At the basic level of the C4 hierarchy are the individual elements of
Battle Management Systems, consisting of vehicular mounted and
man-portable units, connected to higher echelons over existing Combat
Net Radio (CNR) systems. When integrated into armored fighting
vehicles, such as main battle tanks, armored fighting vehicles, self
propelled artillery, reconnaissance vehicles and helicopters, these
systems are integrated as part of existing vehicle electronics (vetronics),
including fire control systems, electro-optical equipment, navigation
systems, radio and intercom, countermeasures etc.
Modern vehicles are built with vetronics architecture similar to those
used with aircraft avionics. Systems are comprised of local area
Ethernet network, a central switch and router, main computer
processor, an information server, individual displays allocated to the
crew members, particularly to the commander, weapon system operator
(gunner) and driver. Standard displays provided for crewmembers are
used for monitoring the vehicle's surrounding, direction of weapons
and electro-optical observation gear through remote-control weapon
stations etc. The commander uses a larger display, showing situational
and tactical displays on digital maps. In some applications, displays
can be remotely dismounted from their position for ease of operation.
Modern AFVs are equipped wit a "glass cockpit" similar to those used
in helicopters. Displays are used to augment the driver's vision
blocks, offering safe driving at night and in adverse weather
conditions; other displays monitor the vehicle status, system's health
monitoring and diagnostics, emergency procedures, driving directions
and display of an external out-of-vehicle view of a thermal sensor
over a "virtual window" for night driving.
Peripheral views can be provided by multiple video cameras,
situational picture of potential threats can be generated by fusing
alerts from Cemical Biological Radiological Nuclear (CBRN) sensors, laser warning sensors and triggering
on-board countermeasures, including fully integrated remotely
controlled operation of the weapon system. Vetronics systems can link
with onboard sensors, to show systems status, generate reports to
local or higher levels of command. An important feature of vehicle
vetronics is the recording and simulation capability. When supported
by virtual training simulators, combat vehicles become powerful
training systems, where troops can take part in simulated training or
perform live exercises challenged by virtual friendly and hostile
entities, realistically presented over the vehicles' sensors and
systems. Real operations as well as training activities are recorded
on board, for debriefing and analysis.
Communications devices include radio interface units controlling
the radios, as well as digital wireless communications radio,
facilitating local area wireless LAN connectivity between on-board or
dismounted crew members, and neighboring vehicles. Connectivity to the
Battalion level BMS network is established over CNR communications
radios, which are already supporting data transfer rates of 64 Kbps.
Command vehicles (Command tanks, APCs etc) can also be equipped with
data radio, providing increased capacity for the user, as well as
supporting functions of communications gateways and routing nodes for
the entire network.
Open architecture and commercial protocols are commonly used to
flexibly adapt to changes and technological development. Standards
such as IEEE 802.11E wireless LAN, Voice over IP (VOIP) and CANBUS, to
interface with the vehicle's automotive system are commonly used.
Other topics covered in this feature are: