The German army is expected to select command and control software specialist Systematic to support its long-awaited battle management system, a program that will help a NATO brigade that’s used to quickly respond to crises, C4ISRNET has learned.
According to industry sources, a contract for the program, formally known as the Very High Readiness Joint Task Force (VJTF) 2023 (Land), will be signed by the end of November. As part of the deal, Systematic will integrate its SitaWare Frontline battle management system software on board multiple tactical ground vehicles. The contract is expected to include integration with Leopard main battle tanks and Puma infantry fighting vehicles operated by the German Army’s 37th Panzergrenadier Brigade.
On Jan. 1, 2023, the German Army will take over as the lead component of the task force, which according to NATO doctrine, comprises a 5,000-strong multinational brigade capable of being rapidly deployed in the case of a major crisis.
“Some units will be ready to deploy in just two days, whilst the majority of units will be ready to move in less than seven days. In ensuring a high level of readiness the VJTF will be regularly exercised and deployed at short notice,” NATO doctrine read.
The German army released a formal request for information for the competition in November 2018 to identify suitable software to support the VJTF. Companies in the competition included Rheinmetall, ESG and Airbus Defence & Space. Sources confirmed Systematic and ESG had been chosen in a downselect for final evaluation by the army.
SitaWare Frontline software will be displayed across a variety of end user devices in the vehicle as designed by Roda Computer GmbH and ATM and networked through Thales’ legacy suite of SEM 80/90 radios and Rohde & Schwarz’s SVFuA vehicular software defined radio.
The army’s decision follows the earlier selection of the company’s Headquarters software in 2014 to equip deployable command posts. That software is already in service as part of NATO’s Lithuania-based Enhanced Forward Presence Battlegroup.
Frontline software will also provide the German army with interoperability with the U.S. Army’s Command Post Computing Environment. On Oct. 30, U.S. and German armies signed a strategic agreement calling for enhanced levels in interoperability by 2027, meaning a German brigade would be able to operate under the command and control of a U.S. Army division. CP CE is a web-enabled system that will consolidate current mission systems and programs into a single user interface.
Speaking to C4ISRNET, Sven Trusch, Systematic’s vice president for business development, said he was unable to comment on the state of the competition but confirmed Frontline software had undertaken “extensive testing” with the army in Munster, Germany earlier in the year.
Trusch also described how the battle management system would enable “seamless interoperation” with other users of the SitaWare suite, which includes Frontline, Edge and Headquarters software].
“The army intends to establish a battle management application framework built around Frontline that will enable the integration of existing and future capabilities,” Trusch said. He added that Frontline software provides an automatically updated situation awareness picture featuring the “disposition of forces, danger areas, points of interest, and intelligence on an enemy.”
The software also includes tactical chat, support for high-performance mapping, and the ability to make and display plans directly on a touchscreen.
SitaWare Frontline is also being considered for the U.S. Army’s Mounted Computing Environment.