Fighter connects to DoD’s Global Information Grid for first time in February flight demonstrations

Boeing Phantom Works and the US Air Force Research Laboratory have demonstrated the ability to link a tactical fighter in flight to the Global Information Grid (GIG), the US Department of Defense’s evolving internet-based information-management architecture.

Under the Joint Battlespace Infosphere programme, the February flights demonstrated real-time machine-to-machine data exchange between the GIG and Boeing’s F-15E1 technology demonstrator. “This demonstration validated the Boeing approach of using off-board intelligent agent technology to enable fielded aircraft to operate efficiently in the GIG,” says Phantom Works principal investigator Eric Martens.

The “intelligent agent” software algorithms subscribed to information published on the GIG and autonomously pulled data relevant to the F-15’s simulated mission off the network to be translated into Link 16 messages and datalinked to the fighter. This included locations of friendly forces and unmanned air vehicles, plus target updates.

The demonstration involved pulling information from the GIG, where previously it has been pushed to users. “Before departure, the crew drew up an initial subscription list of the types of information they needed to see. When the information was collected it was published to the platform over Link 16,” says Martens.

The technology will also work with the future Tactical Targeting Network Technology datalink and Joint Tactical Radio System radios, he says. Similar software on the F-15 pulled data on health, fuel status and weapons from its avionics databus to be sent via Link 16 to the GIG and used by ground commanders to retask the fighter. As well as autonomous exchange of information via intelligent agents, the F-15 crew also demonstrated on-demand access to the GIG.

“In real time, the WSO [weapon system officer] was able to request new types of information by defining a query, which was published over Link 16,” says Martens. Using a prototype display to define the query graphically, the rear-seat WSO was able to request an update on UAV positions, he says.


Source: Flight International