HMMWV In Scale

Mounted Battle Command On The Move (MBCOTM) HMMWV

 Here are a few images of MBCOTM HMMWV systems. These have been built in various configurations. Read the articles posted/linked below for more information.




Digital dreams:

New Army capability extends the reach of battle command

Digital dreams:

New Army capability extends the reach of battle command

by Timothy L. Rider


Public Affairs Office

A division commander faces a difficult choice. An important operation is underway, and one of his brigade commanders reports from his area of operation: “maybe if you could see it from my vantage point, you would understand my concerns.”


He agrees the situation needs personal attention, but it is a bad time to leave his command post. He asks himself, “If I leave, will I still be able to make sound decisions regarding the next phase of the operation?”


Yet in the Army today this tough choice is mitigated by a command post that rides along: Mounted Battle Command on the Move (MBCOTM).


Starting as a “side project” to meet an urgent operational needs statement developed by the Training and Doctrine Command’s Commanding General, Gen. William S. Wallace, when he was V Corps commanding general in 2002, the MBCOTM (frequently pronounced “em-bi-cot-um”) became a program of record June 20, 2005, and is preparing for the production contract phase intended to deliver six vehicles for each modular division, said Lt. Col. Michael Ryan, MBCOTM product manager.


Built upon the concept of the Command and Control Vehicle that was used during Operation Iraqi Freedom by V Corps and the 4th Infantry Division, MBCOTM is a wholesale redesign that integrates computer-based command and control applications and a mobile Ku-Band satellite antenna into the Army’s current battlefield network, built around the Joint Network Node.


Fits many vehicles

The MBCOTM network package is a “B-Kit” that can be fit into a number of vehicles, including High Mobility Multi-Purpose Wheeled Vehicles (HUMMVW’s), Bradley and Stryker vehicles.


With MBCOTM, a commander and his battle captains can keep abreast of operations by viewing a common operational picture updated automatically through the network; can review plans and view a variety of map overlays or visual representations of the battle; and can issue orders.

Communications capabilities are conducted using line-of-sight terrestrial radios and beyond-line-of-sight satellite communications.


Beyond Line of Sight communications are enabled by the Joint Network Node (JNN) Network, which can pass data and voice simultaneously using Voice-Over Internet Protocol, according to Ryan. A portable satellite telephone is also included.


“Command is an art and a science,” said Ryan “The science behind it is basically looking at what has been done in the past, analyzing it and applying it to a current situation. Then, come up with a process that enables military decision making.


“The art is how a guy filters through all the data available and quickly assesses what’s important in terms of providing guidance to his subordinates. If that data is current and it’s relevant and there’s no erroneous data, then he’s going to come up with a decent battle plan and be successful.”


“What’s important to the commander while he’s on-the-move are visualization tools tailored to his particular military decision- making process,” said Ryan.


MBCOTM operates with the commander, two battle captains and a driver.

When MBCOTM is operational there is less emphasis on planning, which is handled primarily by staffs at the fixed posts.


System developed here

The development, testing, fabrication, and training and sustainment packages for the system were created within the Communications-Electronics Life Cycle Management Command (CE LCMC) in its formal partnership with the Communications- Electronics Research Development and Engineering Center (CERDEC) here.


MBCOTM illustrates how building a platform with a “net-centric” mindset differs from traditional platform-focused development efforts.


“I’m a customer on the network,” said Ryan. “The Project Manager for Battle Command builds the applications. The Project Manager for Tactical Radio Communications Systems builds the network. I don’t even own the platform.”


That doesn’t mean MBCOTM’s developers didn’t face platform-type developmental challenges.


“The biggest issue with the whole design was just fitting it into the HMMWV,” said Pat DeGroodt, MBCOTM’s lead systems engineer and team leader of a support staff provided to the product manager from the Satellite and Terrestrial Communications Directorate of the CERDEC.


Integrating network components into the vehicle and within the battlefield network is an orchestrated process. Degroodt said he worked with the Systems Engineering Integrated Product Team, a part of Project Manager Tactical Radio Communications System (PM TRCS), which leads Army network configuration at echelons division and below.


The vehicle cannot operate successfully in a network environment until its network components are configured into the tactical network.


“It involves a detailed understanding of the network within each division,” said Degroodt. Units provide their unique mission requirements, task organization and component lists.


“Once you know every device on the battlefield, the Signal Center (Fort Gordon, Ga.) provides Internet Protocol space. You roll that up and you crank out configuration templates. It’s a big job,” Degroodt said.


Built here

The CERDEC Command and Control Directorate was selected as the builder to meet the operational needs statement requirements, said Ryan.


“We signed a memorandum of agreement with them last year and they performed exceptionally,” he said.


That directorate used a virtual reality system to integrate and fit components into the vehicle design using a computerized 3-D tool called the Computer Automated Visualization Environment, said Degroodt.


The Command and Control Directorate went from production design to fabrication of the first 12 vehicles at the “Tank Shop” facility here.


There remain transitions currently underway with MBCOTM.


“As we transition forward, we are going out on a source selection for a systems integrator to provide a baseline material solution that will be horizontally integrated across all three MBCOTM variants,” said Ryan. “The CERDEC’s function as a system builder will cease after this fiscal year, but they will still be relied on for technical expertise.”


Command post of the future

Also, the battle command applications that reside in the vehicle will be re-engineered to include the Command Post of the Future (CPOF), an application that began its development in the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency and is now being managed by the Army’s CE LCMC PM Battle Command.


The CPOF can shift easily between topographic views with operational overlay – known as the common operational picture -- timeline views and data spreadsheet views of the battlefield situation.  But it also features collaboration capabilities that make it a primary briefing tool for the 4th Infantry Division now in Iraq, said Dave Stevens, principal engineer for the product director, CPOF.


