This Tactical Tablet Will Help Marines Cut Through Fog of War

Ground combat Marines will soon test an upgraded version of a tactical tablet designed to help units see through the fog of war to make decisions faster than ever before.

The Marine Air-Ground Task Force Common Handheld, or MCH, is a tablet-based communication system that helps dismounted Marines perform multiple battlefield tasks such as navigating and communicating with fellow Marines about the changing tactical situation. Marines are set to evaluate the effectiveness of the system during Island Marauder 2019 later this month, according to a recent news release from Marine Corps Systems Command.

“MCH is essentially an interactive tactical mapping program with a GPS navigation software and a chat functionality,” Maj. Richard Beeson, the tablet’s project officer at SYSCOM, said in the release. “The technology feeds the battalion’s current operational picture with real-time friendly force positions and allows this battlespace awareness to be shared down to the squad-leader level.”

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Earlier this year, the Corps fielded an early-release version of the system to Marines, but the service has been conducting tests using tactical tablets for several years in exercises such as the Mobility Joint Capability Technology Demonstration back in 2015 at Marine Corps Air Station Yuma, Arizona.

The Corps plans to issue an updated version of the device to Marines in fiscal 2020 that allows them to communicate with one another through several joint communication systems, the release states.

Marine officials said the system will give commanders the ability to disseminate orders, graphics and digital data, providing Marines the ability to visualize the commander’s intent and scheme of maneuver.

“It helps Marines to share enemy locations in real-time in an easily understood digital, moving-map format,” Beeson said in the release.

It also enables Marines to pass messages to one another in real-time — similar to text messaging — allowing the commander to make faster, more effective, decisions, the release states.

“MCH is a command and control, situational awareness system that gives the squad leader and platoon commander a better understanding of the battlefield to make tactical decisions,” Justin Meidinger, an engineer for the tablet program, said in the release. “This system helps them have a better idea of what is going on around them.”

— Matthew Cox can be reached at

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