Although equipment is an important component, any organization wishing to establish an effective and sustainable Counter RCIED/ECM capability must consider and address a number of other factors. The organizations personnel must be trained on how to use, operate and maintain their ECM and tactically employ it in the field. An Integrated Logistic Support Plan needs to be put in place to ensure that systems which sustain battle damage or simply fail over time and extended use can be repaired, in addition a stock of spares may be needed to reduce turnaround times and maintain a high level of operational availability. To ensure systems remain operationally effective and technically viable against the ever evolving RCIED threat, software/ firmware upgrades may need to be conducted, midlife hardware enhancements made and new waveforms or fills developed, tested and fielded. Allen-Vanguard has many years of experience in assisting its customers to sustain and maintain their ECM systems throughout its life cycle by providing Mission Support Services that encompass all the areas for consideration previously described.
THREAT MANAGEMENT, EXPLOITATION & WAVEFORM DEVELOPMENT
With the evolutionary nature of the Radio Controlled Improvised explosive device (RCIED) battle it is essential for an ECM systems mission fill to be regularly updated and tested. Allen-Vanguard's Threat Management Team (TMT) offers a range of support options to provide intimate user support with optimized algorithms for particular threats. All waveforms go through extensive laboratory and field testing to ensure performance prior to being deployed. The TMT prioritizes threats based on lead Open Source Intelligence (OSINT) and feedback from our extensive fielded fleets of systems in high risk regions around the world all in consultation with our End Users. In addition, the TMT can offer threat characterization in collaboration with any customer and their internal counter terrorism organization. Performance of systems can be provided through test results or witnessed first-hand at a test range.
Allen Vanguard has conducted hundreds of installations of its ECM systems into customer's vehicles at their locations, in operational theatres and at AV's Headquarters in Canada. These installations have included military and civilian pattern vehicles, armoured and non-armoured, covert and overt fits.
Whilst there are generic components of any ECM vehicle installation (i.e. ECM equipment, antennas, cabling, power management system) each type of vehicle presents unique challenges and customers may have additional requirements that will also impact on the installation.
AV therefore always recommends that a vehicle integration study be conducted prior to the design of any ECM Vehicle Installation Kit (VIK) and its subsequent implementation. The study, amongst other things, will identify:
- The best location for the equipment to minimize space claim and impact on its occupants
- Types of antennas required, placement of the antennas to provide optimum coverage, whether they are fixed, erectable or magnet mounted.
- Availability or requirement for ground plane
- Power, antenna and RCU cable routing
- RCU placement
- Requirement for power management system, secondary alternator and high idle kit
- Requirement for environmental protection case and cooling system
- Requirement to be interoperable with existing C4I equipment such as communications and asset tracking systems that may require additional modifications such as in-line filters
On completion of the installation AV's engineers will conduct comprehensive testing (commissioning) of the vehicle and its ECM system to ensure that it is fully functional and operating within acceptable standards.
Allen-Vanguard is fully aware, that by its nature, ECM is a life-saving piece of equipment. As such the company is committed to supporting its customers and its equipment in the field to ensure the systems are properly maintained, functioning correctly and that maximum operational availability is achieved.
The level of support AV provides varies, depending on the customer's fleet size, their requirements and the degree of repair and maintenance training their personnel have received. We have been involved in complex Integrated Logistic Support (ILS) programs requiring the deployment of 40+ full time, in-theatre, Field Service Representatives (FSRs) to maintain a fleet in excess of 6000 systems, to the provision of an annual service visit by one our technicians to a customer with a fleet size of four systems.
AV's support concept is based on three (3) levels of maintenance and repair:
- Organizational (O-Level) - Conducted in the field by trained end users - Pre-mission checks and regular Preventative, Maintenance Checks & Services (PCMS)
- Intermediate (I-Level) - Conducted in the field by AV FSRs (visiting/deployed) or AV trained customer technicians - Inspections, diagnostics, fault finding, repair to Line Replaceable Unit (LRU), software and firmware upgrades.
- Depot (D-Level) - Conducted at AV repair facilities in Canada and UK by ECM technicians - Inspection, diagnostics and repair of LRUs and main units down to board level
Allen Vanguard has the facilities, processes and resources in place to support its equipment now and into the future.
TRAINING, SOP/TTP DEVELOPMENT
In addition to maintaining the equipment, it is also essential that it is operated and employed correctly by the end user, if not; at best it could be ineffective and at worst dangerous. Allen-Vanguard has a training team consisting of former military ECM Operators, EOD Operators and ECM technicians with extensive real-world experience of tactically employing and supporting ECM in operational environments.
The team has been involved in long term ECM training programs with the Canadian DND, US Marine Corps, Australian Defence Force, US State & Local Bomb Squads and the FBI, as well as delivering individual training courses to customers around the world.
There are a number of "off the shelf" courses that can be offered, designed for different roles and applications, however custom courses can also be developed, including Train The Trainer (T3) courses. Training is normally conducted at end user locations but can be delivered at AV facilities in Canada or UK if that is required. Courses offered:
- EOD/IEDD ECM Operators Course
- C-RCIED/ECM Advisors
- ECM Force Protection Course
- Allen Vanguard ECM Systems Manager Course
- Allen Vanguard ECM Technicians Course
For those customers to whom ECM is new capability, the training team can also assist in the development of policy, doctrine and Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) that detail how this equipment is to be incorporated and employed within their organization and its operations.