In my last article I highlighted Application Development Framework, Data Fusion, Situational Awareness & Common Operational Picture (COP), Cognitive Information Processing using Artificial Intelligence (AI), Knowledge Management (KM) Systems, Communications middleware, Information Assurance as mission critical technologies for military systems such as UAV/ROV/UUV etc. Today we look at the the first key element – Application Development Framework.

The aim of defining the Application Development Framework is to establish a framework that will (a) enable extension and evolution of the info-structure to the evolving operational scenario (b) establish mechanism for providing a ‘best possible’ common operating picture and decision support under a electronically degraded environment. This is easier said than done as we (OEM’S) will need to establish methods of solution delivery that is consistent with user priority, provide solutions under varying network bandwidth and network capability in an operational scenario in the battlefield. The Applications thus will need to be evolutionary with defined software lifecycle standards for large scale interoperability and verification. The start point would therefore be open standards, formats and interfaces which would need to be customised as per the Users Command and Control System requirements.

Military software is an evolving field at both scientific and engineering levels. The OEMs will need to keep in mind that at the systems level the Application software’s capability, deployment and exploitation is likely to get refined based on experiences of using such systems in the battlefield environment. It therefore becomes incumbent upon the developers/designers to support the Users existing as well as future Command and Control software applications. This is achievable with a deep understanding of operational needs, deployment scenario, information/ network infrastructure and standardisation of formats/ protocols. Broadly network interfaces, database interfaces and network sensing will play a key role in successful deployment the OEMs Application.

In sum OEMs should be prepared to deploy their applications in a ‘Network of networks’ and ‘System of Systems’ environment. This is by no means an easy task especially for UAV/ROV/AUV designers. Key to success will lie in a deep understanding of the users operational perspective and requirements, an endeavour the Military must undertake from time to time on high priority basis.

In my next article I will discuss Data Fusion, without which Sensor to Shooter cycle is incomplete.