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What is C2?

C2 is a Command and Control communication system used in disaster contexts.

When faced with a large crisis, civil protection agencies and first response organisations depend on their mobile radios for critical communication, to collaborate and deal with the event as it unfolds. These organisations have specific protocols for a response during crises, including an IT and Communications System – known as a C2 system.

In Europe, there are hundreds of C2 systems and more often than not, each agency has its own system. These consist of control rooms organising dispatches, based on closed systems such as a Professional Mobile Radio (PMR) network (e.g. TETRAPOL )..

Image source – Airbus SLC video

C2 and transboundary crises

Most of the time, disaster events are local and contained within the boundaries of a country – so local C2 systems are used. In this context, political leaders must issue orders based on the advice of their responsible government departments (e.g. ministry of defence or ministry of interior). These commands move down the chain to the different civil protection agencies, for example police, medical, fire and military.

However, where a disaster moves across borders – more agencies become involved, often with different C2 systems. Even though agencies deployed in a country follow protocols of that particular country, if each agency is operating on a different system, it can slow down the response process. Therefore, improving the interoperability of C2 systems and standardising exchanges and training in preparation for real events, are of critical importance. This improves responders’ ability to function under different procedures and organisational cultures.

What is IN-PREP’s contribution to C2?

IN-PREP intends to increase interoperability between agencies and systems. The system’s high level architecture proposes to encompass existing systems and enhance their capabilities.

Our collaborative team is working to

  • Enable existing C2 systems in different agencies to have better capability to collaborate in joint operations
  • Improve standardisation of exchanges
  • Improve the communication capability of C2 systems from medical, police, fire brigade, military, coast guard, municipalities and NGOs
  • Implement collaborative training, so that responders work together effectively on the real day.

 What about C3?

You may have heard of the term C3* which stands for Coordination, Command and Control. A C3 communication system comes into play when there is need for further coordination during an emergency or disaster. In Ireland, for example, part of the C3 structure is the National Emergency Coordination Committee, the coordinating body for the whole of government support for the front line effort during an emergency. During Storm Ophelia, it managed and communicated emerging issues at a national level. Its role is one of coordination only, without authority to command the agencies or forces directly.

*C3 mentioned here is different to the C3 in a military context


For information on Tetrapol and Professional Mobile Radio (PMR) visit

For more examples on C2 read the Teleplan blog


Philippe Chrobocinski is a key account manager of Research &Technology for Integrated Systems within Airbus Defence & Space (ADS) with over 20 years of experience in system design, development and integration. Philippe contributes to IN-PREP through his knowledge of large integrated systems, airborne platforms and Remotely Piloted Air Systems (RPAS) security market as well as technical expertise in C2 systems.

ADS lead the work package on system architecture for IN-PREP, providing integration of C2 with information and systems from participating disaster management operation organisations. ADS will be involved with the adaptation and integration of these products and systems within the Mixed Reality Preparedness Platform – training platform. Using their extensive expertise on commercialisation of technology solutions and large customer portfolio, ADS will also drive the work package on the exploitation of IN-PREP results.

The blog on C2 is  from Philippe Chrobocinski of AIRBUS as told to Johanna Varghese of CARR Communications.

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