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Network centric interoperability-using a Variable Message Format (VMF) based data-link to improve situational awareness and Close Air Support (CAS)

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2 Author(s)

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 highlighted in the Secretary of Defense's testimony to the Senate Armed Services Committee on 9 July of this year. Referring to mission critical shortfalls that occurred during the IRAQ deployment, the Secretary discussed the state of the current warfighting environment. Although tremendous progress has been made in the integration of new and emerging technologies and their application 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 will address the systems and software issues that were 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.

Published in:

Digital Avionics Systems Conference, 2003. DASC '03. The 22nd  (Volume:2 )

Date of Conference:

12-16 Oct. 2003