Friday, December 14, 2007

Modern Naval Fire Support

TKMS, in its latest release on the F125, has confirmed planned integration of ADLER-II/ASCA into the ship's FCS. A little thing that popped up somewhere in the middle of the text, without much fanfare. And as I understand it, the integration is not just for a proprietary system with an ASCA interface, but full-scale ADLER-II integration.

Now what does that mean? Simple - ASCA is an interface protocol for NATO artillery C2I systems, here in particular the German Army's ADLER-II artillery combat network. ADLER-II provides information distribution, establishment of the battlefield situation, full fire direction and fire control capability for all connected units, and the necessary calculation routines regarding weapon and ammunition selection based on target, weather, geological information and other parameters.

ASCA itself is a joint protocol also allowing the ADLER-II network nodes - and the F125 - to be networked with other Artillery C2I systems, such as the US AFATDS system.
This integration is on some levels similar to the USN Naval Fire Control System (NFCS), although NFCS requires some more complicated local problem resolvement.

This integration will allow a F125 offshore to act within the battlefield network as "just another" artillery gun - available to the artillery network without complication, and capable of providing naval fire support as directed by standard Army forward artillery observers.

What will be interesting is whether they'll integrate the RBS-15 Mk4 missiles into the network as well - it's currently being done for GMLRS missiles on Germany's MARS launchers, so guided systems are definitely not out. Shouldn't be that much trouble, as the Mk4 system is still under early development, and would be a real force multiplier on a tactic-strategic level.

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