C2-Enabled Long-Range Precision Fires for the Army

Legacy C2 Systems Have Several Constraints

The U.S.’ adversaries are waging a new kind of war with sophisticated capabilities that threaten citizens’ freedom of action and erode America’s historical overmatch in every operating domain. To counter this threat, the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) is transforming how it protects vital national interests with its Joint All-Domain Command and Control (JADC2) concept. JADC2 aims to connect sensors, weapons, C2 systems, and intelligence data from all military services into a single network to enable faster, better decisions and more effective engagement against adversary threats. It will enable the joint force to converge effects from all five domains—land, sea, air, space, and cyber—and even operate in concert with partners and allies.

For the U.S. Army, JADC2 means developing new ways to increase situational awareness, interoperability, and integration with joint forces to connect any sensor to any C2 node to any shooter, to defend against threats and execute fires in a strategically relevant timeframe.

For example, the Army’s long-range precision fires (LRPF) weapons systems provide essential options in deterrence and conflict. But for even cutting-edge LRPF weapons systems to be a superior capability in tomorrow’s complex, joint warfighting environment, they must have robust “kill chains”—the military concept of the structure of an attack—to neutralize their targets. That’s why all-domain integration of intelligence, sensors, C2 systems, and weapons is needed.

But realizing this level of connection and coordination is complex and requires boosting the capabilities of current tactical Army C2 systems, such as the Advanced Field Artillery Tactical Data System (AFATDS). These systems are bogged down by several interrelated challenges, including:

  • Complexity. Current systems are incredibly complicated. Each system has its own data store, servers, visualization, and more, making them incompatible with one another and hindering information exchange not only among Army systems but also with other branches, allies, and partners. For example, even if information can be moved from one system to another, the receiving system may not have the right geospatial product to display the information on a map. This complexity—along with system architectures that tend to be standalone, closed, and proprietary—hamper both integration and the introduction of upgrades and new technologies.
  • Duplication. Individual systems have traditionally been developed in relative isolation to meet too many requirements. Then when the systems are fielded, it’s discovered that many capabilities are irrelevant because they duplicate capabilities that are native to other systems.
  • People. System complexity also affects human resources. Because systems are overly complicated, people have a hard time using them, and training people to use systems upgrades and new systems takes too long.
  • Insufficient analytic capabilities. The availability of so much data has made timely, relevant data integration and analysis a significant challenge. One problem is the vital step of ensuring data is clean and accurate. In addition, current analytic capabilities are challenged to understand what data is important and what is not, and to prioritize the important data.
  • Inadequate data visualization. Current systems lack clear data visualization capabilities, so those who need to act on data have a hard time accessing and understanding it. Visualization capabilities must also work with new data types that may show up on the battlefield in the future.

The threats of today and tomorrow can only be countered if the entirety of U.S., allied, and partner systems work as a unified capability. For LRPF, this means moving from myriad complicated, decentralized systems to a place where the Army has a cloud of data from every fielded system that can also be combined with non-Army data. And the command post computing environment that depends on that data needs to be scalable and expandable via software—not built on unique baked-in communications requirements and architectures.

In other words, what matters most is data access and the ability to move data to where it’s needed, when it’s needed. Realizing this vision begins with modernizing three components of Army C2 systems: connectivity, edge systems, and battle management.

All-Data Connectivity

A central component of transformed Army C2 systems is data connectivity—meaning that provided a communications link exists, data can be transferred back and forth between those assets and converged into a central node even if different data standards are being used. This requires a technology layer that “translates” or processes the different data standards into a common language or message format for C2 fusion.

With secure and open data platforms, sensors and weapons systems can communicate and share data within a unified C2 system. Providing the integration of legacy systems needed to enable multidomain operations like distributed long-range fires requires moving from closed, isolated systems to open, government-owned platforms and other architectures and standardized interfaces. This approach not only frees data; it allows the latest technologies and innovations to be incorporated in the future.

Modern C2 systems are also built with a data-centric, as opposed to a traditional network-centric, approach. A data-centric approach means that technology within the communications network makes use of all the data, rather than requiring the data to be in specific standards and formats. This enables the C2 system to ingest, process, and integrate all data, regardless of origin, type, or classification, for tactical use.

