Lt. Col. B.J. Stephens, the tracker project manager for Program Executive Office Soldier Command Control Communications Tactical, said the new network will be roughly 10 times faster than the existing one, but it’s hard to compare because the networks are completely different.
The tracking system works like this: Transceivers send information up to a satellite and then down to a ground station, which sends the information to the units in the field. This eliminates a step from the current model, which requires information to reach a Network Operations Center located in the U.S.
The new platform also will allow troops to access information and photos from their vehicles, information that previously was available only at the Tactical Operations Center. This means soldiers can highlight their routes before departing on patrols and also see what happened on that route the last time the tracker was used.
Besides speed, the new tracking system offers other advantages, including the ability to transmit and receive messages at the same time, something the current system doesn’t allow. Users will also be able to transmit imagery, such as pictures of an enemy target.