Most technical innovations in any field have been combinations or amalgams of software and hardware applications that were never meant to be used together. However, they have nevertheless come into existence because someone decided to marry up these unimagined elements in combination with each other.
To midwife these projects to full fruition, startup money is needed. As usual, the military is the usual maternity ward for such applications and often requires mission specific applications for certain situations. Telematics is certainly no exception to this and such applications have increasingly found usage in the war on terror to pierce the classical "fog of war." Like the American GPS system, this has certainly been the case for telematics operations in the NATO European environment that would operate with the Galileo GNSS system. The handmaiden of our Red Force Tracking Telematics application in this proposal will be the Google capable Android Smart Phone that would be capable of multiple mission interfaces (Kwan 2011).
The growth has been astonishing in the military market for functions such as vehicle tracking, surveying, mapping, in-vehicle navigation, people and resource tracking and telematics applications in the field of miltary operations. For these reasons, the miltary has and will continue to have a plethora of uses for telematics applications.
Major defense contractors are producing GPS devices as the demand increases for accurate location information and precision guidance. Since its deployment in Desert Storm up to extensive use in conflicts zones of the 21st century, GPS has become the standard tool for obtaining precise position, navigation and timing information for military forces. Military GPS devices are now turning up in many military applications, such as hand held receivers for soldiers, GPS aided navigational systems for manned and unmanned aircraft and expendable miniaturized versions in missiles, bombs and even artillery and mortar rounds.
While war is more technological than ever, we must understand that it supports the ultimate weapon, the mobile infantryman. In operations just like the May 2011 capture mission by U.S. Special Forces to get Osama Bin Laden, it is the infantryman, squad and platoon size elements that will many times mean the difference between success and failure in a war or operations other than war. The benefits of space-based systems must increasingly make their way down to the lowest echelons of the ground forces to fully realize their benefits in war fighting and security operations.
As ruggedized portable notebook and lap top PCs, hand held computers and personal data assistants (PDA)s become more widely issued to military and paramilitary personnel operating in the field, viewing issues about the graphics-rich files becomes prominent. Wireless technology, portable computers and telematics make available to field personnel the ability to access large graphical files while working in a variety of field settings. What is becoming more an issue is that the information is able to be accessed about the enemy at lower echelons by small units and even individual soldiers. Hand held computers and PDAs are problematic however because presently security personnel can only physically view a very small fraction of the very large graphics files through a small view screen. To sum up, the data is available, but it is difficult to view, manipulate and difficult to understand. With present digital electronic storage and display, the security person can now access a huge number of maps from their database and can easily zoom in on details of interest.
The Red Force telematics software we will be developing will run on an Android Smartphone with Eclipse 3.7 (Indigo) or Eclipse Classic for interoperability and flexibility in with other European GNSS applications. Android sports a Linux operating system with a Java interface that is compatible with Eclipse (Vogel 2011 and Wallace 2011). What is needed and what we will be incorporating in the newer technology to resolve the visualization problems are as follows:
1) A sense of the entire area of interest a small map (which peripheral vision gave the soldier with a paper map). The Smartphone can be used with a ruggedized soldier's laptop that is attached to his or her web gear. The application will be made for easier user flipping of map and other pages.
2) A sense of perspective to help the soldier interpret the terrain data. The soldier must be able to interpret what is and what is not the topographic high ground where he or she must apply their maximum efforts to take and hold.
3) A wide variety of military units will have to be able to use not just certain special warfare teams. The Red Force Telematics Android application is a part of the larger technological trickle down from higher to lower echelons of platoon, squad and team the benefits of satellite technologies that were previously at corps and division level. Given the prevalence of smaller, autonomous units in modern warfare, the trickle down of this technology is inevitable and necessary. Application developers need to produce their products with this bottom up attitude in mind.
4) All parts of the Red Force Telematics Android application must be compatible and run with existing SATCOM equipment for interoperability and flexibility or for missions in countries where European forces will be using host nation or captured equipment. An emulator with debugging routines can be programmed into the Android application to run software packages from existing telematics applications from military or civilian organizations. In addition, the application operating mission environment can be simulated prior to engagement with the Red Forces in combat or arrest (Jackson 2011, 38).
In this environment, the developer must use off of the shelf software. Some of the features will include chat functions, file transfers (audio, video, images), video display and "white boarding" to assist on missions. Android run devices are necessary because the Smart Phone keeps its source code open unlike Microsoft, Apple and most other software manufacturers. Special operatorions "coders" need to be able to hack and modify software applications in the field, on the move and in combat field expedient conditions. This provides soldiers, police and paramilitary personnel valuable time and tools to respond or communicate effectively in war or emergency mission situations.
The software will need to pick up aerial images from unmanned aircrafts or satellites and then can focus on the smallest details such as license plates on cars or a person's facial features and match with facial recognition software. It will need to let military personnel interact as "buddies" and allow them to track the locations of other members of their squad, as well as help them identify potential enemies. Such specifications from European organizations sport a handful of soldier-developed applications. The Android Smart Phone will be compatible with these ad hoc, field expedient systems as well. By adopting an already growing mobile operating system, this lessens the time needed for development of working products, especially those tailored to specific mission environments (Hahn 2010).
Core applications that will need to come with every handset, to include mapping, Blue Force (displaying where friendly units are in order to avoid "friendly fire" incidents) and Red Force Tracking (enemy), map-marking and messaging (Page 2011).
The soldier will need to be able to mark areas to serve as a warning for other soldiers operating in the area. Also, the solider will be able to directly access a feed coming from a camera or drone in the air to see what the area looks like from above. If soldiers see the enemy from up front, they can put it in the GNSS to mark it for other soldiers who can not see it. In the future, every soldier will be carrying a Smart Phone that uses GNSS (Urandroid 2011).
Certainly, the commanders of these small units could not care whether it is a satellite or a drone that provides them with the intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR). What the soldiers need is quick, persistent coverage. In other words, small units need to communicate and have Command, Control, Communications and Intelligence (C3I) functional as quickly as possible. They need to be able to talk to small teams deployed in complex terrain environments. They need the information in real time and in any way they can get it (Kehler 2010, 2).
If one talks to any infantry soldier, they will probably confirm that they would like to see low resolution data in 30 minutes more than they need the higher resolution data in three hours or in three days (Sheridan 2010, 3-4). What kind of telematics could provide the forces the solutions to their operationally responsive space (ORS) as quickly as possible?
The immediate off the shelf digital solution would be to make this intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) information available on a need to know and on demand basis to the platoon, squad and team leader level using the as an improvement over the U.S. supplied GPS with its 2 meter accuracy. In other words, in this proposal, this author proposes mashing up the software so that it will provide them…