News from Washington

Military Exercise Demonstrates Wide Area Communications Potential

As reported in Defense Daily, the first phase of the Extending the Littoral Battlespace Advanced Concept Technology Demonstration (ELB ACTD) has demonstrated the potential for military forces to share a common operational picture at a distance exceeding 200 miles. Such a picture is essential to achieving the Navy and Marine Corps concepts of Operational Maneuver from the Sea and Ship to Objective Maneuver, which involve striking deep inland targets without establishing onshore logistics bases. The potential of the ELB ACTD appears to be great. A dismounted soldier with a palmtop computer and a computer card may be able to share his view of a battle with ships offshore as well as vehicles such as tanks and high mobility multipurpose wheeled vehicles. The wide area wireless battlenet (the Warnet) extended from 100 nautical miles off of Camp Pendleton, CA to the Marine Corps Air Station in Yuma, AZ -- a distance of more than 250 miles. The littoral battlespace was extended without dependence on tactical satellite/satellite communications, and the speed of ground units did not disrupt communications. However, the assessment noted some problems during the demonstration's second phase when the system did not work at full capability at all times.

General Dynamics, the prime contractor for the ELB ACTD, has conducted Phase I: Major System Demonstration 1 with participation from Navy, Marine Corps and Army units as part of the Joint Exercise Kernel Blitz 99. Also involved in the exercise were the USS Coronado (AGF-11), the USS John Paul Jones (DDG-53) and the amphibious ship USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD-6) as well as P-3C Orion and commercial aircraft, which served as airborne relays of the operational picture. Phase II: Major System Demonstration 2 is scheduled to take place in the spring of 2001.

Raytheon to Develop Next-generation Multifunction Radar

Raytheon Co. has been awarded a $140 M contract by the US Navy for engineering and manufacturing development of the next-generation Multifunction Radar (MFR), which will equip future aircraft carriers and destroyers. Under the terms of the 60-month, section 845, cost-plus-award-fee contract, Raytheon will develop the MFR prototype radar and qualify it through operational tests. Following qualification, the MFR is scheduled for integration into CVN-77, DD-21 and a number of other 21st-century ship classes. Total production is expected to exceed 45 systems. Engineering and production of the MFR will be performed at Raytheon facilities in Andover, MA; Forest, MS; and Dallas, TX.

Free Flight Trials Evaluate ADS-B and CDTI Technology

On July 10 the Cargo Airline Association (CAA) conducted an operational evaluation of Automatic Dependent Surveillance Broadcast (ADS-B) and Cockpit Display of Traffic Information (CDTI) technology. ADS-B and CDTI are considered essential elements of Communications, Navigation, Surveillance/Air Traffic Management (CNS/ATM), also known as Free Flight. The operational evaluation was intended to help validate many concepts being studied to enhance aircraft surveillance, separation assurance and situational awareness and to create the interface between aircraft and air traffic control under CNS/ATM initiatives. In the CAA operational evaluation, the principal contribution of ADS-B was the technology that enabled CDTI to provide situational awareness with broadcast of highly accurate, GPS-derived latitude, longitude, altitude, velocity and status information to other aircraft and ground stations within a range of approximately 100 nautical miles.

Rockwell Collins participated in the evaluation and flew its Sabreliner test aircraft equipped with a modified transponder to transmit ADS-B signals in the 1090 MHz band and a modified traffic alert collision avoidance system (TCAS) to receive ADS-B signals in the 1090 MHz band from other aircraft. The TCAS retained its full collision avoidance capability in addition to acting as an ADS-B receiver. Approximately 24 aircraft participated in the evaluation, including those from the Federal Aviation Administration Technical Center, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration and the CAA.

ERAAMplus Offered to BVRAAM Program

Raytheon Systems Ltd., a unit of Raytheon Co., has announced plans to offer the Extended Range Air-to-air Missile Plus (ERAAMplus) as part of an unprecedented cooperative program to develop the next-generation Beyond Visual Range Air-to-air Missile (BVRAAM). ERAAMplus is a missile variant that incorporates the latest technology available from the Advanced Medium Range Air-to-air Missile (AMRAAM) Pre-planned Product Improvement (P3I) Phase 3 program, which is currently under development by Raytheon in the US. The BVRAAM and AMRAAM P3I program will provide a long-term partnership that will allow the US and UK to jointly develop and produce a world-class air-to-air missile. The new missile system will equip current- and future-generation fighter aircraft, including the EuroFighter, Joint Strike Fighter and F-22 (the US Air Force's next-generation fighter).

If the UK Ministry of Defence selects Raytheon's approach for its BVRAAM requirement, the US and UK governments will work to develop a new missile that satisfies both governments' requirements. The cooperative program will strengthen UK missile capability and give European companies access to the US market. Initially the program will provide the UK with 62 percent of development, production and jobs as well as 50 percent of the larger US air-to-air market. In addition, the ERAAMplus approach is estimated to save at least £450 M and could create or sustain more than 3000 jobs in the UK with exports.

Special Operations Acquisition Strategy for EW Examined

The General Accounting Office (GAO) has released a report, "Army Special Operations Acquisition Strategy for Improved Equipment is Sound" (GAO/NSIAD-99-189), which determines the soundness of the US Special Operations Command's (USSOCOM) acquisition strategy for aircraft electronic warfare (EW) systems. The report describes USSOCOM's acquisition strategy to upgrade or replace aircraft survivability equipment that is operationally deficient and may be unable to defeat future threat systems and leverage ongoing regular Army programs to maximize commonality with regular Army aircraft. USSOCOM was created in 1986 to ensure that special operations forces were combat ready, and a Major Force Program-11 (MFP-11) was implemented to ensure adequate funding of USSOCOM and provide for the acquisition of special operations-peculiar equipment. The report notes that USSOCOM's acquisition strategy is sound and will allow for optimal use of MFP-11 funds.

In addition, operational deficiencies and future threats are confirmed by test reports, threat documentation and requirements documents. The Command's acquisition strategy is intended to procure the Army's most advanced aircraft survivability equipment - the Suite of Integrated Radio Frequency Countermeasures (SIRFC) and the Suite of Integrated Infrared Countermeasures (SIIRCM) - to minimize vulnerability to the most modern radar-guided and infrared missile threats. The Command also plans to acquire some special operations-peculiar system upgrades with MFP-11 funds to provide an improved interim capability until the two common suites are ready to be fielded. SIRFC will replace existing radar warning receivers and radar jammers on the Command's Blackhawk and Chinook helicopters; SIIRCM will replace existing missile approach detectors, countermeasure sets and general-purpose chaff and flare dispensers on the aircraft.