Northrop Grumman Information Systems Sector said Feb. 25 that the U.S. Army completed its formal evaluation of the next-generation software version of the Force 21 Battle Command Brigade and Below (FBCB2) command-and-control system currently used by U.S. and coalition forces in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Field testing of the Northrop-developed software was conducted at Fort Hood, Texas, between September and November 2009. The new software, called Joint Capabilities Release, provides increased network bandwidth, according to a Northrop Grumman press release.

The FBCB2 links military communications devices, sensors, vehicles, helicopters and weapons platforms in a digital network to provide a continuous and common picture of the battlefield. Most FBCB2 systems communicate via a satellite-based network, according to Northrop Grumman, while about 30 percent use a tactical radio network.