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Army June 21, 2012
FROM the start of the project, the Land Network
Integration Centre's (LNIC) focus was developing and
deploying the network covering a division headquarters
to a battalion headquarters, including the intelligence,
surveillance, reconnaissance (ISR) elements.
CO LNIC Lt-Col Darcy Rawlinson said the task was
to build a network which would meet or exceed Army's
"It's not until you start building, testing and demon-
strating the network that you really get an understand-
ing of what the requirements are and what the emerging
technologies can do," he said.
LNIC concentrated on the network devices needed
to move, process and store data, including the servers
and routers used to provide the core of the network.
Lt-Col Rawlinson said the team was able to add
parts to the network, including satellite and wide band
internet protocol radios.
"We then looked at the services and applications the
users would require like the battle group and brigade
battle management system and the joint command and
control systems," he said.
"There were a lot of different systems we wanted
to bring together and we needed to ensure the network
allowed us to integrate the software applications.
"We also had to ensure we had the capacity to do
what we needed in the future for disseminating intel-
ligence, surveillance and reconnaissance products, such
as full motion video and imagery around the battle
space, as this was a shortfall we had already identified."
Security domains were the next big issue tackled
by LNIC, considering the differences in the Defence
Secret Network and the tactical environment, which
would use a mission secret network or a tactical secret
A yet-to-be-accredited security solution was incor-
porated to transfer information across the domains.
Lt-Col Rawlinson said LNIC also had to comply
with the robust Chief Information Officer Group archi-
tecture to plan the network, keeping Army on the same
track as Navy and Air Force.
"The ADF is breaking new ground as this means we
will have one network which can pass information from
Joint Operations Command right down to a platoon
commander and vice-versa," he said.
Chief Information Officer Group engaged CISCO
Systems to develop the architecture for the future
Defence network from the strategic through to the tacti-
LNIC has been working directly with CISCO
Systems to develop the deployed land components of
"The network we have built is close to 90 per cent
commercial and military off-the-shelf technologies,
which are available now, but what is really important
is how the pieces are put together," Lt-Col Rawlinson
"We are also able to take advantage of some newer
technologies, particularly in the virtualisation of serv-
ers, which gives a single platform the ability to perform
many different tasks and helps us save on size, weight
"There are still some limitations on what is possible
and it is an evolutionary process to determine what we
can achieve. The lessons we learn will be fed back into
the system and turned into real capabilities which are
then delivered to soldiers."
Wired for the future
The future of battlefield communications is
closer than many people realise, Cpl Mark
Doran reports in words and images.
IMAGINE a communications
network which fed command-
ers imagery and video from
units in the field and allowed
network managers to quickly
assign bandwidth to important
These were some of the capa-
bilities of the Land Reference
Network demonstrated to Defence
leaders at Majura Range in
Canberra on May 30 by AHQ's
Land Network Integration Centre
The demonstration was the first
operational run of the new network,
which used the network architec-
ture of a division headquarters
down to the battalion headquarters.
Developed by AHQ, the Land
Reference Network aimed to iden-
tify the types of technology sol-
diers would be using in the future
to pass information around the bat-
CO LNIC Lt-Col Darcy
Rawlinson said bandwidth require-
ments were a concern for modern
"There will never be enough
bandwidth available, so we need to
be smart with the way we use it,"
"We use what is called 'quality
of service' to make sure the impor-
tant pieces of information have pri-
ority on the network.
"On this system the operators
or network managers will have the
ability to choose what information
is the most important at any given
time. For example, troops in con-
tact will have priority over a com-
mander's video conference."
Unlike a combat net radio, the
Land Reference Network can plug
into existing radio nets such as the
emergency services radio network
with converged voice and internet
This allows the headquarters
staff to talk on traditional radio nets
col phones on their desks.
The demonstration showed a
brigade-level battle management
system using a Google Earth back-
end for the mapping data, which
could be overlaid with military
The system gives intelligence
staff the ability to paste thumb-
nails of more detailed information
such as video, stills or intelligence
reports, available on demand.
LNIC also demonstrated the
ability to use a defended Wi-Fi net-
work with a cut-down battle man-
agement system being operated on
a tablet computer.
Lt-Col Rawlinson said person-
nel had a strong desire to be able
to use hand-held wireless devices
in the field.
"The ability to be able to move
around the headquarters and not
be tethered to the command post
means a commander can main-
tain situational awareness with the
same command and control abili-
ties," he said.
"Logically the next step is to
take that to the tactical level with a
vehicle providing the Wi-Fi hub for
dismounted soldiers in its vicinity,
which is where we will be looking
in the next 12 months.
"As complex as the network is,
it is uncomplicated to use and can
be quickly reconfigured to allow
other users to join."
Field demonstration: WO2 Ty Cantwell, of the Land Network Integration Centre, demonstrates the
battle management system at Majura Range. Inset, Land Reference Network project manager Mark
Watson explains the system's capabilities to official guests.
Future tech: LNIC CO Lt-Col Darcy Rawlinson
introduces the Land Reference Network to official
guests at a demonstration at Majura Range.
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