitate resynchronization when connectivity has been restored.

Figure 2Composable C4I: Advanced C4I Systems are modular within a common service oriented architecture (Figure 2). Composable systems use functional components that plug into an open, extensible framework and become interoperable through the use of standard rules of the framework services that support messaging, data transformations and translations by way of publish/subscribe design patterns.

An example of this is Raytheon's Athena, which is a multidomain situational awareness system with capabilities centered on the maritime environment. Athena has been deployed in more than 20 locations around the world as a stand-alone product.

In one instance, a Raytheon customer requested a solution that would require a blend of Raytheon's Command View® military C4I system planning and battle capabilities and Athena's maritime domain awareness capabilities. It took the program team very little time to develop a solution that leveraged the capabilities of both products in a far quicker and cost-effective way than re-developing those capabilities as stand-alone products. This was enabled by the Command View and Athena systems' open architectures that allowed for a rapid, efficient, and cost-effective integration of new capabilities.

Raytheon C4I System Solution Examples

Two examples of Raytheon's many C4I system solutions that have a strong international presence are Command View — an integrated and scalable military C4I system, which has air, land, naval and joint applications for operations mission planning and tasking at the strategic and operational levels; and Sentry — the world's leading real-time air situation awareness and mission execution system, predominantly operating at the tactical level.

Figure 3

Raytheon's Command View is a full-featured C4I system, supporting joint, combined and component operations at the higher-level strategic and operational echelons, and providing capabilities for military operation planning, execution and monitoring (Figure 3). Its flexible design enables the system to effectively synchronize military actions through network-centric operations. Employing a service-based, layered architecture, Command View is scalable to meet any size requirement. It can run on a variety of platforms and is adaptable for future growth and evolution. Command View provides operators with a multilingual user interface, multiple decision aids and a consistent set of features. It includes adaptable processes that can integrate with existing systems, and it allows for the incorporation of factors and conditions such as operating doctrines and procedures. Variants of Command View are located in 16 nations around the world.

An air application of Command View, developed by Thales-Raytheon Systems (TRS), a joint venture between Raytheon Company and Thales Group, is integrated in NATO's largest software system — the Air Command and Control System (ACCS). Initial deployment of five NATO ACCS sites is currently underway in Belgium, France, Germany, Italy and the Netherlands, and will be followed by sites in additional NATO countries for a total of 17 operational European locations. ACCS provides comprehensive air battle planning and execution resources at the operational level. It includes situation awareness, force development, plan development, targeting, current operations monitoring, planning and management of air operations, airspace deconfliction, air-to-air refueling, weapons tasking, command and control (C2) and order of battle resources. Similar capabilities have been tailored for land and joint domains by optimized Command View variants. ACCS is standards-based, being fully compliant with the NATO C3 Technical Architecture (NC3TA) and the NATO Architecture Framework (NAF). ACCS includes planning work areas, which provide optimal operator workflow by harmonizing common data and tasks into a single display that interacts with the GIS. A current enhancement is extending ACCS to support ballistic missile defense as part of NATO's Active Layer Theater Ballistic Missile Defense Program.

Figure 4

Command View Tactical is a C4I software application integrated into multiple networks and vehicles. It combines movement and maneuverability, intelligence, mission command, sustainment and protection capabilities into a single, intuitive, soldier-operated, Windows-based computer application. It is easily configured for Tactical Operations Centers (TOCs) from platoon through division levels, and it can adapt to a large range of communications media. A unique feature of Command View Tactical is that it is designed to operate within the limited bandwidth and network reliability of today's tactical communications networks (e.g., Combat Net Radio networks).

Command View Mobile provides C4I displays and secure voice and data communications over existing cellular networks. Command View Mobile provides a simple, low-cost executive information system (EIS) at any echelon as well as a mobile C4I capability for selected operations at the tactical network edge (Figure 4).

Sentry provides a consolidated air picture with combat identification for positive control and increased situational awareness (Figure 5). Sentry integrates multiple radar/sensors (such as long-range surveillance radars, short-range battlefield radars and gap-filler radars) correlated with civil and military flight plans and a rich set of tactical data links to provide surveillance for acquiring, tracking and identifying aircraft in low-, medium- and high-clutter environments. Sentry also provides threat evaluation and weapons assignment, interceptor control, surface-to-air missile control and an automated flight advisory function for operators controlling aircraft. The U.S. Air Force now uses Sentry as their primary situational analysis tool at the air operations command level. It is deployed to 24 nations around the world.

Figure 5

Raytheon's technology enabling solutions continue to meet the increased demand for robust C4I systems, in order to remain one step ahead of an evolving worldwide threat. High-value assets, such as aircraft, ships, tanks, ambulances and emergency response vehicles are expensive to acquire, operate and replace; yet they are put in harm's way in everyday operation. Raytheon's C4I systems enable organizations to employ their assets more effectively and economically, achieving a force-multiplying effect. Modern C4I systems leverage advanced communications technologies to harness "the power of the network." These solutions are integrated for enhanced collaboration and situational awareness across all levels, and Raytheon continues to develop and improve these capabilities for our customers.


John Olsen
Contributors: Bruce McIntire, John Rienzo and Kurt Winckler

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