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The Role of C4I Systems in Keeping Militaries Connected

With Sebastian Philipp, Key Account Manager at Panasonic TOUGHBOOK, and C4I (Command, Control, Communications, Computer, Intelligence) systems expert.

Command, Control, Communications, Computer, and Intelligence, known as C4I, are a network of connected systems and technologies that enable militaries to effectively lead and control their armed forces.

What role do C4I systems play in the decision-making process, and how do they help to increase responsiveness of troops in the field, particularly in dynamic or critical situations?

C4I systems are the backbone of every operational command in modern armed forces. They ensure that the necessary information can be accessed by the right unit, at the right time and place.

For example, operational orders for weapon systems, based on reconnaissance from drones, can be created, delivered and carried out in a quick and efficient manner. Today, armed forces have a wealth of data and information at their disposal, which gives them increased accuracy and flexibility in how they operate at base and in the field.

How can command and control systems help global armed forces adapt to current and future challenges?

In recent years, many Western armed forces have modernised and digitised their systems. One example is in the development of unmanned drones and ground-based systems. Equipped with modern reconnaissance equipment, these systems provide real-time information about enemy troop movement or the conditions of the terrain.

However, for this information to be useful, it needs to be processed and shared with the required unit quickly. This is entirely dependent on its integration into the ecosystem of C4I systems.

What specific features of Panasonic’s TOUGHBOOK devices make them particularly suitable for use with C4I systems?

Panasonic’s rugged TOUGHBOOK tablets and notebooks are always developed with maximum reliability, security and connectivity in mind, regardless of the application or environment, making them perfect for use within C4I systems.

Regardless of whether TOUGHBOOK tablets and notebooks are being used back at base or in the field, they are designed to perform effectively in even the most hostile of environments, TOUGHBOOK devices meet the strictest requirements for protection against drops, vibrations, sand, dust, rain, altitude, temperature extremes and more, with military-grade TOUGHBOOK devices certified to MIL-STD-810H standards.

What advantages do TOUGHBOOK devices offer in terms of the mobility and flexibility for the military?

The success of military operations depends on speed and agility, with compact IT platforms preferred for field usage. Panasonic TOUGHBOOK devices not only offer the required computing power and market-leading connectivity, but they are also light, thanks to a magnesium alloy chassis.

The modular design of Panasonic TOUGHBOOK devices provides increased customisation and security, regardless of the application. Features such as quick-release hard drives, hot-swappable batteries, and additional expansion slots and military-grade interfaces can be fitted, as per the requirements of the user.

What future innovations will be integrated into C4I systems and TOUGHBOOK devices?

Artificial intelligence (AI) will give command and control systems an enormous boost in performance. To begin with, I expect AI to be used for data processing, and to support decision-making. There are still some challenges of integrating AI into military systems, such as the need for a continuous, high-bandwidth and low-latency connection to transfer data – as well as storage and CPU processing power.

Ultimately, the future of AI and its application in the military is exciting; Panasonic TOUGHBOOK is already working on a number of solutions that simplify the use of AI on our devices.

Private 5G networks will also play an increasingly prominent role. Militaries across the world are already assessing how 5G private networks can improve productivity. As a result, the latest versions of the TOUGHBOOK G2 and 40 devices are currently equipped with standalone 5G modules.