How Ethernet is key to VICTORY

ETHERNET EVERYWHERE BLOG: Adding or enhancing new command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (C4ISR) and electronic warfare (EW) technologies in armed forces’ tactical ground vehicles has historically been done through a “bolt-on” approach. Communications systems have traditionally been independent, siloed systems that lacked integration, futureproofing and as importantly, economies of size, weight, power, and cost (SWaP-C).

Multiple technologies deployed on ground vehicles often introduced duplicate hardware, like Global Positioning System (GPS) units and peripheral devices such as monitors, keyboards, etc. Gunnery systems lacked integration with sensors that detected gun fire. None of the systems connected to a centralized compute platform that could relay the data back to command centers.

The Vehicular Integration for C4ISR/EW Interoperability (VICTORY) standard was developed as a standard for U.S. Army vehicles to combat this issue. VICTORY is a is a set of open standards developed by a government-industry partnership that corrects the problems created by the “bolt-on” approach. Implementation of VICTORY allows tactical and combat vehicles to take back the wasted SWaP-C of previous generations to create open systems that can share information and provide an integrated picture to soldiers and central command. The open architecture also allows platforms to accept future technologies without the need for significant re-design.

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The VICTORY framework includes:
1. an architecture, which defines common terminology, systems, components, and interfaces;
2. a set of standard specifications, that provide technical specifications for the items identified in the architecture;
3. a set of reference designs;
4. a reference software library;
5. a compliance test suite; and
6. validation artifacts

VICTORY provides a phased set of standard specifications covering the capabilities needed to integrate C4ISR/EW mission equipment and platform applications. The overall VICTORY technical approach includes a data bus (VDB) architecture:

• A “data bus-centric” design which includes security, the network infrastructure, access control, shared data services, shared hardware devices and management services;
• Sharable hardware components – deploy software additions w/o adding hardware;
• Open standard physical and logical interfaces between system and C4ISR/EW components;
• A set of shared data bus services; and
• Shared hardware and software IA components to enable systems integrators to build security designs that protect and control access to information

A VICTORY-compliant in-vehicle network (IVN) employs hardware and software components, which are tested using the VICTORY compliance test tool software suite to ensure compliance for interoperability and standards. This Ethernet-based INV provides the plumbing to integrate C4ISR/EW systems and integrate with other electronic components.

The IVN typically includes:
• A Shared processing unit (SPU) to host the shared services (Apps) and data, and enable adding future capabilities by adding software;
• An Ethernet Switch, connected to the SPU and IVN hardware components (radios, jammer, sensors, etc.); and
• Interactive multi-function display unit(s), replacing one or more single-use displays.

Systems are developed using VICTORY software from open source libraries based on Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP) to enable communication between devices over Ethernet and ensure interoperability.

As I’ve mentioned in previous blogs, Ethernet is becoming the ubiquitous standard for communication between devices on all mobile military platforms. The VICTORY standard just solidifies its place in C4ISR/EW. Ethernet as a communications standard will continue to dominate these environments so that all military organizations can take full advantage of open platforms and standardized solutions and stay at the forefront of cutting-edge communications technologies.