“Well over 500 people are hearing the commander’s Battle Update Briefing across the entire division using CPOF. It creates an environment that makes it a primary tool for communication,” said Stevens.


“Commanders want to see the data in a logical form that replicates the battlefield situation,” said Ryan. CPOF’s ease of use in creating combined operational overlays tailored to the commander’s particular style makes it desirable.


“Most of the guys are used to seeing a battle that way.  It’s not about the technology that makes the magic happen. Warfighters don’t really care about that and rightfully so. They’re concerned about how data is displayed for them so they can make solid tactical decisions,” he said.


There remain engineering challenges integrating CPOF into the network and applications architecture, including optimizing CPOF to work with the mobile antennas and integrating operational threads from the Army’s principal suite of planning, situational awareness and automated battle command applications known as Army Battle Command Systems (ABCS).


Tests soon

“We’ll conduct tests of CPOF in MBCOTM at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md., this summer,” said Stevens.


“From January 2005 to January 2006 we went from concept to a material solution. We started turning wrenches last summer and we were testing in August,” said Ryan. “We had to take all the brainpower from the CERDEC and the Program Executive Office Command, Control, Communications-Tactical and PM TRCS and use all those people to put together a material solution in a year.” The CE LCMC’s Logistics and Readiness Center helps Ryan understand spares requirements and develops training packages.


MBCOTM’s story is a perfect example of what happens when you engineer networked systems,” said Brig. Gen. Nickolas Justice, CE LCMC deputy commanding general for command, control and communications.


“By definition, a network touches everything. So many organizations within and without the CE LCMC become involved I can’t list them all. From my perspective within the CE LCMC MBCOTM is a big success because we went about creating the LCMC structure here to help us more flexibly direct personnel and resources toward collaborative efforts that meet Soldiers’ needs,”


“Everything is linked together,” said Ryan. “MBCOTM extends the reach of battle command by linking into the network while on the move to receive, send and display the ABCS data necessary to make sound tactical decisions. It takes the CE LCMC team to make MBCOTM a successful battle command enabler. We did not do this alone.”


Vehicle takes the command post to the enemy

by Desiree DiAngelo



From entrance to exit the fabrication shop is lined with High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicles (HMMWVs). A natural pathway carves itself down the center of the cement floor. Six vehicle systems, three on each side, stand perfectly spaced between one another, creating a sea of Army desert tan.


Not one vehicle is alike; each reflects a different stage in production. Some are hollowed out down to their metal shells; others are partially complete with seats and computer screens, while others are fully stocked with advanced communications technology and ready to roll into theater.


In the end, all the systems will go from bare HMMWVs to complete, totally fabricated and integrated vehicles ready to make commanders mobile in a way never before possible.


The vehicles, known as Mounted Battle Command On–the-Move (MBCOTM) systems, will provide all the capabilities of a stationary command post integrated into a HMMWV.


The systems were all built in the Communications-Electronics Research Development and Engineering Center’s (CERDEC) Command and Control Directorate (C2D) fabrication shop.


C2D took the project and worked on everything “in house” from the metal support structures to the cables.


“This project is a great teaming effort between government agencies. It was completely designed, built, and configured by the government, specifically CERDEC, C2D, the Space and Terrestrial Communications Directorate, the Product Manager MBCOTM and the Program Manager Tactical Radio Communications Systems”, Pat DeGroodt, chief of the Tactical Radio Communications Systems Branch, said.


MBCOTM’s mission is to provide the tactical commander with continuous situational awareness and understanding while moving to the decisive point on the battlefield.


The system allows the commander to exercise effective On–The-Move (OTM) Command and Control.


In comparison to other current operations which are command post centric and far removed from the battlefield action; MBCOTM is commander centric, offering an unprecedented system that is mobile, digitally integrated and self contained.


“Essentially it is a TOC (Tactical Operations Center) on wheels. It makes the commander mobile in a way like never before,” Rodney Young, C2D project manager for MBCOTM, said.


From the vehicle, the commander has the ability to access and obtain intelligence information, to lead and direct subordinate forces, to issue and update commander guidance and intent, and to synchronize operations.


“This allows his (the commander’s) units to see first, understand first and finish decisively,” Young said.


Included in its long list of benefits, MBCOTM is fully integrated with Army Battle Command Software applications, Blue Force Tracking, and various tactical radio communications systems.


Two key features for the OTM satellite communications system are its integration with the Joint Network Transport Capability –Spiral and for the first time the addition of the KU Band satellite.


“A means to gain timely and useful information quickly while on the move will enable the commander to make informed decisions in a manner consistently faster than the enemy,” Young said.


Inside the vehicle the commander will find multiple battle staff workstations, a Toc-NET, which is an integrated intercom and phone system and eight computer processor systems.


With its Line of Sight and Beyond Line of Sight communications systems, MBCOTM provides continuous digital connectivity while operating for extended periods of time, keeping the commander current on changing battlefield conditions.


Battle Command on the move (BCOTM) was implemented in five M-7 Bradley Battle Command Vehicles (BCV), of which four were deployed to Iraq.


“The BCV systems allowed the commander to move forward to the decisive point on the battlefield and engage in network centric warfare,” Young said.


Due to the success of the initial BCOTM’s, the Army formulized the program in conjunction with CERDEC’s Command and Control Directorate to implement the current MBCOTM system.


The MBCOTM program will add a more advanced Bradley and a Stryker Command variant to the family of systems in the future.


C2D will build 16 systems, and will be deploying the first six to Camp Victory, Iraq early this year, where they will be turned over to the units.


“The vehicles went through a complete system check, and a team of engineers will be onsite to set up and train users and receive feedback from the field to help improve the next installation of systems,” DeGroodt said.



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