Defense

May 1, 2012

NAWCWD engineer leads weapon control to new level

Navy photograph
The Navy performs a free-flight test of the Joint Standoff Weapon (JSOW) C-1 variant at NAWCWD's Point Mugu Sea Range in 2011. The JSOW is an air-to-ground, medium-range precision guided, glide weapon that employs a GPS/inertial navigation system and an infrared seeker for terminal guidance. The JSOW C-1 variant adds a Link 16 weapon data link for in-flight target updates and upgraded seeker software to autonomously target and strike a specific aim point on a moving ship. The JSOW C-1 will be the first Network Enabled Weapon in the military's inventory and the first weapon with the capability to precisely strike moving maritime targets.

NATO recently approved a change to the tactical data exchange specifications that will give war fighters more control of weapons on the battlefield by expanding communication between multiple controllers and various weapons after launch.

In February, NATO approved a network enabled weapons interface change proposal to Link 16, which created a single message standard that redefined how joint and allied war fighters control multiple NEWs through existing tactical data links.

“The war fighters are our customers and we have to give them what they need to fight effectively,” said Scott Millett, Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division’s weapon interoperability lead, and the Navy lead and the joint service co-lead for the NEW ICP. “We now have the foundation for one message set to support a scenario where any war fighter, whether he’s strapping into an ejection seat or carrying an M-16, can talk to any weapon, whether it’s going after a tank, ship or a bridge, or whether it was launched from a ship or a plane.”

The 1,400-page NEW ICP was developed during the last 10 years through the coordinated efforts of about 100 uniformed and civilian subject matter experts across the U.S. Navy and Air Force, weapon, fighter, bomber, radio and surveillance communities.

“This is a huge milestone,” said Scott O’Neil, NAWCWD executive director. “It was a major undertaking by a lot of people from various disciplines, and is a textbook example of how integration and interoperability should work.”

Millett said the team began looking at how to provide data to weapons after they had been launched in order to update the target’s location, switch to a different target during flight, or abort the mission.

DOD provided funding through the Air Force in 2004 to develop this technology. Recognizing the need to get the Navy involved, the Air Force contacted NAVAIR’s Precision Strike Weapons Program Office (PMA-201). Millett had been working with PMA-201 as the weapon interoperability lead since 1999 and was asked to share lead responsibilities with counterpart Jim Heigle of the U.S. Air Force’s Electronic Systems Command.

A successful demonstration of the technology was conducted in 2005 and involved Air Force and Navy weapons programs, radio programs, the fighter community, and network experts. The first formal draft of the message set was released for review by the DoD Link-16 community in June 2008. A more mature set went to NATO in June 2010 and was approved in February.

The result is a standard set of messages that can travel to weapons, from weapons, and back and forth between controllers. This allows for coordinated attacks during which multiple war fighters can be involved in controlling a weapon during a mission.

“The interoperable nature of this makes it special,” Millett said. “Before, each weapon’s data link was unique. This new message set can be used with any weapon as long as it is attacking something on the sea or on the ground, and each weapon and control platform only needs one set of software and one user interface no matter who it’s talking with.”

The message set is enhanced by a set of rules that allows control to be given but not taken, which means there is a traceable chain of custody for a lethal weapon.

“There’s a great deal of satisfaction knowing that the effort we spent and the challenges we overcame resulted in the horizontal integration of all of the different programs involved,” said Millett, who counts this as his top contribution to the Navy so far in his 29-year career.

Millett said the first weapon with this capability could be in the fleet by the end of 2013. The NEW message set is expected to support the needs of most weapons and land/surface attack missions for the foreseeable future.

“We’ve tried to design for the future so when the next generation of weapons and aircraft comes along, we’ll be able to adapt and integrate into those,” Millett said. “We’ve left room for future growth.”

 




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 
Luke Lightning strikes at Nellis

F-35 program on right track, director says

Luke Lightning strikes at Nellis Air Force photograph by Senior Airman Thomas Spangler An F-35A Lightning II assigned to the 61st Fighter Squadron, Luke Air Force Base, Ariz., taxis to the runway for a training exercise at Nell...
 
 
Army photograph

Army plans intelligence system to be lighter weight, easier to use

Army photograph During a media day, a soldier, with the Army’s intelligence community, demonstrates use of a portion of the Distributed Common Ground System – Army system on Fort Belvoir, Va., May 16, 2013. Future v...
 
 
Navy photograph

Closing the curtain on NAVAIR’s desert depot

An MV-22 gets ready for takeoff following repair at NAVAIR’s Forward Deployed Combat Repair facility in Afghanistan. The FDCR mission ended in June 2014, and was primarily led by NAVAIR reservists with artisans from Fleet...
 

 
navy-F35

F-35C conducts first detachment visit at NAS Lemoore

Navy photograph Sailors and members of the community had the opportunity to observe an F-35C Lightning II aircraft static display at Naval Air Station Lemoore, Calif., April 14. The static display is part of a six-day visit by ...
 
 
Artists rendering courtesy SikorskyBoeing

Army aviation continues efforts for technology development

Artists rendering courtesy Bell Helicopter The tiltrotor V-280 Valor aircraft is Bell Helicopter’s vision of the future as it prepares for flight demonstrations for the Army in 2017. The Army recently extended technology ...
 
 
Courtesy photograph

Air Force announces KC-46A candidate bases

Courtesy photograph The KC-46A Pegasus development program completed its first flight of Engineering, Manufacturing and Development aircraft #1 Dec. 28, 2014. Air Force officials announced April 14 that Tinker Air Force Base, O...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>