The U.S. Army has been developing something known as the Integrated Battle Command System (IBCS) for a decade. Now, after much hard work and at least one name change, it looks like the system might actually become a battlefield reality in the very near future. At its core is some truly amazing sensor technology.
The IBCS is evidence of just how much effort the defense industry puts into sensor development. They have created sensors for just about everything. There are sensors keeping planes that would otherwise not fly in the air. There are others that track enemy movements on the battlefield. In fact, the total number of sensors integrated throughout the entire military apparatus is almost not quantifiable.
The question is, why? Why is sensor technology so important to defense? To answer that question, California’s Rock West Solutions offers five reasons explained below. Rock West develops, among other things, advanced sensors for defense applications.
1. Data-Driven Warfare
Modern warfare is data-driven warfare. The side with the most accurate data has a decided advantage. If that side also possesses superior means of analyzing and utilizing data, they are assured the victory. That is what this is all about. The defense industry puts a ton of effort into sensors because they are the means by which data is gathered and analyzed. Without the best sensors around, our military is at a disadvantage.
2. The Need for Quick Decisions
Data-driven warfare requires fast decision-making. In the heat of battle, commanders need to be able to make decisions fast enough to keep up with the ever-changing battlefield. Their counterparts may have been able to take their time back during the Civil War, but today’s commanders do not have hours to work with. They have minutes. Sometimes they have only seconds. Therefore, they have to be able to rely on sensors and the data these produce.
3. Warfare Is Much Faster
Hand-in-hand with quick decisions is the reality that modern warfare moves at a much faster pace than ever before. Consider this: armies were still using horses and mules in World War I. With such slow movement of troops and equipment, armies had plenty of time to see the enemy was coming. Not so today.
Fighter jets can now travel faster than the speed of sound. Today’s tanks make Hitler’s tanks look slow by comparison. Simply put, everything is much faster today. Commanders cannot wait for visual confirmation of enemy forces to make decisions. If they do, it will be too late by the time they see the enemy.
4. Equipment Is So Sophisticated
Sensors are necessary because modern equipment is so sophisticated. For example, this post previously mentioned aircraft that would not be able to fly without advanced sensors. Likewise, missiles that can hit targets from miles away only work because of on-board sensors. Everything from ships to aircraft and hand-held weapons relies on sensor technology.
5. The Need to Avoid Warfare
Finally, the landscape of warfare changed when the U.S. dropped the atom bomb on Japan to bring World War II to a close. These days, we have the capability of destroying the world completely. Thus, we must avoid warfare at all costs. Another world war would leave nothing for the victors to return to.
Sensor technologies keep us ahead of the game. They enable us to avoid warfare by deterring our enemies from even thinking about it. If they know they cannot win, they will not start a war to begin with. As such, developing highly advanced sensors is as much a deterrent as a defense mechanism.