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Clearly demonstrated in the recent military deployments in Afghanistan and Iraq, one of the most significant challenges now facing the warfighter is how to seamlessly interface the myriad of disparate stand-alone situational awareness (SA) and close air support (CAS) systems into the DoD's Network Centric Warfare (NCW) infrastructure. This point was recently highlighted in the Secretary of Defense's testimony to the Senate Armed Services Committee. Referring to mission critical shortfalls that occurred during the IRAQ deployment, the Secretary discussed the state of the current warfighting environment (Rumsfeld and Franks, 2003). Although tremendous progress has been made in the integration of new and emerging technologies and their applications on the battlefield, there is still a significant lack of interoperability between various communication systems. To address these battlespace management environment issues, Raytheon Technical Services Company's Engineering and Production Support facility underwent a product development effort to provide a network centric interoperability demonstration for CAS. This demonstration utilized various Raytheon-fielded SA and CAS products in a representative CAS scenario interfacing to variable message format (VMF) based data links. This paper addresses the systems and software issues encountered during this successful demonstration of CAS battlespace connectivity. This presentation will also discuss lessons learned during our product development from both a systems and a software engineering perspective.
Date of Publication: Sept. 2004