Being exhibited for the first time at SOFEX is the Star-Pan VI power distribution and data hub unit from Glenair Tactical Interconnect Solution (Hall 1, Stand B104). The soldier-worn system is primarily aimed at Special Forces and joint terminal attack controllers (JTAC), who often operate for extended periods while employing a number of peripheral devices and managing various data sources.
Star-Pan has already been supplied to special forces in the US and Europe. Part of a family of units with varying numbers of ports for peripheral equipment, the Star- Pan VI is a compact unit that off ers four ports for personal area network (PAN) peripherals and two for radios. Additionally, the unit has two power ports – one for connection to the soldier’s main wearable battery pack and one for auxiliary power sources such as could be provided by a vehicle connector or solar cell – as well as a dedicated port that supports the end-user device (EUD), typically a chest-worn ruggedised tablet.
As a data hub, the Star-Pan VI links peripherals such as radios, secure data receivers, laser rangefinders and other C4ISR systems, allowing them to ‘talk’ to each other and present data such as downlinked video, night vision imagery, Blue Force tracking and GPS information on the EUD screen. Harnessing this digitally aided close air support technology, Star-Pan VI allows the JTAC to provide precise aiming co-ordinates to attacking aircraft in as short a time as three minutes. Using traditional equipment, it could take a JTAC as long as 15 minutes to create and transmit a ‘nineline’ attack brief to the aircraft.
In terms of power management, the Star-Pan VI automatically monitors and optimises the power needs of all connected systems, as well as managing power supply from any power sources, including the batteries within connected peripheral devices such as tactical radios. The unit can be configured to prioritise various systems in cases where there are conflicting power requirements as overall system power levels are reduced.
This provides the soldier with effective power management of vital systems over extended dismounted operations without an external power supply, such as border patrols that could be away from power for 72 hours or so.
Control of the system is undertaken via an application that is loaded in the EUD. Using this app the soldier can access an instant overview of what is connected to the system, and how much overall power is available. It also displays power level status while charging.
Prioritisation protocol for connected systems can be set easily through the app, and stored as a profile for the individual so that the soldier is not required to reprogram the system every time it is used.