View Full Version : Mobile Army Tactical Operations Centers in Iraq

07-03-2004, 03:23 PM
New Mobile Army Tactical Operations Centers in Iraq Deploy RGB Spectrum's Real Time Display Technology

30 June 2004

One of the main elements of the U.S. Army's transformation into a lighter, faster, rapidly deployable fighting force is the implementation of a new generation of mobile infantry command posts or Tactical Operations Centers (TOCs). The 82nd Airborne Infantry Division, headquartered in Fort Bragg, North Carolina, is one of the Army's most potent warfighting organizations. In support of Operation Iraqi Freedom, the Army contracted with audio visual system specialists, MCSi Inc. in Raleigh, North Carolina to design and build a new portable TOC for use by the 82nd Airborne. Betsy Mayer, Senior Account Executive for MCSi and civilian manager for the project explained, "MCSi was charged with developing a new mobile command post that would perform flawlessly under extreme conditions with optimum image quality. This new TOC had to meet portability requirements of the infantry command and integrate numerous live battlefield images into a centralized observation and command center."
The U.S. Army 82nd Airborne Infantry Division's new mobile command post deploys RGB Spectrum's QuadView™ display processor to enhance real time battlefield communications in Operation Iraqi Freedom.

"Previous command centers tracked the battlefield theater in an outdated manner. Personnel used 6-foot by 6-foot maps and stuck pins with labels in them. They also used old computer systems to track data, which had to be printed and placed on the map because the information could not be fed into any type of display device. Our mission was to evolve this primitive system to a far more efficient and effective battlefield communication center."

"To maximize situation awareness for the command personnel, we needed a display system that could show multiple images from a variety of inputs on one screen. Additionally, the equipment had to withstand the harsh conditions out in the desert. This was a custom design, that came down to quality and reliability. MCSi's experience with RGB Spectrum's QuadView display processor made the choice simple. The QuadView offers-field proven dependability, supports the myriad of battlefield input signals required, and displays four images simultaneously in real time on a single display with excellent quality."

The QuadView processors receive both computer and video inputs. Computer inputs come from a group of twelve PCs with images consisting of maps, force tracking and resources databases, satellite down-linked broadcasts and surveillance, intelligence reports, weapons control, enemy target acquisition, internet pages, and PowerPoint briefings. Video sources include DVD players, VCRs, and surveillance video cameras. User-selectable output settings, up to 1600x1200 resolution in both RGB and DVI format, in 16:9 or 4:3 aspect ratio, ensure a perfect match with any display. With DVI inputs and outputs, a completely digital signal path is provided from source to display for optimal image quality. For added convenience, dual outputs in both RGB and DVI allow feeding two separate displays. The QuadView XLRT automatically determines the output display's characteristics and optimizes its output signal for that device.

The QuadView processors feed these combined images to truss-mounted Panasonic TH-50HD5U 50-inch plasma screens in their native 16:9 aspect ratio and 1366 x 768 pixel resolution. Army personnel operate the TOC display systems with an AMX AXT-CA10 touch panel control system. Operators can control the QuadViews' versatile display capabilities at the push of a button to select input sources, size and position images anywhere on screen, pan and zoom images, andoverlap images. The QuadView processors support 16:9 and 4:3 aspect ratios which enable operators to switch the QuadView output to any display device within the TOC, which, in addition to the plasma screens, include two Hitachi CP-X380 LCD projectors, two Zenith L15V26 15-inch flat panel displays and a 27-inch color monitor. The new mobile command center is housed in a C-130 aircraft transport container and can be setup and dismantled in less than an hour. It is deployed in a J-series "drash" tent measuring 80x30 feet.

Mayer commented, "The key design factor was that we had to supply the most reliable equipment. The QuadView processors took the blow of sandstorms and 100 plus degree heat and performed impeccably. The Army is very pleased with QuadView's image quality, displaying sharp, clear visuals. The Army working to establish this new TOC as the standard and is in the process of purchasing more mobile infantry command centers."

The QuadView Plus™ processor combines up to four computer and/or video signals on a single monitor or projector. Each input channel offers a choice of NTSC or PAL composite, component, S-Video, and high-resolution analog RGB up to 1600 x 1200 pixel resolution. Unlimited display options include simultaneous viewing of four inputs in quadrants, side-by-side display, and picture-in-picture, full screen display of any single input, overlapping display windows, and 16:9 aspect ratio support. Each input can be scaled and positioned anywhere on the screen, as well as panned, zoomed, and overplayed. Inputs may be from virtually any source, including cameras, tape recorders, teleconferencing systems, desktop computers, videodiscs, etc. Output resolution is user-selectable up to 1600 x 1200 pixels. In addition, the output can be genlocked to an external signal, which can be displayed in the background. A DVI output is available for display devices that accept a digital signal.