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Battle Control System Mobile (BCS-M)

In September 2008 the US Air Force decided to pull the financial plug on the mobile command-and-control system conceived as an offshoot of the Battle Control System Fixed (BCS-F), the program meant to marry FAA and NORAD radars to prevent terrorists from completing another 9/11-type attack. Top service acquisition officials decided to close the coffers on Battle Control System Mobile (BCS-M), a move which would killed the system, except for a trickle of developmental funding that could be squeezed from BCS-F. BCS-F Increment 3 and subsequent software upgrades were to be developed under the BCS-Mobile contract as "common" software for both BCS-F and BCS-M. As of November 2008, Battle Control System - Mobile (BCS-M) was terminated by SAF/AQ, as recommended by Air Combat Command.

Thales Raytheon Systems (TRS) was the prime for BCS-M. Battle Control System-Fixed (BCS-F) is for the first two spirals and both BCS-F and BCS-M are for the third spiral. On 01 June 2004 Innovative Solutions, Hollywood, Md., was awarded a $30,000,000 indefinite delivery/indefinite quantity contract to provide for the Battle Control System-Mobile (BCS-M), an ongoing Air Force evolutionary acquisition/spiral development program to update and eventually replace the legacy ground theater air control system control and reporting center (CR) command and control (C2) system. Future delivery orders from FY04-FY08 potential best estimate quantities of 15 MSS, 17 EC3 and 35 CSS readiness squares.

The Battle Control System-Mobile (BCS-M) would provide the full spectrum of tactical level aerospace Command and Control (C2) battle management and execution functions to include the following C2 battle management core competencies: (1) Theater Air Defense (TAD); (2) C2 Data Link Management; (3) Surveillance; (4) Combat Identification (CID); and (5) Air Battle Execution. BCS-M would provide persistent ground 'presence' to support military actions that otherwise would require inordinate levels of airborne C2 support to accomplish. It's a low density, high demand, rapidly deployable Theater Battle Management critical C2 capability. BCS-M would be the replacement for the legacy Modular Control System (MCS), deployed in the 1980s, for Air Combat Command (ACC), and would be used by the Joint Force Air Component Commander (JFACC) for execution of theater air operations. BCS-M would provide connectivity and interoperability among elements of the Theater Air Control System to create a single integrated air picture.

BCS-M and the Battle Control System-Fixed (BCS-F) which together make up the Battle Control Systems (BCS) would have an enhanced aerospace command, control, and communications capability to help meet the operational and deployment requirements associated with the Expeditionary Airfield (EAF). These new capabilities are important to attain the objectives outlined in Joint Vision 2020 and America's Air Force Vision 2020, to be "globally engaging" anywhere in the world at any time. The BCS-M was being designed with open systems architecture to meet future requirements and will also take advantage of technological improvements to be more lightweight, tailorable, and reliable while reducing the forward deployed footprint. The newly designed BCS-M Battle Control Center (BCC) would reduce the number of personnel exposed to high threat situations.

BCS-M Increment 3 was the development, integration, test, and fielding of five BCC Production Representative Systems (three Light configuration systems and two Heavy configuration systems). The BCC Light configuration was comprised of the Tactical Operations Center (TOC) Light and the Expeditionary Command and Control Center (EC3) Core/Support. The BCC Heavy configuration was comprised of the Mission Systems Suite (MSS)/TOC. BCS-M Increment 3 was the first BCS-M Increment providing BCC capabilities to the field; prior BCS-M Increments fielded legacy system capabilities. BCS-M Increment 3 Initial Operational Capability (IOC) and BCS-M System IOC (same milestone) would be achieved with the five BCC systems with Release 3.2 software. BCS-M Increment 3 Full Operational Capability (FOC) would be achieved with the same five BCC systems with Release 3.3 software. BCS-M System FOC would be declared when all 31 systems (25 Light systems and 6 Heavy systems) were delivered with Increment 4 capabilities. BCS-M and BCS-Fixed both utilized the Common Battle Management Software, for which additional capabilities were being developed for Increment 3.

In late 2007 the Pentagon deployed a new mobile system to Iraq - the Battle Control Center CENTAF (BC3) - to replace the outdated system currently there. That new $30 million system was administered by the Army, with the Air Force providing funding. At that time the price tag for the Battle Control System-Mobile (BCS-M) was estimated at hundreds of millions of dollars. Despite the investments made in BCS-M, when the Pentagon needed to replace its old, unreliable and unsafe system in Iraq, it found another at a fraction of the cost and time. BCS-M would take nearly two years to get into the field and would still need to be reworked. The system chosen for the job, BC3, took only two months short of a year.

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