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Distributed Tactical Communication System

The Distributed Tactical Communication System (DTCS) provides Beyond Line-Of-Sight (BLOS), Over-The-Horizon (OTH), and On-The-Move (OTM) one-to-many tactical voice and data communications. DTCS is managed by the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) through its Enhanced Mobile Satellite Services (EMSS) program management office.

The Need for Command and Control (C2)

The nature of warfare has changed over time. However, certain aspects of battle have remained constant for centuries. Namely, the need to maintain effective command and control of troops, as well as the ability communicate securely.

Military missions today are often focused on counter insurgency, nation building, and humanitarian aid, requiring Warfighters to operate as small forward based units across ever increasing areas of responsibility. Now more than ever before, Commanders must know the location and status of their operational forces and Warfighters must be able to call for additional resources, regardless of geographic location. Mission success depends on it.

Challenges Faced by the Dismounted Warfighter

Modern day warfare requires military units to operate as smaller, more agile forces, across widely distributed geographic areas, in often rugged terrain.

These dismounted units frequently cannot maintain line-of-sight communications with headquarters (HQ), let alone with other units operating even a few miles away. This not only limits HQ ability to track dismounted Soldiers but also imposes severe limitations on the Warfighter’s situational awareness that is vital to both safety and mission success.

Attempts to solve these problems with traditional SATCOM solutions are impractical, as these solutions require large and/or stationary antennas, high power radios and line-of-sight to the satellites involved.

Exelis Innovation and DTCS

DISA, along with military and industry partners, has rapidly developed and deployed a system that provides our troops with critical C2 capabilities.

As a proud partner in the development of DTCS, Exelis has played an instrumental role in the engineering, design, implementation, and deployment of this Iridium satellite based system. To address the urgent needs of our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, Exelis designed and developed the only generally available DTCS compatible radio in the world. Already, thousands of our handheld RO® Tactical Radios are in the field, enabling reliable command and control capability, regardless of location or terrain. All that is required is a view of any part of the sky and the RO® Tactical radio can engage DTCS.​​​​



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View the DTCS data sheet.


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