Joint Tactical Terminal and Common Integrated Broadcast Service– Modules (JTT/CIBS-M)

by Lieutenant Colonel Stephen R. Kostek  

Meeting the combat forces’ need for timely, secure, tactical intelligence and targeting information, the Joint Tactical Terminal (JTT) provides a high-performance, software-programmable radio. It features modular functionality that is both backward- and forward- compatible with the migration of the Integrated Broadcast Service (IBS). The JTT Common Integrated Broadcast–Modules (JTT/CIBS-M) program provides the first truly scaleable, flexible, open-architec- ture-software, digital radio to provide integrated tactical and intelligence broadcasts into the next millen- nium. JTT provides critical data links to battle managers, intelli- gence centers, air defenders, fire support elements, and aviation nodes across all the services and aboard airborne, sea-going, sub- surface, and ground-mobile mission platforms.

The JTT allows each combat commander in chief (CINC), Army, Air Force, Navy, Marine Corps, Special Operations Forces (SOF), and other agency users to exploit the current IBS intelligence networks:

The JTT also supports the evolving IBS broadcast architecture, including changes to message formats and transmission protocols and the use of different portions of the radiofrequency spectrum. The JTT/CIBS-M architecture supports multiple terminal configurations, emerging technology insertion, preplanned product improvement (P3I), and module integration into other C4I (command, control, communications, computers, and intelligence) terminals. The Army and the other Services are procuring the baseline JTT, which has two versions: an eight-channel receive- only version and a version that receives over eight channels and transmits on one channel (see the photograph).

Emerging Trends in Tactical Terminals

A decreasing defense budget, a need for reducing the length of the procurement cycle, the desire for rapid assimilation of new technology, and a requirement to conduct joint-service coordinated operations spurred the creation of the JTT. Designed to meet the combat commanders’ needs, the JTT also overcomes past deficiencies. In accordance with the IBS Implementation Plan dated October 1995, the JTT/CIBS-M is the designated objective terminal configuration across the Department of Defense (DOD). The designated migration terminals are the Commanders Tactical Terminal (CTT) and the Multi-Mission Advanced Tactical Terminal (MATT). The remaining legacy terminals will be phased out by December 2000 (see Figure 1).

Tactical intelligence terminals have been plagued with lack of commonality in hardware and software, resulting in inefficiencies in re-use, manufacturing, logistics, scaleability, procurement, interoper ability, maintenance, and training. The JTT combines the strategies of the joint services into a standards- based architecture, relying heavily on widely accepted clearly defined commercial standards. The JTT systematically addresses shortfalls by embracing an open flexible, and scaleable architecture. The open systems architecture focuses on modularity by function, not by waveform or network. Using a software download, JTT can accept changes in format and protocol as IBS networks migrate to a common format. Adoption of the JTT architecture fosters interoperability between tactical terminals, while dramatically reducing cost, development and fielding time, and ensuring a migration path into the future. This open architecture also allows a natural progression of module improvement with ad- vances in technology; this enables those companies with sufficient expertise to compete at the module level to enhance performance and reduce cost. By providing hard- ware and software in common modular form, we can design terminals around a catalog of common modules, which are designated the Common IBS-Modules (CIBS-M).

With an emphasis on enhanced lethality, survivability, rapid operating tempo (OPTEMPO), greater synchronization, and reduced fratricide, the tactical intelligence networks must rise to the occasion. Sensor-to-shooter links must be wide bandwidth (high-definition imagery), instant access (low latency), robust (jamming- and interference- protected), with transparent (to the user), seamless channels. Because we will conduct operations at a rapid OPTEMPO with high-dynamic mobility platforms, on-the-move (OTM) operation with dynamic message routing is required. The modern warrior must seamlessly exchange information (voice, textual data, graphics, images, and video) among all the Services, at every echelon in the chain of command, and in all formats.

The key to winning the war is information dissemination in a common tactical picture that everyone can easily understand and use. Information superiority is the glue that holds together the dominant maneuver, precision engagement, focused logistics, and the full-dimensional protection capabilities required to support joint and coalition force structures. The Integrated Broadcast Service meets this need for disseminating situational awareness (SA) to the combat forces.

As warriors proactively jam enemy lines-of-communication (LOCs), modern intelligence terminals must have sufficient freedom requiring a multimode, multi-freq- uency, multichannel radio terminal capable of seamless inter-networking between layers of networks. Future intelligence terminals require total programmability of frequency (multi-frequency), waveform (multimode), and number of channels (multichannel) as well as communications security and transmission security (multiple information security).

The military has examined the cost of conflict preparation. Secretary of Defense William Perry announced that the military could no longer afford defense-funded, defense-unique solutions to military requirements. Furthermore, for an increasing number of defense- critical technologies, it has been determined that commercial demand, not defense demand, drives technical progress. Commercial economies of scale and technology innovation help offset the declining military budget. DOD emphasis on affordability and interoperability drove the solution to the maximum use of commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) and non-developmental item (NDI) equipment. Government and industry have collaborated to demonstrate technology, refine concepts, mature the technology, and reduce risk.


