Communication Vehicles: What is a Communications Vehicle?

Updated: Mar 23

Communication vehicles are secondary emergency communication systems that are mobile and are generally used in extraordinary situations to provide emergency communication services. They are often referred to as a Mobile Command Center or a Mobile Communications Center. These vehicles are designed to provide emergency communications for command and control at the most forward points of operations of an emergency or disaster event. Many Federal, State and Local agencies have a need for the communications capabilities that communication vehicles provide.

Communication vehicle being loaded for deployment

Mobile Communication Vehicles are usually large platforms, such as large vans, buses or trailers that can be seen onsite during major disasters, civil unrest or for large crowd control. Their mission is to function as a tactical emergency communications system providing forward operational communications for emergencies or unique situations.

What’s inside Mobile Communication Vehicles varies depending on the vehicle and the budget of the agency. Many communication vehicles have a meeting area with a conference table, a restroom, a kitchen, sleeping areas, and communications systems. While these features and comforts are nice, they come with a substantial price tag, and do not necessarily add to the core mission critical capabilities of what is needed from a communication vehicle. As communication vehicles often can cost upwards of $1,000,000 or more, in many instances, communication vehicles are financially out of reach to many municipalities and organizations that need the core emergency communications capabilities they can provide.

Fortunately, there is an effective alternative to an expensive Mobile Command Center that can provide the core functions of a communication vehicle at a fraction of the cost. Given that Emergency Communications ARE THE critical functions that communication vehicles must provide, municipalities and agencies can have all the tactical communications capability of a communication vehicle if they are willing to forgo the luxuries that are often immaterial and add little value in the fight to save lives and property. An Effective Mobile Communication Vehicle alternative places emphasis on the main emergency communications capabilities of Communication Vehicles and leaves out the costly non-communication features. This allows many municipalities and agencies who cannot afford communication vehicles the same mission capability at a much lower cost and also allows them to attain a higher resiliency per dollar by

Communication vehicles that rely on infrastructure are often unreliable.

leveraging the core emergency communications functions that are needed, without all the overhead. Having such capability for any emergency situation can make the difference between success and failure when lives are on the line.

An effective Mobile Communication Vehicle alternative must have autonomous operational capability with the ability to operate during Black Sky events when all infrastructure is compromised including when transportation, energy and communication grids are disrupted. It should be self-sufficient and not dependent on external systems to operate. This system must also be able to operate for at least the first critical 72 hours of an emergency when the success or failure of the response is often established.

While there are benefits of having communication vehicles, these benefits do come at a cost and there are also some disadvantages to mobile communication vehicles. In situations where infrastructure is damaged or destroyed, or in remote areas it may be impossible to deploy a large communication vehicle to the scene most advantageous for operations. Additionally, there are also times when it is beneficial to establish a more covert frontline presence for the protection and security of the public safety responders.

The trend in communication vehicles is away from large expensive platforms and busses to more light, nimble vehicles that can carry the spectrum of communications equipment needed to establish tactical command and control. The logical progression of this trend is a more completely autonomous, portable, communications system that can be transported to any frontline position in any existing vehicle, ATV, which is deployable to unreachable points by helicopter, or even by foot if need be. The SemperComm Portable Command Center (PCC) is such a designed system.

The SemperComm Mobile Command Center is designed with several unique patented features making it field rugged, easily portable and completely autonomous while providing a full spectrum of emergency communications for every possible circumstance at a fraction of the cost of a traditional communication vehicle. SemperComm, is a portable emergency communications system that, in essence, turns ANY vehicle into an effective Mobile Command Center in the short amount of time it takes you to place the unit in any vehicle. The size of this unit allows for it to be easily transported and rapidly deployed to any frontline position where larger vehicles have difficulty due to damaged infrastructure such as roads being out due to flooding or other natural disaster. When placed on a four wheel drive vehicle or ATV, the SemperComm PCC can be rapidly deployed to just about anywhere.

In summary, it is the emergency communications systems housed in the vehicle that are the most important aspect of communication vehicles. SemperComm as a Communication Vehicle alternative can turn any vehicle into an effective emergency Mobile Command Center for a fraction of the cost of traditional communication vehicles.

You can learn more here.

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