US, Finland Navies Conduct Common Picture Operational Tests
The U.S. Navy conducted Common Picture Operational (CPO) tests with Finland’s navy Sept. 6 and will continue throughout Combined Endeavor 2012.

GRAFENWOEHR, Germany– After months of planning, the U.S. Navy conducted Common Operational Picture tests with Finland’s navy Sept. 6 and will continue throughout Combined Endeavor 2012 here.      

The U.S. Navy used their Global Command Control System and the Finnish navy used their Finnish Navy Sea Surveillance System (MEVAT) to test whether transfers of unclassified data of maritime tracks are compatible.

Roger Nelan, CE12 exercise technical director said this is the first time important testing like this has been done.

“The two (systems) were never designed to talk to each other, in fact the GCCS was designed as predominately U.S. joint systems,” said Nelan.

The MEVAT engineers created an interface to talk to the U.S. system so they now have the ability to pass information back and forth.

 “The ability to view unclassified maritime traffic on the systems is important because in the Mediterranean there are a lot of problems with piracy, profiting from weapons of mass destruction, terrorism and trafficking of persons,” said Lt. Brian Wheeler, U.S. Navy Europe communications exercise planner.

Nelan said through the COP testing, the U.S. system operators have the potential to view where the Finnish navy’s units are and they can see U.S. assets.

“It means at the end of the day, we’re going to know exactly where other friendly units are,” said Nelan.

“We are trying to get other European nations to share their maritime data,” added Wheeler.

Wheeler said if they’re unsuccessful at the conclusion of the testing, they’ll continue working towards a cooperative technical solution.

“In the future, we hope to develop transfer of data of not only maritime tracks but air and ground tracks,” said Wheeler. “We have a Maritime Domain Office at NAVEUR headquarters and their goal is to connect all the maritime stations in Europe and Africa to make one big picture for all unclassified data.”

Finnish navy Lt. Joni Vanharata, systems engineer, said he appreciates the opportunity afforded to his country through CE12.

“We are going to connect to the CENTRIXS (Combined Enterprise Regional Information Exchange System) within the next few years, and we need to test our capability in order to do so,” said Vanharata.

CENTRIXS is the leading network for coalition interoperability in support of military operations and it is designed to one day form a single, common, global, multinational data network.

For more information on the exercise, contact the U.S. European Command Public Affairs office at (+49) 0711-680-6618 or email the Media Operations team at mediaops@eucom.mil

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