It is a milestone for the implementation of the program “Digitalization of Land-based Operations” (Digitalisierung Landbasierte Operationen, D-LBO): Following laboratory tests, the digital communication platform TACTICAL CORE by military IT provider blackned has now also completed the final testing phase under combat-like conditions – and is now considered operational.

The digitalization of armed forces is developing at a high rate. As part of the program “Digitalization of Land-based operations” (D-LBO), the military IT provider blackned, based in Heimertingen in Swabia, was awarded a contract by the German Armed Forces in 2021 to develop a software for an effective network that connects all units involved on the battlefield. TACTICAL CORE, which consists of several software components, has now passed the final tests under combat-like conditions. Even after the first laboratory tests, feedback by the developer and the German Armed Forces was positive throughout. Thanks to its core feature, TACTICAL CORE is a significant part of the D-LBO program. “TACTICAL CORE therefore meets all the requirements to be put into operation”, says Timo Haas. The CEO of blackned is proud of his team that reliably developed the TACTICAL CORE communication system in such a short time span. “The software architects, the product managers, the project leaders, and the development team have all completed their tasks in a target-oriented, effective, and passionate manner. I would like to thank them.”

The superiority of armed forces is increasingly dependent on the availability of centrally hosted digital services that ensure the optimal exchange of data between all systems within the operation. “Software and artificial intelligence (AI) are critical enablers of modern military operations, lead the evolution towards multi-domain operations, enhance interoperability among allied forces, and support the achievement of information superiority and decision-advantage against adversaries”, the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) writes in its report “Software-defined Defence: Algorithms at War” (February 2023). With a background in high-tech software and specialized military IT systems, Blackned GmbH is a leader in the development of communication and control systems that make Software-defined Defense (SDD) possible. TACTICAL CORE combines three software components. XONITOR is a monitoring and management tool, RIDUX ensures a reliable and efficient data and communication infrastructure, while the patented MeshFLOW system enables seamless connectivity, even when soldiers dynamically move across the battlefield. The Federal Office for Security in Information Technology (Bundesamt für Sicherheit in der Informationstechnik, BSI) has certified TACTICAL CORE’s data transfer for the highest security level “NATO Restricted” – proof of safe and authorized communication.

During the final functional tests, blackned and the Military Technical Center examined the operability in simulated deployment scenarios. During the tests, units consisting of vehicles and personnel used TACTICAL CORE in combat-like conditions. “The collaboration with the Military Technical Center and the German Armed Forces was a success, and the results of these tests are an important step forwards for the D-LBO program”, comments Haas.

The main challenge during the development of TACTICAL CORE was the multitude of systems that are deployed on the battlefield, the outermost tactical regions, and in operational command centers. The interaction and exchange of data, or the communication between analog radios with digital devices such as smartphones, is only possible with the help of an interoperable IT network. Similarly, joint operations between different units and armed forces, as well as the use of an increasing amount of digital equipment, technologies, and systems, has created an IT complexity that necessitates effective interoperability to exchange data in an expedient and safe manner. This is what TACTICAL CORE is capable of.   

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