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.


 
 

 

Headlines August 28, 2015

Business: Rafale, Mistral on agenda for Le Drian in Malaysia, India¬†– French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian is due to visit Malaysia Aug. 30, with talks expected to cover the Rafale fighter jet and Mistral helicopter carrier, website La Tribune reported. U.S. Army to choose new landing craft next year¬†– In line with the Pentagon’s...
 
 

News Briefs August 28, 2015

Boeing plans to lay off some Southern California workers Boeing has announced that it plans to lay off employees at its Southern California-based satellite division. The Los Angeles Times reports that the aerospace giant said Aug. 25 that it will lay off as many as several hundred employees at the El Segundo factory. Boeing says...
 
 

Special tactics Airmen killed in hostile incident

Two special tactics airmen, who were deployed in support of Operation Freedom’s Sentinel, were killed near Camp Antonik, Afghanistan, Aug. 26. Capt. Matthew D. Roland, 27, and SSgt. Forrest B. Sibley, 31, were at a vehicle checkpoint when two individuals wearing Afghan National Defense and Security Forces uniforms opened fire on them. NATO service members...
 

 

Hurricane Hunters to fly Tropical Storm Erika

The Air Force Reserve Hurricane Hunters are operating out of Homestead Air Reserve Base, Fla., flying their state-of-the-art WC-130J Super Hercules into Tropical Storm Erika in support of the National Hurricane Center in Miami. The 53rd Weather Reconnaissance Squadron flew four missions into the tropical storm from their deployed location at St. Croix in the...
 
 
LM-MUOS

U.S. Navy, Lockheed Martin ready to launch MUOS-4 Aug. 31

The U.S. Navy and Lockheed Martin are ready to launch the fourth Mobile User Objective System secure communications satellite, MUOS-4, from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla., Aug. 31 aboard a United Launch Alliance Atlas V...
 
 

Pentagon probing alleged distorting of war intelligence

The Pentagon’s inspector general is investigating an allegation that the military command overseeing the anti-Islamic State campaign distorted or altered intelligence assessments to exaggerate progress against the militant group, a defense official said Aug. 26. The official was not authorized to discuss the probe publicly and so spoke on condition of anonymity. The investigation was...
 




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=""> <s> <strike> <strong>