MiliDroids Need Satcom

There’s no question a Joint Battle Command-Platform Handheld will become an effective tool for the military. What is a JBC-P Handheld? That’s Army-speak for a smartphone running Android.

The device, known as a Joint Battle Command-Platform, or JBC-P Handheld, is the first developed under an Army effort to devise an Android-based smartphone framework and suite of applications for tactical operations. The government-owned framework, known as Mobile /Handheld Computing Environment, or CE, ensures that regardless of who develops them, applications will be secure and interoperable with existing mission command systems so information flows seamlessly across all echelons of the force.

This framework, originally prototyped by MITRE, is now being developed at the Software Engineering Directorate in Huntsville, Ala., with the JBC-P family of systems and is aligned with the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Logistics and Technology Common Operating Environment, or COE strategy.

“Using the Mobile /Handheld CE Product Developers Kit, we’re going to allow the third-party developers to actually develop capabilities that aren’t stovepiped,” said Lt. Col. Mark Daniels, product manager for JBC-P. JBC-P, which will be fielded to both the Army and the Marine Corps beginning in fiscal year 2013, is the follow-on program of record for Force XXI Battle Command Brigade and Below/Blue Force Tracking, or FBCB2/BFT.

“That’s going to allow us to be interoperable across the entire family of systems of JBC-P, which would include the platforms, the aviation, the logistics community, the tanks, the Bradleys, the handhelds,” Daniels said.

As Danger Room reported on a wearable form factor(s), the core device will need to rely on secure communications in and out of the theater of operations. And for this, the DoD will need to tap into available commercial satellite capacity. Sure to please satellite operators, the folks attending the Army Satcom Users Workshop agreed.

All this chatter will be put to the test next month at Network Integrated Evaluation 12.1, a large-scale field exercise at Ft. Bliss in Texas and the White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico.

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