JTT Supports Users Needs

The nature of the tactical intelligence terminal evolved with several identifiable trends. Today’s emphasis is on multi-mission C4I surveillance and reconnaissance to yield a C4ISR terminal based on the demand for increased situational awareness (SA) while emphasizing the need to reduce terminal costs.

Commanders involved across the military operations continuum require timely and accurate intelligence to successfully execute their missions, employing intelligence data in direct support of command and control, weapons, and sensors. Effective dissemination of this tactical intelligence relies on multiple-path, secure, worldwide data communications between producers and users at all echelons of command. The lack of interoperability between the multitude of stovepipe (non-inter op- erable) intelligence dissemination systems and their associated terminals has limited interactivity between producers and users. This has resulted in a less efficient SA perspective of the battlespace, hindering truly coordinated operations.

The JTT/CIBS-M program provides terminals capable of fusing diverse broadcasts in terminals with common capabilities. The modular feature of the architecture also allows producers and users to incorporate IBS capability into their C4I systems, using the systems’ existing hardware and software by integrating only the CIBS-M mod- ules that add the required capability. JTT/CIBS-M captures the advantages of new technologies to the greatest extent possible with the objective of using common hardware and software. Employment of JTT/CIBS-M facilitates a seamless transition from current dissemination systems to the mature IBS, while not degrading the capabilities provided by the present systems. JTT will meet the changing needs as the broadcast format changes, as the data rates increase, and as we periodically implement updates.

CINCs have a critical need for timely, secure tactical intelligence. To satisfy this requirement, the “system of systems” called IBS integrates the existing independent global and theater-level intelligence broadcasts and dissemination networks. As was mentioned earlier, the current intelligence broadcast suite includes TDDS, TIBS, TRIXS, and the On-Board Processing/Direct Down Link (OBP/DDL), previously known as TADIXS-B (see Figure 2). Additional SA is available through the 5- and 25-kHz Demand Assigned Multiple Access (DAMA) and imagery through the SIDS. JTT is a low technical and schedule risk program, because it is based the on the previously demonstrated performance of the Commanders’ Tactical Terminal (CTT) with full-duplex operation (transmit and receive) on TRIXS and TIBS and receive-only on TDDS/ TADIXS-B.


The CIBS-M is a library of “plug and play” hardware modules and common, transportable software modules, used to provide JTT ca- pabilities. DOD can package the CIBS-M as a stand-alone terminal or integrate it into other multi-Service C4I systems in accordance with user requirements.

Supportability Architecture

Most of the present intelligence dissemination systems are unique, non-interoperable, and require their own system-specific logistics trail. The JTT supports legacy (fielded) equipment, waveforms, and networks, while having the ability to operate in future networks. JTT’s reprogrammability is flexible enough to support compatibility and connectivity to legacy networks of both the joint services and coalition forces. Through minimization of turnaround time and maximization of the mean time between opera- tional mission failures, we achieve a JTT operational availability of better than 0.99. MTBOMF, defined as availability of half the available channels, is greater than 6,000 hours.

The built-in test capability is designed  to have the ability to detect and isolate faults to a single shop-replaceable unit (SRU) to a probability of 95 percent. Ship- ment of the replacement line-replaceable units (LRUs) and SRUs (upon notification of failure) achieves a 72-hour turnaround time and supports both level 2 and level 3 maintenance. The MTBOMF and repair times determined the quantity of rotatable spares.

JTT meets the environmental needs of the robust platform in temperature (-32 to +43 degrees Celsius), altitude (60,000 feet), shock (catapult launch-arrested landing), vibration (MIL-STD-461), and investigations and studies of compromising emanations (TEMPEST)  (NACSIM 5100). An impressive 10-year failure-free warranty will ensure that the JTT continues to meet the needs of the combat forces into the next millennium.


Military Intelligence must lead in force modernization. JTT will provide the flexibility and scaleability to meet the challenges of the next millenium.

Lieutenant Colonel Kostek is currently the Product Manager for the JTT/CIBS-M program. He has served in a variety of assignments at the tactical level including Company Commander, Battalion S2, and G2 Operations/Plans Officer. He has also worked at the U.S. Forces Command Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff for Intelligence and in the Office of the Chief of Staff, Headquarters, Department of Army as an Operations Research Analyst. For the last six years, LTC Kostek has been assigned to the Program Executive Officer Intelligence Electronic Warfare and  Surveillance. (IEW&S) as Executive Officer to the PEO, Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System (Joint STARS) Common Ground Station (CGS) Test Officer, and Chief, Battlespace Integration Division. He has a Bachelor of Science degree in General Engineering from the U.S. Military Academy and a Master of Science Degree in Operations Research from the Air Force Institute of Technology. Readers can contact LTC Kostek via E-mail at and telephonically at (732) 427-5059 or DSN 987-5059.