The Army Warfighting Experiment (AWE) is an annual event where the MOD invites industry to demonstrate technologies which might bring advantages to Defence. For the recent AWE20, the Land Systems Reference Centre (LSRC) supported the 2020 theme of: ‘Identify how the Army can exploit developments in technology in the Agile Command, Control and Communication space’.
With this year’s focus being on communications it has been necessary for the MOD to provide an Experiment Support Network (ESN) to enable vendors to communicate and to distribute services around the Salisbury Plain Training Area (SPTA). For which, the LSRC has provided the infrastructure, processes and procedures to support each of the complex experiments orchestrated by MODs Future Capability Group (FCG).
To achieve this, over the last 4 months the LSRC has collaboratively progressed from a completely blank piece of paper to defining, procuring, building and deploying the ESN enabling the Army to realise exploitation of rapid innovation and integration. This network provides the whole gambit of a deployed infrastructure; commercial Internet connectivity presented to a Network Interface Point (NIP) through a 40Gbps core infrastructure to deliver common services, the provision of a Battlefield Management Application (BMA) and a Voice over IP (VoIP) capability. This is then delivered to the vendors with access provided to the user by both cabled and Wi-Fi infrastructures.
Moving from development to delivery, the LSRC are now supporting the experiment in the assessment phase by providing a deployable test service. Using the MOD provided test tools, the LSRC team will support the ESN providing system integration support and will use these tools to provide an impartial assessment of vendor products. This will include such areas as measuring link throughputs, capturing and then analysing network traffic and emulating the network characteristics that mimic austere deployed networks.
About the LSRC
In 2019, Airbus agreed a five-year contract with the UK Ministry of Defence (MOD) to manage test and reference services to support the delivery and assured release of Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (C4ISR) capability for deployed operations around the globe. Located at Blandford Camp in Dorset, the Royal Corps of Signals’ headquarters, the LSRC provides the MOD with a through life ‘Systems of Systems’ Test and Reference service. It provides an appropriate test, integration and transition capability that assures release packages for introduction onto the Defence Network and in support of operations and exercises. The LSRC can provide support and specialist advice for deployed and base ICT capabilities throughout their lifecycle. The LSRC has the capability to test applications and application upgrades on reference systems to assess their impact on other applications and the network as well as the network’s impact on the application.