From situation awareness to deep situation understanding

When the task force entered cartel-controlled waters, it was expecting trouble—just not quite so soon. As darkness fell, the seas were transformed by a swarm attack. Two boats approached, unseen, at breakneck speed. On board the lead corvette, however, operators were unperturbed. Their Tacticos CMS had long since detected the threat, interrogated relevant historical data, and activated the ship’s optical suite. Operators were now navigating intuitively through a real-time picture of events. One hostile boat started to peel away, ready to detonate its explosive-packed sister ship, but it was Tacticos—not the twilight—that provided the element of surprise. A distinctly different explosion to the one planned by the cartel lit up the night sky: the battle to regain control of the waters had begun.


Navies are now facing a twofold challenge: an increasingly unstable world in terms of terrorism and geopolitics, and a relentless rise in global trade leading to ever more shipping—both legitimate and illicit. In today’s saturated seas, naval operators need more than an awareness of their situation: they must understand it deeply—in real time—from every angle.

Against this backdrop, Thales set itself the challenge of delivering a step change to its well-established CMS, Tacticos. Its reasoning? Delivering deep situation understanding starts with a deep understanding of operator requirements—what information they really use, how they manage workflow, and what they need from a Human Machine Interface (HMI).   

Thales was determined to get to the bottom of this, gathering information from four distinct sources: constant contact with naval operators; its dedicated user feedback events; former navy experts in its workforce; and a significant operator-training operation. The patterns were clear: as more shipping and modern sensors create a deluge of data, what operators need are well-designed graphics, intuitive navigation, and the ability to draw on historical data to enhance the view of the current situation.

The latest version of Tacticos, Baseline 2, brings all this together. With a redesigned HMI and graphics, a level of intuitiveness that means “zero training” for experienced operators, and Big Data Analytics automatically making sense of banks of historical information, it can comprehensively meet navies’ needs. So much so, that some customers are now designing their ships around the CMS—not vice versa. Add secure connectivity and six-monthly software updates to the mix, and navies can stay one step ahead.

Baseline 2 might be a modest name for major improvements to a system that’s been evolving for some 30 years, but the advantages are myriad: operators receive only pertinent, well-presented information, enabling them to master their workflow, focus on added-value tasks, and take key decisions quickly.