A Pivotal Play
Marines Test Amphibious Network that Enables Data Sharing from 250 Miles Away
Why is this a Pivotal Play?
In February, a military exercise dubbed "Bold Alligator" was conducted by the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps (USMC) to test their ability to storm a beach from sea. The coordinated wargame, conducted off the coast of Virginia, tested the USMC's advanced communications system and desire to move its bases out to sea.
The Distributed Tactical Communications System (DTCS) used in the exercise allows Marines to communicate at distances of up to 250 nautical miles via satellite. Further, in some lab tests, the system experienced a 30% success rate at 700 miles. In the past, the military's Joint Tactical Radio System utilized radios that had a range of less than 100 miles.
As the USMC and Navy look to rely more on "seabases," or ships serving as mobile, floating platforms for launching troops into crisis zones, increased reliability is needed from communications systems. While in action, Marines must maintain radio contact with seabases, and bases must effectively communicate with other ships. With expanded distance capabilities, the DTCS may be an essential component to the success of seabases.
Despite years of preparation, it will be some time before the lessons from Bold Alligator are fully analyzed. But as a recent Wired Danger Room article stated, the USMC's investment in innovation is a clear indicator that the future of military communications will continue to evolve.