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Prototype Warfare Innovations - Supporting The British Army On Op CABRIT

Prototype Warfare Innovations - Supporting The British Army On Op CABRIT
23 December 2020

Who Is The User? 

The Light Dragoons are Light Cavalry soldiers tasked with preparing the way for the rest of the force. They carry out various roles, from scouting for information to engaging enemy targets, whilst using Jackal 2 fighting vehicles and other tactical, lightweight equipment to deploy anywhere in the world – often at short notice. The wide range of operations they tackle means they get to make use of their diverse skill set in times of both peace and conflict.

The Light Dragoons are at the forefront of innovation and prototype warfare, having initiated Project THUNDERCAT. The enduring project looks to the defence industry for innovative solutions to ensure they remain up to date with the latest capabilities, allowing them to inform future requirements.

“I’ve kept this on for about 8 hours today and rarely had any discomfort. It has provided excellent protection, especially when firing the weapon system.” - Cpl D

Light Dragoons Light Cavalry Soldiers

 

This Operation & The Challenge

Vitavox was invited to conduct live experimentation with The Light Dragoons whilst deployed on OPERATION CABRIT in Eastern Poland. The Light Dragoons were deployed in a US Army Battlegroup in support of enhance Forward Presence NATO (eFP NATO). Additionally, Vitavox has supported many THUNDERCAT serials (events) and evolutions with a range of communications products and systems, both on-the-man and the platform. Light Cavalry units have recently rerolled from the previous vehicle CVR(T) to Jackal Mk2 and Coyote. 

As well as a vehicle change, the role has also changed, which requires Light Cavalry forces to evaluate current vs future capability. The challenge is to understand and assess emerging trends from an operational capability and adapt where required. Project THUNDERCAT looks to gain a better understanding in the following categories:

• EYES – STA (Surveillance and Target Acquisition) and the ability to find and track at distance

• EARS – Communications systems

• TEETH – Offensive capability

• SHIELD – Cam, concealment, and armour

• POWER – Platform power management and silent watch capability

 

Vitavox Innovation Concept Demonstrators

Vitavox have supplied and demonstrated a new ecosystem of products to the Light Dragoons, including:

Vitavic 400C – A vehicle communications harness system. The system allows for multiple radios to be connected and controlled, as well as intercom for the crew. Vitavic 400C is a compact version of the Vitavic 400 and which removes the physical aspect of selecting and controlling multiple radios when used in conjunction with the ViTac™ Personal Communication System.

Outacom® – The only military spec Tactical Public Address System available. Outacom® is a platform agnostic ‘plug and play’ system, which allows the crew to safely command and control an area from the safety of the platform, especially where civilians and local nationals are present. Ideally suited when used to INFLUENCE, INFORM, CONTROL and DETER

ViTac™ Personal Communication System (PCS) – comprising of a Headset, Noise Reduction Filters (NRF) and Personal Communications Control Unit (PCCU). The PCS provides the user with the ability to control multiple radios on the vehicle, intercom, with vastly improved hearing protection and increased situational awareness. The PCS allows for the user to seamlessly transit between Mounted and Dismounted operations without the requirement to change or remove component parts, a critical advantage in the increasingly cluttered digital battlefield.

ViTac™ Personal Communication System

 

How Did This Benefit Them?

Vitavic 400C enabled clear communications to the user, both via the radio and through the intercom. Currently when using the in-service harness system, the user has great difficulty in maintaining Intercom  with the crew whilst also monitoring the radios simultaneously. Vitavic 400C removes this burden by allowing for the crew to achieve both, whilst controlling the system from the on-the-man PCCU, instead of operating numerous switches from current in-service harness boxes.

Outacom® was used in multiple scenarios where there is no existing capability. Where British troops encountered Polish troops, an obvious language barrier lead to a roadblock stalemate, with potential for conflict escalation. An interpreter was utilised in HQ (10km in the rear) who communicated through the Combat Net Radio to instruct the Polish troops on the ground. Outacom® was connected to the Vitavic 400C and rebroadcasted the message via the vehicle loudspeakers (EOMs) to the Polish troops on the ground. With the British Troops now confirmed as allies, conflict was averted and the British troops were allowed to pass.  Avoiding confrontation and confusion, this action also saved time and allowed the mission to continue unhindered.

