C4ISR vs. C5ISR: What is the Difference?

C4ISR vs. C5ISR: What is the Difference?

Effective communication systems are crucial to military operations across every branch, mission, and training regimen. Success is driven not only by combat and force but through the gathering and dissemination of intel across military personnel.

Command and Control systems are the backbones of communication efforts in the military. Over time, how we classify these systems has shifted--and advanced--to include all necessary aspects of communication in modern warfare.

The defense space often refers to these systems as either C4ISR or C5ISR. The difference between the two terms reflects advancing needs in military communication efforts.

To understand the difference between C4ISR and C5ISR, we must first understand the basic idea of Command and Control, or C2.

What is Command and Control (C2)?

Command and Control, often referred to as C2, is a term used to address how missions are prepared for and executed.

C2 processes revolve around the equipment and management needed to gather information, make decisions, disseminate information, and execute missions.

C2 is the baseline framework that the terms C4ISR and C5ISR come from. Over time, C4ISR--and then C5ISR--were added to encompass new technology and practices within the C2 system.


C4ISR includes 7 components: command, control, communications, computers (C4), intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR).

C5ISR includes those 7 components in addition to an 8th element and 5th ā€œCā€--cyber-defense. Without this element, C4ISR did not address the threat of cyber security risks. Today, an effective C5ISR system must protect against threats related to intelligence and information warfare, as well as sensitive data leaks and breaches.

Essential C5ISR Equipment

Atlantic Signal's ruggedized / swimmable 2 wire, low visibility kit was developed to hold up overseas to adverse weather conditions. Features include:

  • Blackened stainless steel microphone submersible up to 3 feet
  • Heavy-duty cables and hard-rubberized sealed speaker
  • Over-molded, NATO wired, 4 conductor Nexus plug designed to connect to the operator's choice of Atlantic Signal push-to-talks
  • Customized cable lengths

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The FLIR StormCaster-L offers unmatched ISR, full-motion video, tracking and mapping performance during twilight and nighttime operations. Features include:

  • 7x improvement in line of sight stabilization, enhanced range of motion and a dramatically increased geolocation accuracy
  • Stabilization permits clandestine operation by increasing aircraft standoff range
  • Aircraft embedded NVIDIA TX2 processors enable real-time AI at the network edge, including object detection and classification and support for third-party AI development

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The Gantz-Mountain Tactical WiFi System (TWS) provides a rapidly deployable stand-alone tactical WIFI network to any environment. Whether in an austere location or urban area, this TWS increases your wireless refresh rates and the amount of data you can transmit. Features include:

  • Increased bandwidth
  • Increased frame rates for urban applications
  • Extended WiFi Range up to 200 meters LOS
  • Ruggedized WiFi Router

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ADS, Inc. proudly supplies cutting edge C5ISR technology and equipment systems. Visit our catalog to learn more.