Edge System Convergence

Modernized Army C2 systems must be able to connect edge systems from across domains, including sensors, forward weapons systems, intelligence sources, forward decision makers, and more. Giving edge systems the ability to seamlessly and dynamically interface unlocks information that was previously inaccessible.

Converging edge systems in this way helps accelerate the sensor-to-shooter timeline to optimize employment of LRPF weapons systems. Operational capabilities and benefits include:

Battle Management to Accelerate Effects

The battle management capability of modernized Army C2 systems paints a common operating picture for joint and coalition forces, predicated on data connectivity and edge system convergence. It provides commanders with contextual visualization and understanding of available data to establish a shared, clear understanding of the battlespace, available resources, and force and asset employment options. Together, this common operating picture improves the speed, scale, and effectiveness of decision making.

This capability is essential for LRPF at the edge—a dynamic, quickly changing environment where decisions must be made on a relevant time scale. The system enables more capable, faster targeting and increases the ability to coordinate fire support requests and provide target-quality information to the right shooter in near-real time. It also supports complex multipath, multidirectional, and resilient attacks in addition to more traditional attacks.

Realizing such C2 battle management capabilities depends heavily on AI and machine learning (ML), which also reduce the risk of human error. Advanced AI and ML algorithms synthesize and analyze the huge volumes of data gathered from multiple sources to build a cohesive picture of the operating environment and present a course of action—such as when to use what weapon—to accelerate sensor-to-shooter effects.

Booz Allen Is the Army’s C2 Systems Partner

The U.S. Army is continuously improving how it operates as part of the joint force and ensuring its ability to dominate against current, emerging, and future threats. Yet developing the modern C2 systems needed to support new LRPF weapons will not be an easy undertaking.

Booz Allen is working to revolutionize targeting to achieve faster, more agile response. For a high-value target list, this includes shifting the paradigm from a slow and cumbersome planned targeting decision cycle to significantly shortening the kill chain from days to minutes. AI provides the fidelity needed to inform fire and counterfire decisions in the moment.

Booz Allen is uniquely positioned to make this C2 vision a reality by building prototypes and delivering mission-ready capabilities. We have decades of experience building the Army’s reference architectures, providing us with deep insight to modernize them for the future. And we have the expertise to address technical challenges, including:

  • Modernizing cross-domain frameworks to enable the mission
  • Implementing secure cloud solutions to bring together existing networks
  • Establishing zero-trust architectures to improve access and meet security requirements
  • Using a data-centric network approach to support sharing of all data
  • Converging edge systems to accelerate operations

Solution Spotlight: Modular Detachment Kit

Booz Allen’s Modular Detachment Kit (MDK) is an integrated software/hardware system-of-systems that accelerates sensor-to-shooter effects by enhancing battlespace awareness, sensing, connectivity, and data fusion across multiple warfighting domains, networks, sensors, and weapon systems. The overarching goal of MDK is to integrate remote and local sensors, datalinks, and radio assets into a tactical battle management C2 environment to provide near-real-time C2 of geographically dispersed assets.

MDK uniquely addresses today’s in-theater C2 needs unlike any other solution, making it easier for commanders and warfighters to get their job done today while providing a robust platform to build out future capabilities. Leveraging modular, tailorable, scalable, decentralized C2 and sensor nodes, MDK builds, fuses, and distributes a common operating picture across the joint all-domain spectrum. It also establishes remote voice and data communications to positively control any military operation from any location.

At Project Convergence 2022, the capabilities and practical application of MDK were demonstrated in both the maritime- and land-centric scenarios. Highlights included:

  • Integrating data from multiple sensors, including remotely piloted vehicles, and injecting tracks and targets into the common operational picture
  • Sending specific targets digitally to U.S. Army Pacific AFATDS on classified networks for forwarding through to the mission partner network for fire mission processing at both the Army’s multidomain task force and fires cells
  • Facilitating network and cursor-on-target links to the Defense Advanced Research Project Agency’s (DARPA) system-of-systems enhanced small unit (SESU) team—the first time it’s been able to connect outside its system
  • Providing interface/message format diagnostics for DARPA SESU to ensure proper automated data exchange
  • Extending classified and unclassified networks for airfield connectivity



Khalid Syed is a leader in Booz Allen’s global defense sector driving next-generation command, control, and communications (C3) battle management (BM) technologies through the firm’s Digital Battlespace platform.

Booz Allen can help your organization realize the potential of modernized C2 systems to dominate the digital battlespace.