VB-10: Intercommunication Trials
Testing in 2011 has focused on interconnection issues with a new personal radio nearing completion
The Yugoimport Vojnik Budocnosti-10 (VB-10) programme remains firmly based upon the all arms battlegroup; containing infantry, MBTs and wheeled Infantry Fighting Vehicles based around the 8x8 Lazar BTR-SR-8808 along with fire support and engineers. Each is connected via a common Battle Management System (BMS), tasked with all battlefield tasks through to fire support with Blue Force Tracking (BFT), Red Force marking and standard features with communications and the soldier of the future as part of its programme.
Aleksandar Lijakovic, Head of Promotion Department at Yugoimport explained that in the development of VB-10, “The most complex component of this system is the BMS for the infantry. It has a communications subsystem and the ability for vehicle mounted inter-communication systems to communicate continuously with dismounted infantry to a range of 1000m from the vehicle, keeping the commander in the vehicle and the ability for BFT at the level of the soldier with every soldier having GPS.”
The testing of the communications system has taken place from section level through to command levels up to and including battalion level.
The new personal radio has been developed with Serbia’s Institute of Physics using off-the-shelf components. Lijakovic said, “The radio is basically complete.” Many other companies work in partnership with Yugoimport, including Teleoptic who are supplying a number of sights for VB-10.
The VB-10 system consists of a section of eight to ten dismounted team members, each with a personal radio with integrated GPS with the commander having a rugged computer with a Blue Force Tracking ability. In addition, the assistant commander for the fire team or squad is equipped with a marksman’s rifle in 7.62x51mm with a 6x optical sight and laser range finder. His role is to locate and ‘point’ targets and then add that picture to the BMS via the commander’s computer. The commander has the only capability to communicate up the command chain. Each of the other members of the squad has the 5.56x45mm M21 assault rifle with an optical sight, red dot reflex sight, laser pointer and daylight sight and coupled with camera and Helmet Mounted Display (currently a Liteye design) designed to shoot around corners.
Thus far, the vast majority of components in the VB-10 have been manufactured in Serbia, meeting Yugoimport’s key goals, namely their mission to organise and integrate Serbian-sourced defence capability for domestic and overseas users.
For the dismounted BMS, the trials have used the ‘Algiz’ tablet computer although, Lijakovic emphasises that the BMS software, dubbed Joint Task Force – Battalion Level could be hosted on any ruggedised computing solution. He commented, “We have software and we can put it in any type of ruggedised computer. It is something which we are integrating. He has the map, he has the position of the Blue Force Tracking, and he can also communicate with higher levels of command, the highest level being the commander of the company or the battalion. The commander of the battalion can give orders to the armoured element or fire support component depending on his communications.”
The Serbian military have made initial steps forward with their M21 soldier modernisation programme, outside of VB-10. This programme does not include BMS although there are discussions about a future capability. Serbia uses the M21 rifle but rather than a Picatinny rail a Soviet style right hand sight carrier has been adopted. The weapon, the body armour and ballistic helmet is also significantly heavier than modern designs.
Yugoimport’s solution for the VB-10 retains the current CBRN protection system. Yugoimport have also developed the Milkor-like SG07 which fires standard 40mm Low Velocity rounds with a foldable mechanical sight. An anti-mine boot which doesn’t impact on soldier mobility has also been developed for the VB-10 ensemble.
Demonstrations have also been made to visiting delegations from Asia and the Middle East.