Battle Management program executive officer Steven Wert recently declared full deployment of the Mission Planning System Increment IV, Joint Mission Planning System, ushering in a new generation of capabilities for mission planners.
“Now that MPS Increment IV is fully deployed and operational, the warfighter will have enhanced mission planning capabilities, while reducing risk and planning time for fighters, bombers and weapons delivery,” said Wert.
War fighters use mission planning systems for combat and training missions, weapons delivery and airdrops. The systems allow users to collect data such as maps, photos, weather and aircraft performance information. Increment IV provides warfighters with an improved, faster operating computer architecture to execute these missions.
The Airspace Mission Planning Division – an Air Force Life Cycle Management Center team based at Hanscom Air Force Base, Mass. – was the driving force responsible for delivering MPS Increment IV.
According to program officials, the new system enables aircrews to spend more time in the target area with improved stand-off capability keeping Airmen safe while delivering precision guided weapons to exactly the right place.
Using the improved JMPS, field commanders will also have the ability to take on a higher operational tempo and maximize on assets within their area of operations.
“Responsiveness to strategic needs of field commanders and tactical support needs of troops on the ground has taken a big leap,” said Brian Smith, MPS Increment IV integration manager.
The JMPS system received release under Increment IV and is currently equipped on multiple platforms and munitions to include the B-1 Lancer, E-8C Joint STARS, F-15 Strike Eagle, F-16 Fighting Falcon, A-10 Thunderbolt and F-22 Raptor.
At the tactical aircraft squadron level, planning time has been reduced, ranging from 40 to 70 percent, which in turn lowers the turnaround time during daily missions. For example, B-1 bomber crews cut their planning time by 72 percent, from seven hours to less than two. Raptor aircrews are now able to plan missions in less than one hour compared to the two hours it took previously.
Another benefit of the new system includes the latest technology in software.
Enhanced software allows for greater situational awareness on the battlefield and in constantly evolving environments. This capability translates to improved threat reaction time and spending minimal time in hostile areas.
To safeguard JMPS Increment IV software, the system is covered by a new certified protection plan that secures the integrity of the complex computer system. The program protection plan defines what information and components are most critical to the system, its threats, vulnerabilities and how the Service intends to shield the system – an overarching document that covers cybersecurity, supply chain risk management, counterintelligence and other facets.
“The plan gives us something to work from for future mission planning programs,” said Capt. Warren Connell, a mission planning program manager that led the protection plan effort. “We are taking this updated version and expanding on it to ensure that new systems and capabilities coming down the line are secure before we field them.”
With Increment IV fully deployed, the system now enters the sustainment phase.
“Increment IV is the culmination of many years of work in Air Force mission planning,” said Col. Thomas Killeen, who was the chief of Airspace Mission Planning Division at the time of the release. “It was a team effort with multiple players ranging from the Airspace Mission Planning program office, Air Force Materiel Command to the Air Staff. I am grateful to those who made this major milestone happen.”