Friday, September 22, 2023

Command and Cruise Control Operations in American Defence

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Global C2 systems-maritime (GCCS-M). GCCS-M is a system that receives, processes, displays and manages data on the readiness of neutral, friendly and hostile forces in near-real-time. It does this via external communication channels, local area networks and direct interfaces with other systems. Any information the CSG commander required for the mission, be it intelligence or meteorological data, is sent through this system from the higher ups. It is through this GCCS-M system that the commander of the CSG takes orders from the higher command and passes situation reports to the higher command.

For a CSG commander, GCCS-M aids in the decision-making process by displaying relevant tactical information. For example, the CSG is anchored 300km from enemy shore. Job of the CSG is to neutralise an enemy nuclear missile base situated 200km inland. The condition for neutralisation is that the missile base readies itself for a nuclear missile launch. But, how will the CSG commander know that the nuclear missile base is ready for missile launch?

This information can only be gathered by people of the likes of a man drinking a Vodka Martini and who is addressed as 007. Purely, the data he collects is intelligence related. Such information is not available through the CSG’s resources for the CSG commander. So in this case, intelligence has to be supplied by the high command to the CSG commander.

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If the enemy nuclear missile base readies for a missile launch, the CSG commander is issued an order to neutralise that base. This is done through GCCS-M. For such information exchanges, datalinks TADIXS and OTCIXS play a vital role.

Fig 32
Fig. 32: ACDS display (Image courtesy: US Navy)

The CSG commander can also access information through special wireless Internet systems. CSG is a node in secure internet protocol router network (SIPRNET), non-secure internet protocol router network (NIPRNET) and joint worldwide intelligence communication system (JWICS).

SIPRNET is a military Internet system owned by Department of Defence (DoD) of the USA. It has only restricted access. Through this Internet, classified information is passed through packet switching.

NIPRNET is a type of Internet that is used to exchange sensitive but non-secret information between privileged users and at the same time provides them Internet access. Again, Internet Protocol routers are owned by DoD of the USA.

JWICS is DoD’s, top-secret version of the Internet, together with its secret counterpart, SIPRNET.

Previously, GCCS-M was implemented through high-performance UNIX workstations because of their capability to run GCCS-M specific software. The trend of availability of increasing computing power and increasing software versatility is leading to a migration of GCCS-M towards off-the-shelf systems.

ACDS. This is a centralised, automated C2 system. It is used to collect and correlate combat information on the air, in the surface, sub-surface and EW environments. It acts as a central repository of all tactically significant targets (detected by radars and sonars) for the CSG.

ACDS is a comprehensive system and contains many computers, a display system with many consoles. It integrates on a mainframe computer the information from carrier’s sensor systems, datalinks, navigation/air traffic control systems and weapon systems. This system is operated by 23 crew members.

Computers running application-specific software collate and correlate data. All surface and air search radar tracks and sonar tracks are communicated to the ACDS by Aegis ships of the CSG through datalinks. The respective ships derive their coordinates from their navigation systems called inertial navigation system, cross referred by a GPS.

This they send with their identification data while sending track data. ACDS, after receiving all data, correlates it with various similar tracks and positional coordinates of that ship. For example, two ships present in the CSG but sailing at different locations might have sent track data of the same enemy aircraft to the ACDS. In reality, these tracks are nothing but the track of the same aircraft taken from different locations.

ACDS, after correlation, classifies that track as the same aircraft by comparing the positional coordinates sent by the ships. This is called grid-locking. Like this, the ACDS displays the tracks accordingly to provide an overall tactical picture around the CSG. This gives the CSG commander the capability to identify targets, classify these and prioritize threats for easy decision making.

Based upon the threat, the commander initiates engagements like vectoring combat aircraft to targets, or launching SAM from a destroyer, or launching anti-ship missile from a destroyer.

Generally, all constituent ships of the CSGs are delegated with responsibilities to deal with threats occurring in their sectors. In one Aegis cruiser, the air defence command centre of the CSG, there is an air defence warfare commander working full-time. His or her commands are executed by the captains of Aegis cruisers and destroyers.


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