The Officer January/February 2011 : Page 86

Star S induStry newS standinG toGether For aMericas reserVists Jeanne Kouhestani • associate editor CommuniCation revolution Northrop Grumman’s BACN system spurs interoperability among a variety of platforms. warfighter on the ground, separated from his unit, finds himself surrounded by the enemy. It’s only a matter of minutes before his position is discovered. His situation appears hopeless. He picks up his radio and calls into a communications node 45,000 feet above the earth, His situation and position are then relayed to an Air Force fighter jet operating nearby. Minutes later, the jet appears and launches a missile with pinpoint accuracy on its first pass, taking out enemy combatants while avoiding friendly ones. The warfighter escapes amid the ensuing panic. This scenario is hypothetical, but possible. Much as the Internet has radically altered how we connect with each other and exchange information across the globe, a new Internet protocol-based technology developed by Northrop Grumman Corp. for the U.S. Air Force is revolutionizing how the military communicates in the field and plans its day-to-day operations. The Battlefield Airborne Communications Node (BACN) makes communication possible across varied services, units, vehicles, and equipment. A Marine Corps commander in the field can use his radio to contact an Army convoy, which uses a different communications system, on the other side of a mountain. A Special Operations unit can contact the cockpit of a fighter plane for targeting information. A warfighter in a foxhole could potentially contact the Pentagon should the situation warrant it. BACN picks up and transmits the call through its airborne payload with the clarity of a landline connected to the neighbor next door. The system is all about interoperability and seamless communication. Roger Fujii, Northrop Grumman Information System’s vice president for Network Communications Systems, Defense Systems Division, likens BACN’s capabilities to a cell phone system that operates among different manufacturers, providers, and protocols. 86 the “The Battlefield Airborne Communications Node (BACN) makes communication possible across varied services, units, vehicles, and equipment. “ “We take all those disparate radios and devices that are out there today, as well as satellite communication links, and through our special software and algorithms and logic, we can take that information and normalize the type of data as we push it to another device that has another protocol and different frequency, he said. “The users never even notice—all they know is they are now connected.” One caller can’t tell what the other user is using—whether the phone is old or new, or even whether the call is being received nearby or far away. The software used in the system makes the transmission seamless by compensating for the differences. BACN blends existing and new technologies that operate to Internet protocol standards. “What we’ve done is create the magic in the BACN Airborne Executive Processor, which interrelates all these things together so legacy devices [radios] can connect with new devices and technologies,” Mr. Fujii said. BACN’s ability to interconnect disparate voice and data systems has resulted in significant improvements in operational command, control, and communications; situational awareness; and targeting effectiveness, according to officials at the Air Force Electronic Systems Center at Hanscom AFB, Mass., where the program is managed. The high-altitude BACN mission is closing a critical, urgent gap and allowing joint forces to maneuver and concentrate air and land forces. Officials further referred to it as a proven synergistic force-multiplier that has shortened the kill chain and ultimately saved lives of coalition forces. The BACN concept is the brainchild of Gen John Jumper, USAF (Ret.), then chief of staff for the Air Force, Mr. Fujii said. The war in Iraq highlighted the weakest link in communications: the lack of capability for United States and coalition forces to talk to each other. Radio communication O fficer / J anuary –f ebruary 2011