Interpreter uses Outacom to broadcast to foreign troops to clear roadblock

Outacom® was also used as a DECEPTION. Light Cav troops were tasked with a mounted probe of a US Army defensive position. Using a connected end user device loaded with sound files, they transmitted armoured tracked vehicle movement through the system as a deception. The US troops reacted to the deception by reporting the ‘armoured vehicles’ in their area, and subsequently altered their troop disposition to counter the threat. The added benefit of utilising Outacom® in a DECEPTION role.

ViTac™ Personal Communication System (PCS) was issued to a crew of 4 soldiers, who had previously used in-service headsets and PTT’s. The soldiers found the system to be of huge benefit to them both from an individual perspective and as a crew, with a step change to current capability. Used in the mounted role, the user was able to maintain crew safety through clear, continuous, and uninterrupted intercom, whilst also monitoring and controlling all vehicle radios through the Headset and PCCU. Where normally the Lt Cavalry Soldier would require separate headsets to control vehicle and on-the-man-radios, this was instead achieved via the PCCU simultaneously.

When the crew dismounted the vehicle to conduct dismounted operations, the transition was seamless.

The Noise Reduction Filters, an additional layer of hearing protection and part of the complete PCS, were used as standalone protection as well as a layered approach to hearing protection in combination with the ViTac™. The soldiers reported that the NRFs gave them a level of hearing protection combined with situational awareness never experienced before; defending against loud impulses such as the weapons system or vehicle tracks, whilst allowing for clear speech to be heard when damaging levels of noise was present.

For more information, ask Vitavox about Outacom and ViTac PCS, and how it can help with your scenario.

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Outacom Case Study

Outacom Case Study
28 February 2019

The Customer

General Dynamics UK (GDUK) is part of the General Dynamics Corporation (GD) and is one of the UK’s leading defence companies, and an important supplier to the UK Ministry of Defence (MOD). With increasing revenue totalling $32bn (2018) as the successful providers of defence platforms across Land, Sea and Air GD are pioneers in the industry.

GDUK are supplying the AJAX (formerly Scout) AFV to the British Army.

AJAX is a highly-agile, tracked, medium-weight armoured fighting vehicle, providing British troops with state-of-the-art best-in-class protection. GDUK are responsible for bringing together all the individual products and systems to install onto the finished vehicle.



The Challenge

Prior to Outacom® the Vitavox full military specification Public Address system, there was no way for the Commander inside the vehicle to communicate with the civilian population without opening the access hatch and then exposing themselves to danger.

The AJAX family of vehicles will be deployed in a wide variety of situations, including travelling through occupied territory and interacting with the local population.

Reducing risk and protecting personnel is therefore of critical importance.

The Solution

Building upon Vitavox’s experience with communications systems in military environments we developed Outacom - The Tactical Vehicle Public-Address System. This was designed, tested and delivered to GDUK and is their required solution for the AJAX vehicles to keep personnel under cover, whilst giving them this Public Address communication capability. Also, with a range of 300 metres and the ability to output both microphone and pre-recorded messages, this is a new enhanced and valued additional benefit.

The Outacom system is made up from two rugged loudspeakers, a programable integrated control unit, noise cancelling military microphone and securing brackets. Additional functionality in AJAX includes listening capability, which allows two-way conversations whilst remaining safe inside the vehicle.

The Outacom PA system is being fully integrated with AJAX’s electronic and communication systems minimising duplication of equipment and for speed use whilst maintaining security protocols.



The Benefits

Outacom will help save soldier lives by keeping personnel behind cover, inside the vehicle when communicating with the outside world. AFV Commanders need no longer expose their head to interact with civilians or the potential enemy. Civilian lives will be saved by civilians being informed what is the safest course of action for them to take given current circumstances.

The 300 metre range and the ability to output pre-recorded messages in the local language expands this civilian communication capability. In certain circumstances it will also be a useful method to communicate with friendly dismounted soldiers.

With Outacom installed, verbal communication becomes safer and can be included in escalation of force potentially, not only informing local civilians, but also communicating alternatives to combat. De-escalation of potential conflict is not only desirable, but now more attainable and with reduced risk.

The PA system meets or exceeds all Def Stan, MIL-SPEC and IP requirements to ensure it survives the harsh environments it will encounter in the field.

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Design Cycle UHF Headset

Design Cycle UHF Headset
28 February 2019

BAE request a fully manufactured UHF receive only headset for the Astute program

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