BAE Systems and communication interoperability

between different radio systems and frequencies.

Mike Greene commented on the above approaches:

Rolling out a new radio system is a many-year solution that can cost from tens to hundreds of million of dollars. This approach seems to be driven by state agencies and predominately state law enforcement.

Some states have taken to collecting information about and identifying common frequencies but what usually happens is that because such frequencies are such a precious resource, the criteria for accessing such a frequency is high and usage time might be limited. There might also be a cost to deploying new radios to first responders which do not have radios compatible to those frequencies.

Concerning gateway systems, there are a handful of solutions in this category in the market but all, except First InterComm, require an incident commander on the ground to request the delivery of special equipment to the scene. The states and agencies that use such equipment - and there is usually a lot of it — usually have it placed in a special purpose vehicle which is on call. There is thus time involved in the deployment and then the setting up of such equipment - typically from two to four hours undertaken by specially trained technicians at the incident scene.

The technology
The First InterComm solution is a gateway system based on BAE Systems’ Adaptive Joint C4ISR Node (AJCN) technology which was developed using both company and Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) funds. AJCN is short for Adaptive Joint Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Node and constitutes a multimission radio frequency system meant to provide seamless interoperable communications with signals intelligence, electronic warfare and psychological operations simultaneously. The AJCN concept evolved from a DARPA program known as the airborne communications node, which developed technologies for a modular, scalable and software-defined radio that could bridge and translate voice or data between two or more dissimilar radios (taken from Signal Magazine; for an interesting description of AJCN technology see the article by Robert Walter and George Duchack).

The First InterComm allows first responders using different frequencies, operating modes and equipment to connect and communicate instantly. How does it operate? According to Mike Green, First InterComm is extremely user friendly, requiring no special training or setup time and successfully accomplishes its mission: swiftly joining first responders using disparate equipment and frequencies into one communication net. The First InterComm device, also called the Vehicle