The U.S. Air Force and Northrop Grumman have successfully completed the preliminary design review for the Air Operations Center Weapon System program.
The successful review allows the AOC WS program to enter the detailed design phase.
The program modernizes the Air Force’s essential operational-level command and control centers to increase operational effectiveness and reduce costs. The Defense Department considers these C2 centers a weapon system vital to the national interest and the AOC modernization program represents a major leap in aerospace C2.
The in-depth review, conducted at Northrop Grumman’s AOC WS warfighter test and integration laboratory in Newport News, Va., served as a forum for the Air Force, Northrop Grumman and its teammates to review and approve the preliminary design. Additionally, Northrop Grumman delivered a prototype system built upon a service-oriented open architecture to highlight the future AOC environment and demonstrate the concept of rapid and affordable development and integration.
“Our collaboration with the Air Force accomplished an important risk-reduction activity and verified our ability to quickly and affordably deliver critical capabilities to warfighters. We also showcased the architectural foundation that will enable essential new C2 applications and war fighting concepts unachievable with closed systems,” said Mike Twyman, vice president and general manager of the Defense Systems division for Northrop Grumman Information Systems. “AOC modernization through a truly open systems approach will significantly reduce life cycle costs and enable the Air Force’s future operational concepts.”
Northrop Grumman demonstrated the potential for integrated air and missile defense, dynamic network management and dynamic planning utilizing the enormous capabilities of fifth-generation aircraft and sensors. The company showed next-generation user experience featuring machine-to-machine automation, collaborative workflows and enhanced visualization of mission-critical information to generate speed of command not possible with legacy systems. The increase in combat capability was demonstrated in the dynamic targeting process, one of several AOC mission threads used during the design effort.
“Effective air, space and cyberspace operations depend on integrated effects across the joint force. The key is command and control, and the modernized AOC provides warfighters with the secure, flexible and agile C2 capabilities necessary for meeting the security challenges of the future,” Twyman said.
In conjunction with the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center, Hanscom Air Force Base, Mass., Northrop Grumman will modernize the AOC by developing a secure, streamlined computing environment for legacy and stove-piped systems. The common computing environment will reduce manual information sharing between systems and decrease information technology footprint thereby lowering total ownership costs. AOC modernization will also accelerate the integration of new applications and enable flexibility to deliver modular, mission-tailorable capabilities to warfighters.
The AOC gives the Air Force an enhanced operational-level command and control capability for use in every operational theater. It provides the Joint Force Air Component commander with the core capability to plan, task and execute theater-wide operations in the air, space and cyber domains.