Command and control (C2) systems are proving increasingly important across modern warfare. Can you briefly explain why?

Elias Silvola: The increasing importance of command and control (C2) systems in modern warfare – notably in conflicts like Ukraine – is driven by several key factors.

Firstly, the integration of diverse data streams has become crucial. Modern battlefields are overwhelmed with a variety of sensor inputs and data streaming devices, from high-resolution videos to complex sensor feeds. This marks a significant evolution from earlier C2 systems, which mainly depended on radio communications. Today’s systems must integrate these streams effectively to provide a clear and actionable picture of the battlefield at the tactical level. The complexity and sheer volume of this data require advanced C2 systems that are not only capable of collecting this information but also filtering and synthesising it to aid decision-making.

“It’s crucial that C2 systems not only collect and consolidate data but also effectively filter out the noise and prioritise what’s essential.”

Secondly, the integration of commercialoff- the-shelf (COTS) solutions has expanded the functionality of C2 systems. These systems need to manage a broad spectrum of military and non-military hardware and software, demanding greater flexibility and adaptability. This capability enhances operational effectiveness – but also means that C2 systems must swiftly adapt to new technologies and data formats.

Additionally, the expansion of so-called MESH networks, from special forces to general army applications, also highlights the need for robust networking solutions. Lastly, the need for interoperability across different military branches and international allies, such as Nato, cannot be overstated.

What are the consequences of this for the number of streaming devices on the battlefield, and the ability of C2 systems to package and transfer data effectively?

On one hand, when we consider the proliferation of streaming devices across the modern battlefield, we’re essentially looking at a double-edged sword in terms of data management and operational effectiveness. If a C2 system is adept at processing and analysing this influx of data, the outcome is positive. Such systems enhance situational awareness remarkably, enriching the battlefield picture and thereby accelerating decision-making processes.

On the other hand, challenges arise when this data is not processed efficiently. The risk here is data overload – whereby tactical and strategic decision-makers get swamped with excessive information, much of which may not be immediately relevant. This scenario can significantly lengthen the OODA loop, complicate mission planning, and ultimately bog down the operational pace. It’s crucial that C2 systems not only collect and consolidate data but also effectively filter out the noise and prioritise what’s essential.

Furthermore, the ability of C2 systems to package and transfer this data efficiently cannot be overstated. Without robust data management protocols, the network can become overwhelmed, leading to delays and disruptions in information flow. In essence, the sophistication and effectiveness of C2 systems in managing the data from a multitude of streaming devices are directly linked to operational success. These systems are pivotal in ensuring that commanders can maintain a clear and actionable operational picture, enabling them to make informed decisions swiftly and maintain operational tempo across the spectrum of modern warfare.

In a similar vein, and especially given varying bandwidth conditions, how important is it for C2 systems to be able to optimise performance across multiple networks?

Certainly, the ability of command and control (C2) systems to optimise performance across multiple network conditions is absolutely critical, both for the integrity of data streaming and the overall functionality of the network. The dynamic nature of modern battlefields means that network conditions can vary drastically and unpredictably.

For instance, when streaming video, it is imperative that the C2 system autonomously analyses the network’s condition – and adjusts variables such as frame rates – to maintain the quality of the video. Network reliability is another crucial factor too. There are situations where networks may become unavailable.

A robust C2 system must be able to detect such disruptions, manage them efficiently, and upon reconnection, intelligently resume data transmission from the most relevant point. It’s not practical to buffer through old footage upon reconnection because that delays decision-making processes and can lead to decisions based on outdated information. From a broader perspective, optimising how each data streaming device utilises bandwidth is essential for network efficiency.

In general, how is Modirum’s C2 technology designed to ensure excellent technical performance under the toughest conditions?

Modirum’s C2 technology is strategically engineered to deliver exceptional technical performance, particularly under demanding conditions, which is crucial for maintaining operational effectiveness in various military contexts. Our technology incorporates a range of patented and proprietary solutions specifically aimed at optimising data streaming even in the most challenging environments.

A key feature of our system is its dynamic analysis of network conditions, which allows the system to adjust throughput automatically and effectively. Unlike more static systems, Modirum’s C2 technology is responsive to real-time changes in network bandwidth and availability, ensuring that data transfer is continuously optimised for current conditions. This capability is vital for maintaining communication and situational awareness during critical operations.

“AI can enable us to do different scenarios based on the current situation and historical data. Imagine being able to foresee the potential outcomes of various decisions before you even make them.”

Moreover, while our system prioritises real-time data transmission during network congestion, it also retains all high-quality frames. These are stored for post-mission review and are transmitted back once the network conditions stabilise and allow for larger data transfers. This feature ensures that no critical data is lost, even if immediate transmission is compromised by bandwidth limitations.

Additionally, our solutions are designed to maximise network availability for numerous simultaneous devices and to reduce OPEX for our clients, which is particularly significant in scenarios involving costly satellite connectivity. Overall, Modirum’s approach to C2 technology integration demonstrates our commitment to supporting military operations with robust, adaptive, and efficient communication and data management solutions, ensuring that forces remain well-informed and connected, even under the most adverse conditions.

Especially when it comes to tightening the so-called OODA loop, how can you explain how your team leverages AI?

Integrating AI into our C2 systems – enhancing the OODA loop – is fundamentally changing how we manage information and make decisions in realtime. Let me break down how we’re using AI to tighten this loop effectively.

First, in the observation phase, AI is a game changer. It processes incoming data faster than any team of humans, and this can be data that includes satellite imagery, sensor readings, and real-time intelligence. What this means in practice is that we can identify changes and potential threats much more quickly than ever before. AI doesn’t get tired, it doesn’t get overwhelmed by the volume – it just keeps churning through the information, providing a clear and detailed situational picture.

Regarding orientation, here AI helps us make sense of all that data. It can digest tons of information and spit out what’s important, helping us to quickly grasp complex operational environments.

When we get to decision-making, AI supports this by bringing predictive analytics into the mix. It can simulate different scenarios based on the current situation and historical data. Imagine being able to foresee the potential outcomes of various decisions before you even make them – that’s what AI is enabling us to do. Finally, in terms of action, AI can automate certain responses, particularly those that are more routine or less complex.

This allows our human operators to focus their attention on where it’s most needed, on those decisions that require a deep, nuanced understanding.

Finally, another field being transformed by C2 systems are UAVs. How are you tackling this?

The integration of C2 systems with UAVs is revolutionising the landscape of modern warfare. We’re deeply invested in advancing the capabilities of UAVs through innovative applications of C2 systems, and there are a couple of areas where we’re particularly focused.

Firstly, the concept of autonomous swarming is at the forefront of our developments. We’re exploring the coordinated operations of hundreds, even thousands, of drones.

This isn’t just about having a large number of UAVs in the air; it’s about enabling them to operate in a joint manner, where they can share information, make decisions, and execute missions collectively, of course with humans always in the loop.

Secondly, we’re tackling the challenges of navigation in environments where GPS or other global navigation satellite systems (GNSS) might be denied or unreliable.

This is crucial for operating in contested environments where traditional navigation systems are compromised. We are integrating map-based AI navigation technologies that allow UAVs to understand and navigate their environments using visual or other sensor-based inputs rather than relying solely on satellite signals.

These developments represent transformative changes in warfare – altogether positioning us at the cutting edge of UAV and C2 system integration.