FARNBOROUGH - Engineers at European missile manufacturer MBDA have been studying systems of command and control that would give wider access to directing weapons on a future battlefield.

The Stratus system, the brainchild of MBDA engineers, has been developed as part of the company’s Concept Visions initiative and would link surveillance systems and weapons systems in the battlespace, giving all personnel - from soldiers on the ground to officers in the headquarters - the same ground picture and the ability to engage targets with any weapon on the battlefield.

The Concept Visions program urges the company’s engineers to think about some of the key technologies and systems that may be required by armies, navies and air forces into the 2030s and beyond.

“Stratus works on a resource sharing principle … the systems, launchers, effectors will be shared across the battlefield,” explained Sandro Petrizzelli, team leader for the Concept Visions program in 2014.

“It is clear that if you have a wider set of resources, you have more options to engage and be more flexible, and deliver the most appropriate effect to the situations you are going to face," Petrizzelli says.

MBDA imagines that soldiers will have wrist-mounted wearable computers allowing them to see the threats they face and the weapons available to them to defeat the threats. Battlefield commanders will also see the same picture, but may have a wider-range of weapons to work with rather than those locally deployed.

Depending on the threat, the Stratus system will suggest the best way to deal with it, offering a weapon that minimizes collateral damage and has the highest probability of kill. In the event of network degradation, other elements will take over because of the system’s distributed nature.

“Stratus could work using today’s technology, but new technologies in terms of processing speed and bandwidth are developing; in 20 years time, it could be easier to develop than it is now,” Petrizzelli says.