JLTV: The VICTORY Vanguard

Military Embedded Systems

The next-generation JLTV is greatly anticipated, not only for the impressive size of the program but also for the technological innovations that it will bring to the battlefield. On the technology front, JLTV will feature a number of important design enhancements over the Humvee, including improved protection, performance, and payload capability. In addition to these features, JLTV also has the distinction of being the first high volume implementation of the in-vehicle networking standards that derived from the U.S. Army’s Vehicle Integration for C4ISR/EW [Command, Control, Communication, Computers, Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance/Electronic Warfare] Interoperability (VICTORY) initiative

Kicked off in late 2011, the VICTORY initiative was started by PEO C3T (Program Executive Office for Command, Control and Communications-Tactical), and the resulting consortium, a combination of DoD and industry participants, is backed by PEO Ground Combat Systems (PEO GCS) and PEO Combat Support & Combat Service Support (PEO CS&CSS). In the words of the VICTORY program, the initiative "was started as a way to correct the problems created by the ‘bolt-on’ approach to fielding equipment on U.S. Army vehicles. Implementation of VICTORY enables tactical wheeled vehicles and ground combat systems to recover lost space while reducing weight and saving power. Additionally, implementation allows platform systems to share information and provide an integrated picture to the crews. Finally, implementation provides an open architecture that will enable platforms to accept future technologies without the need for significant redesign."

VICTORY provides a common ground-vehicle infrastructure that eases the integration of new technologies while improving size, weight, and power (SWaP) by eliminating many redundant components. VICTORY also uses open network interfaces, open data formats, and open protocols to enable the integration and sharing of network, processing, and display resources. Thanks to the VICTORY architecture, platforms will be better able to share data. It will simplify testing and training while reducing overall life-cycle costs for maintaining the platforms. To achieve its goals, the VICTORY architecture encourages the use of COTS open-system standards. In 2012, Curtiss-Wright Defense Solutions introduced the first COTS system to deliver an integrated VICTORY solution with a rugged subsystem that featured GigE switching and routing, along with VICTORY databus, management, and shared services. This "Digital Beachhead" enabled integration of the new VICTORY architecture into any vehicle.  

Over the last several years, while the JLTV program went through a 33-month engineering and manufacturing development (EMD) phase, the number and range of VICTORY-compliant subsystems and modules has increased, offering system designers a greater spectrum of choices for functionality sets in SWaP-C (SWaP plus cost) -constrained environments. An example of this new generation of VICTORY subsystems is the recently introduced DuraDBH-672 Digital Beachhead, a rugged COTS Gigabit Ethernet (GbE) switch and vetronics computer system with optionally integrated Rockwell Collins military GPS receiver. It extends many of the capabilities introduced in the original VICTORY-compliant system into a smaller form factor that is optimized for SWaP-C. The unit features 16 ports of fully managed Layer 2 GbE switching and static Layer 3 routing together with a low-power multicore ARM-based Freescale i.MX6 processor that can handle general-purpose processing requirements or optional VICTORY Data Bus Management and Shared Processor Services. It can also support the U.S. Army TARDEC’s libVICTORY API to serve as a VICTORY Infrastructure Switch and Shared Processing Unit.  

By consolidating what have traditionally been standalone line-replaceable units (LRUs), each dedicated to processing and network switching, into a single multifunction system solution, VICTORY subsystems enable ground-vehicle-system architects to significantly reduce integration SWaP and complexity. With its importance and high profile, the JLTV program should help to accelerate the adoption of COTS VICTORY solutions. At the vanguard of bringing the VICTORY architecture into ground vehicles, JLTV will serve as a model, helping to showcase the benefits of adopting a common network fabric for the C4ISR architecture and consolidating modern computing and networking architectures for SWaP optimization. 

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