TACTICS (Tactical Service Oriented Architecture), an R&T project launched in 2014 by Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Norway and Poland through the European Defence Agency (EDA) and carried out by a consortium of 9 contracting partners and 2 sub-contractors* with the aim to define a Tactical Service Infrastructure (TSI) enabling military tactical radio networks to participate to Service Oriented Architectures (SOA), was brought to a successful closure at a final meeting of the TACTICS working group at the EDA premises on the 8 of June.
Military systems, communications and information infrastructures are increasingly becoming service-oriented, both on a national level and in the context of international collaboration. However, while research on Service-Oriented Architectures (SOA) in classical business environments has produced satisfactory and well-established solutions, this is not the case for mobile/tactical environments in which operators have to deal with much more complex challenges (such as the limitations of disruptive and throughput-constrained networks, aggravated by limited end user devices) for which existing SOA technologies are not an answer.
EDA’s TACTICS project was thus launched in February 2014 to: propose measures to mitigate the constraints of military tactical environments so that they can also benefit from SOA; and to formally describe a Tactical Service Infrastructure (TSI) in a reference architecture following the NATO Architecture Framework (NAF).
At the beginning of the project, military constraints, operational requirements and expected SOA benefits were collected and defined with the help of national military experts. On this basis, a reference architecture for a Tactical Service Infrastructure (TSI) was designed in such a way that it can cope with the constraints.
By performing a number of technology studies in dedicated fields of research, it was ensured that the TSI reference architecture encompasses up-to-date and also novel research results reaching from security policy management, traffic engineering, quality of service provision and interoperability mechanisms for semantic service registries.
The resulting TSI reference architecture describes how a future SOA-based middleware could be established and what mechanisms the middleware can take advantage of, to support user-facing services’ realisation in a tactical constrained environment.
Multinational live demonstration
The findings were shown in a multinational live demonstration. The demonstration, carried out on the 11/12 April 2017 in Ditzingen (Germany), incorporated national tactical radios (UHF and VHF) and an emulated long-range satellite connection. Based on this, the Consortium presented selected SOA benefits and technical innovations in the researched areas using a proof-of-concept implementation of the TSI and exemplary user-facing services.
*The consortium is composed of the following companies/institutions: Thales Deutschland (Consortium Coordinator), Fraunhofer FKIE, Germany (Technical Coordinator), Patria Aviation Oy (Finland), Thales Communications & Security (France), Leonardo (Italy), Thales Starmille (Italy), University of L’Aquila (Italy), Norwegian University of Science and Technology (Norway), ITTI (Poland), Military Communication Institute (Poland), Military University of Technology (Poland).