5 questions for Sebastian Philipp about C4I tools

Sebastian Philipp recently started at Panasonic TOUGHBOOK as Key Account Manager. He previously worked at a large defense company and is an expert in C4I tools. Here we clarify 5 questions about C4I leadership systems (Command, Control, Communications, Computer, Intelligence), i.e. networked systems and technologies with which military organizations can effectively lead and control forces.

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1. How do C4I systems support the decision-making and responsiveness of troops in the field, particularly in dynamic or critical situations?

Quite simply: “Leading through information advantage”. C4I systems are the backbone of every modern operational command. They ensure that the necessary information from the individual subsystems is available to the right unit at the right time and in the right place. For example, B. Operational orders for weapon systems based on reconnaissance results from drones can be created, passed on and carried out directly in a quick and targeted manner. Today, operational forces and military leaders have an enormously wide range of information at their disposal, which has fundamentally changed operational scenarios and strategies in terms of their dynamics and precision.

2. What contribution do command and control systems make to modernizing and adapting the armed forces to current and future challenges?

Due to the current situation, the modernization of many Western armed forces has accelerated. In addition to heavy weapon systems, many newly developed systems are currently being tested and procured. Unmanned flying and ground-based systems are just one example. Equipped with modern reconnaissance equipment, these systems provide real-time information about enemy troop movements or terrain conditions. However, this information is only useful if it can be processed and passed on quickly. Therefore, the direct integration of such new systems into a C4I management system is essential.

3. What specific features or functions of the TOUGHBOOK devices make them particularly suitable for use in conjunction with C4I systems?

The robust Panasonic TOUGHBOOK tablets and notebooks are always developed with the aim of maximum reliability, security and connectivity. Exactly the key points that are absolutely necessary for a C4I system. C4I systems are rarely used in warm, cozy offices. From the base of operations to the operational vehicle to the hiding place of the long-range reconnaissance team that operates on foot behind enemy lines, the systems must function reliably. Cold, heat, snow, rain, sand, the computers have to withstand all of this without restrictions. And this is exactly where the strength of TOUGHBOOK lies! In combination with the wide range of configuration options and available extensions, our devices are the ideal IT platform for every location. 

4. What advantages do TOUGHBOOK devices offer in terms of the mobility and flexibility of emergency services?

The missions often depend on speed and agility. Here, compact and lightweight IT platforms are essential for the C4I systems, in order to be able to retreat quickly in the event of discovery, for example. Our hardened TOUGHBOOKS not only offer the required computing power and the necessary connectivity to transfer data. They are also compact and also lightweight thanks to their magnesium alloy housing. The integrated transport handle of the TOUGHBOOK 40 and 55 is another small, but not unimportant, detail. Our devices also offer unique capabilities when it comes to flexibility. Quick-release hard drives, hot-swappable batteries, and the ability of the user to equip their device with additional gadgets depending on the intended use are just a few of them. 

5. What developments or innovations do you expect in the future for the integration of C4I systems and TOUGHBOOK devices in a military context?

Artificial intelligence in particular will give management systems an enormous boost in performance. In the short term, I expect that the first systems will use AI for data processing and preparation and also to support decision-making. Technically, there are of course still some challenges here, such as the constant data connection that is currently required to carry out the AI ​​calculations or the storage of the vast amounts of data. In military operations, all of this cannot be done via the public cloud. But there will certainly be a lot happening in the near future. We at Panasonic TOUGHBOOK are also already working on appropriate solutions that simplify the use of artificial intelligence on our devices. 

Another topic is 5G private networks. Many militaries around the world are currently testing the use of this technology. Panasonic already has 5G solutions and our TOUGHBOOK G2 and 40 are equipped with 5G stand alone modules. 

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