Even if our tanks are as good as enemy tanks in firepower, protection, and maneuverability, the combat edge cannot be achieved without a highly effective command-and-control capability. Everest Company offers a solution that has the potential to significantly improve combat effectiveness of the armored fighting vehicles operated by the Ukrainian Armed Forces - the Combat Vehicle Command and Control System (CVCCS) designated Hermes-C2.
Dmytro Lyulin, head of Defense Technology Division at Everest Company says: “To a modern army, a tendency toward reduced role of passive protection and increased role of network-centric, automated command and control systems is quite obvious and explicable. "Further Increasing tanks’ armor protection is an endeavor that, in most cases, is expensive, time-consuming and hardly feasible. Everest Company has challenged itself to provide Ukrainian tank crews with a capability to respond quickly to threats as they occur. Our engineers have got enough expertise and experience to handle this challenge. For the past four years, we have been making significant efforts to design and develop systems and devices for defense applications, and to have them inducted into the Ukrainian Armed Forces. In achieving this we are helped by our experience in system integration, expertise gathered with information technology, and robust cooperation with our foreign partners - Aselsan, Harris and Motorolla. We have developed our computing and communication solutions with reliance on designs developed by the IT market leaders such as Intel, Cisco and IBM. The result is our Hermes-C2 CVCCS".
The Hermes-C2 System with its associated auxiliary equipment is designed to be integrated with tanks and interfaced with Aselsan and Harris communication systems. The central core of the Harris-C2 System is a computing module that provides a situational awareness picture and supports data synchronization and exchange via organic communication links. The System also includes a switch, data display and input terminals, camera sensors, navigation modules, and a module of interaction with the on-board system. There is an external mobile module that is responsible for communication with the command and control center, ISR sensors and observing stations, and new modules can be integrated easily using unified Ethernet data exchange interface.
The System supports automated command and control functionality, namely: the transmission of formalized commands and messages with confirmation of receipt, as well as the exchange of information regarding the amount of ammunition and fuel left, and the health of the vehicle and crew. These functions can be controlled either automatically or via manual controls.
Users will have an access to map data, own GPS location (via a radio and a personal module), and to a common situational awareness picture. The map will also display the location of networked friendly “blue force” vehicles and units, thus providing a vital friend-or-foe identification capability.
The System’s display shows data from vehicle’s onboard visual camera and thermal imaging camera sensors. Networked vehicles can exchange images from their cameras with other vehicles, put marks on the images or edit the direction of the shots taken. The System has a capability to automatically or manually map out a route that other networked vehicles will be able to see. Thanks to a simplified interface, the user can operate the system without being distracted from performing his combat mission duties. Integrated into a voice communication system, the proposed solution can be used as an extension to enable coordinated actions with other vehicles.
Everest has created a versatile solution that is adaptable to various different types of armored vehicles. Adaptation to specific vehicle models will be achieved by developing model-specific modules. Thus, the Hermes-C2 supports the function of data transfer between moving parts of a given armored platform. In a tank, for example, the commander and gunner are sitting inside the turret, which is out of touch in terms of communication with the vehicle’s hull. In order to solve this problem, a dedicated module has been developed to ensure data transmissions via a standard contactor switch. At the same time, the overall concept and data transfer routes have remained unchanged, and so the system can be adapted quickly and economically to other models of armored vehicles.
To ensure reliable operation for the Hermes-C2 on Ukrainian combat vehicles, Everest has developed a universal power supply system for electronic devices, which is able to operate where local power supply is overloaded or failing. The system contains ruggedized components to ensure smooth operation in harsh conditions.
Commenting on the prospects for the Hermes-C2 system, Dmytro Lyulin said: "The Systems’ architecture and computing capabilities allow us to work on the System, improving it even now. Development work is underway for a fully automatic visual object recognition system that would recognize and identify targets seen on video feeds from front and rear-view situational awareness cameras, as well as for an acoustic control system. The Hermes-C2 is advantageous in that its open architecture allows in most instances for improvements to be implemented by adding new features via software updates. We continue addressing the needs of the [Ukrainian] Armed Forces and learning lessons from real-world combat operations in eastern Ukraine, which gives us the feedback we need to implement innovative solutions for our army to best effect”.
Findings from exploratory exercises conducted in First World countries suggest that with a tactical (battalion-level) C2 system the time from target detection to destruction is reduced by 7 times; the number of firing missions a given unit can accomplish is increased by 1.5 times; and irrecoverable losses of own armored vehicles are reduced by 2-3 times.
The integration of advanced solutions like the Combat Vehicle Command and Control System Hermes-C2 with upgraded T-64B (BV) and T-72 tanks will provide tank and mechanized units with armored vehicles that would be equal in combat effectiveness with the most advanced Ukrainian tank ever, the Oplot, and even surpass it if a tactical-level C2 system is used.