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    New technologies make Saber Strike 24 a proving ground for innovation

    Saber Strike 24 RICS Field Test

    Photo By Spc. Andrew Clark | A soldier with the Ejército de Tierra (Spanish Army) listens for a translated message...... read more read more

    As an M1A2 Abrams lets loose with its main gun during a portion of a multinational live fire on Bemowo Piskie Training Ground, Poland, April 19, 2024, it is supported by intersecting fire from armored vehicles from Italian, Spanish, and German units on either side. Officers from those countries, observing the exercise from a nearby tower, nod approvingly after each volley. It's the kind of exercise that demands precise timing and communication between forces, and this is partly why these diverse elements are here at Saber Strike 24.

    "Technical interoperability enhances readiness and allows us to stay ahead on the battlefield," said U.S. Army 1st Lt. Joshua Chang, a liaison officer with the 2nd Cavalry Regiment.

    Interoperability between nations is the key to Saber Strike 24, a part of the DEFENDER 24 series of exercises, and the U.S. Army's 2nd Cavalry Regiment is at the forefront of pushing technology that elevates and improves those capabilities. Perhaps most importantly, Saber Strike includes integrating new communication equipment for U.S. forces and mission partners. A cohesive and encompassing Mission Partner Kit (MPK) has been created through a combination of applications and devices, which enhances communications between nations that all speak different languages. The MPK is the primary component of an initiative called Extending the Network.

    "Extending the Network allows our mission partners to communicate with us," Chang said. "The Mission Partner Kit allows us to quickly, safely, and securely provide our mission partners with voice, chat, collaboration, and location-sharing capabilities."

    Three applications make up the MPK: the end-to-end encryption service Wickr, the voice interoperability application Instant Connect Enterprise (ICE), and a Tactical Assault Kit (TAK) with variations for operating systems from Apple, Android, and Windows devices. Also included in the MPK is a Radio Integrated Communications Suite, or RICS kit.

    "The concept behind Mission Partner Kits from the interoperability perspective is to simplify access for our tactical forces, whether it's a foreign partner or ourselves," said a cyber warfare officer supporting 2CR. "Because what we've done is we've simplified and increased access. By simplifying it, we've introduced applications that are familiar to the users."

    Firstly, Wickr allows for a more tailored communication experience than the Army has had in past communication applications. Chang stated that the app could be used to share data simply and securely and even coordinate with tactical mission data platforms (TMDP) based out of tactical operations centers in the field.

    The RICS kit and the ICE application are meant to operate in tandem, though they both accomplish separate tasks. The RICS allows U.S. or Allied radios to convert FM wavelength to internet protocol data, opening opportunities to streamline and reduce the amount of equipment necessary in the field while extending the communication network. The ICE Mobile kit builds on this innovation by introducing translation capabilities to the communication network.

    Chang describes the process simply by saying that a German soldier could speak their language into their RICS kit, and U.S. forces would receive the message in English on theirs.

    "That's beneficial basically because it allows greater interoperability," Chang said. "It's seamless integration. They don't need to know English. It alleviates the language barrier and lets them, especially during a live-fire, have instant voice communication with our units."

    The final component of the MPK is the TAK. A vital part of controlling the battlefield is knowing where both enemy and friendly forces are at any given moment, and this is where TAK shines.

    "The TAK allows us to have live position location information sharing," Chang said. "It lets us see exactly where we are, where all our partners are, and allows us to build a common operating picture."

    Chang continues by noting the program goes beyond just allowing the gathering of this data; it also allows for collaboration between forces working off the system, even permitting real-time changes of objectives and updates to the location of enemy forces. The MPK also federates position location information with 2CR's integrated tactical network end-user devices (EUDs), significantly expanding situational awareness for all task force members.

    Technological development and innovation will dictate the next stage of military warfare. The applications used in the MPK are just the beginning of a new wave of innovation that the U.S. military is using to build upon its strategic advantages and create multilateral opportunities with Allied and partner nations.



    Date Taken: 04.19.2024
    Date Posted: 04.20.2024 07:15
    Story ID: 469015
    Location: PL

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