The Family of Integrated Rapid Response Equipment (FIRRE) is an advanced technology demonstration program intended to develop a family of affordable, scalable, modular, and logistically supportable unmanned systems to meet urgent operational force protection needs and requirements worldwide. The near-term goal is to provide the best available unmanned ground systems to the warfighter in Iraq and Afghanistan. The overarching long-term goal is to develop a fully-integrated, layered force protection system of systems for our forward deployed forces that is networked with the future force C4ISR systems architecture. The intent of the FIRRE program is to reduce manpower requirements, enhance force protection capabilities, and reduce casualties through the use of unmanned systems. FIRRE is sponsored by the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense, Acquisitions, Technology and Logistics (OUSD AT&L), and is managed by the Product Manager, Force Protection Systems (PM-FPS). The FIRRE Command and Control (C2) Station supports two operators, hosts the Joint Battlespace Command and Control Software for Manned and Unmanned Assets (JBC2S), and will be able to host Mission Planning and Rehearsal (MPR) software. The C2 Station consists of an M1152 HMMWV fitted with an S-788 TYPE I shelter. The C2 Station employs five 24" LCD monitors for display of JBC2S software , MPR software, and live video feeds from unmanned systems. An audio distribution system allows each operator to select between various audio sources including: AN/PRC-117F tactical radio (SINCGARS compatible), audio prompts from JBC2S software, audio from unmanned systems, audio from other operators, and audio from external sources such as an intercom in an adjacent Tactical Operations Center (TOC). A power distribution system provides battery backup for momentary outages. The Ethernet network, audio distribution system, and audio/video feeds are available for use outside the C2 Station.
The need for enhanced tactical force protection capabilities is evidenced from our recent experiences in Iraq and Afghanistan and occurs wherever U.S. Forces maintain a forward presence in a potentially hostile environment. Levels of force protection proficiency vary widely from combat units whose mission is to close with and destroy the enemy to combat support/combat service support units performing maintenance and logistics functions. We must provide force protection capabilities that are not only good enough to get the job done, but affordable for the entire force. Addressing the force protection challenge requires an investment in research and development to deliver affordable, scalable, modular and sustainable force protection equipment. This can be accomplished through an evolutionary acquisition strategy of capability upgrades in the near, mid and far-terms that leverage the Army's investments in unmanned ground sensors (UGS), unmanned ground vehicles (UGV) and surveillance radar and imaging technology. This approach addresses the field's immediate tactical force protection requirements, while working towards full integration with the Future Combat System. Futuristic Tactical Force Protection will consist of a fully integrated system of systems architecture that will include UGVs, UGS and Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) that are networked with the Future Force.