Stars Industry News

Jeanne Kouhestani

CommuniCation revolution<br /> <br /> Northrop Grumman’s BACN system spurs interoperability among a variety of platforms.<br /> <br /> Awarfighter on the ground, separated from his unit, finds himself surrounded by the enemy. It’s only a matter of minutes before his position is discovered. His situation appears hopeless. He picks up his radio and calls into a communications node 45,000 feet above the earth, His situation and position are then relayed to an Air Force fighter jet operating nearby. Minutes later, the jet appears and launches a missile with pinpoint accuracy on its first pass, taking out enemy combatants while avoiding friendly ones. The warfighter escapes amid the ensuing panic.<br /> <br /> This scenario is hypothetical, but possible. Much as the Internet has radically altered how we connect with each other and exchange information across the globe, a new Internet protocol-based technology developed by Northrop Grumman Corp. for the U. S. Air Force is revolutionizing how the military communicates in the field and plans its day-to-day operations.<br /> <br /> The Battlefield Airborne Communications Node (BACN) makes communication possible across varied services, units, vehicles, and equipment. A Marine Corps commander in the field can use his radio to contact an Army convoy, which uses a different communications system, on the other side of a mountain. A Special Operations unit can contact the cockpit of a fighter plane for targeting information. A warfighter in a foxhole could potentially contact the Pentagon should the situation warrant it. BACN picks up and transmits the call through its airborne payload with the clarity of a landline connected to the neighbor next door. The system is all about interoperability and seamless communication.<br /> <br /> Roger Fujii, Northrop Grumman Information System’s vice president for Network Communications Systems, Defense Systems Division, likens BACN’s capabilities to a cell phone system that operates among different manufacturers, providers, and protocols.<br /> <br /> “We take all those disparate radios and devices that are out there today, as well as satellite communication links, and through our special software and algorithms and logic, we can take that information and normalize the type of data as we push it to another device that has another protocol and different frequency, he said. “The users never even notice—all they know is they are now connected.” <br /> <br /> One caller can’t tell what the other user is using—whether the phone is old or new, or even whether the call is being received nearby or far away. The software used in the system makes the transmission seamless by compensating for the differences.<br /> <br /> BACN blends existing and new technologies that operate to Internet protocol standards. “What we’ve done is create the magic in the BACN Airborne Executive Processor, which interrelates all these things together so legacy devices [radios] can connect with new devices and technologies,” Mr. Fujii said.<br /> <br /> BACN’s ability to interconnect disparate voice and data systems has resulted in significant improvements in operational command, control, and communications; situational awareness; and targeting effectiveness, according to officials at the Air Force Electronic Systems Center at Hanscom AFB, Mass., where the program is managed.<br /> <br /> The high-altitude BACN mission is closing a critical, urgent gap and allowing joint forces to maneuver and concentrate air and land forces. Officials further referred to it as a proven synergistic force-multiplier that has shortened the kill chain and ultimately saved lives of coalition forces.<br /> <br /> The BACN concept is the brainchild of Gen John Jumper, USAF (Ret.), then chief of staff for the Air Force, Mr. Fujii said. The war in Iraq highlighted the weakest link in communications: the lack of capability for United States and coalition forces to talk to each other. Radio communication among services was limited by line of sight (ability to carry beyond a certain point) and incompatible systems. Gen Jumper wanted Air Force tankers and cargo planes already flying in conflict zones to relay information to warfighters on the ground as well as enable aircraft to communicate with Navy ships.<br /> <br /> Gen Donald J. Hoffman, USAF, then military deputy in the Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Acquisition, as well as Lt Gen Ted Bowlds and Col Cordell DeLaPena (former and current commanders, respectively) of the Electronic Systems Center, were the driving forces behind turning the vision into reality, Mr. Fujii said. The Air Force issued a request for proposal, and Northrop Grumman was awarded the contract. “Northrop Grumman, in San Diego, has always been one of the premier companies in terms of tactical data links and also the interoperability of tactical data links,” Mr. Fujii said. “We have a long history of having the staff and core knowledge of how tactical data links work and how interoperability works. So we built this system for Gen Jumper.” <br /> <br /> The first BACN iteration was called ROBE (roll on, roll off, beyond line of sight) and was delivered to the Air Force for substantiation. “Once it got out there in the field, the tanker crews providing vital refueling said that, for the first time, they were able to see the full air-situational-awareness picture,” Mr. Fujii said. “And we continued to invest on our own to build on all that.” Additional contracts have led to development of expanded capabilities in what is now BACN.<br /> <br /> BACN, aboard a NASA WB-57 highaltitude aircraft, was rolled out in 2006 with two experiments—one civilian and one military. The first was a simulated earthquake disaster response scenario carried out near Los Angeles, where Marine Corps and Air Force service members, firemen, police, emergency workers, public safety personnel, and the command center joined forces. Using their regular equipment— which usually can’t communicate with different systems—these emergency responders were able to successfully coordinate their efforts through BACN. In the second experiment, called the Joint Expeditionary Force Experiment, BACN was one of eight new and emerging technology initiatives tested. The BACN flight tests proved the capability to provide, in operational conditions, fully secured critical digital battlefield and voice information directly to airborne and ground units and command centers.<br /> <br /> “That’s the real beauty and magic of BACN. We can take all of these different radios and services and interconnect them so they can now be interoperable without modifying any of the existing radios or devices,” Mr. Fujii said. “That’s the key word: interoperability.” <br /> <br /> The BACN system was subsequently installed on three BD- 700 business jets in support of U.S. Central Command warfighter requirements. The success of the BACN payload has resulted in an urgent need to retain and expand the capability in-theater. Confirmed operational results through September 2010 include more than 1,000 operational BACN missions and 8,500-plus flight hours, with an extreme time reduction for ground units to establish communications with close air-support aircraft, and an unsurpassed increase in mission results, officials said. The Air Force plans to deploy it aboard other platforms.<br /> <br /> Although the system could potentially be fully automated, the military currently controls who can connect to BACN through Northrop Grumman’s management system. “Right now they tell us who they want us to connect and we basically set up a directory to allow this radio to connect to that radio,” Mr. Fujii said. He added that the decision on who should be connected is usually made during a communication operations briefing the day before a major mission begins.<br /> <br /> “The warfighters plan around the BACN system. For the first time, a very sophisticated communications system is now the centralized hub of how military operations are going to function. Now they know they have certain communications links and can fight more effectively knowing they have those links,” Mr. Fujii said. “Effectively, we are supplying an information pipeline to warfighters so they can get whatever they want whenever they want.” <br /> <br /> BACN can be installed on any kind of vehicle on the ground or in the air, but is limited by the number of antennas that can be placed on the platform. Similar antennas that are too close to each other get interference, so the bigger the platform, the better. Ground platforms can also host the BACN gateway system for communications within their tactical environment, which is limited by terrain and line of sight connectivity. Aircraft can be linked, so data from fighter jets can be transmitted to non-stealthy aircraft, such as the E-3 AWACs, allowing these aircraft to have an improved picture of the battlefield. The ultimate beneficiary is the warfighter.<br /> <br /> BACN may be the forerunner to what the military is now envisioning as a joint aerial layered network, an umbrella of different communication paths and management systems that would move information across any theater no matter what assets the warfighters are using, Mr. Fujii said. The BACN gateway system could be put on the ground, where line of sight is limited, then move up to a helicopter (lower) level, then cargo plane (mid) level, then unmanned aircraft (high) level, then space. Should a satellite be lost for any reason, information could still be moved across the theater of operations through this network.<br /> <br /> BACN’s interoperability has broader applications than combat situations, as the successful 2006 disaster response experiment in California proved. For example, sensors monitoring the flow of spilled oil from the British Petroleum disaster could have been hooked into BACN to provide a continuous data stream or video feed to any communication device. Northrop Grumman explored this; however, all BACN assets were deployed in military operations at the time. The system can be installed on an aircraft in a couple of hours, but the cost to civilian agencies to keep BACN on hand as a preparedness measure may be too high in these tight economic times, Mr. Fujii said.<br /> <br /> “You could literally have it [BACN] take off on a moment’s notice if it’s on a jet and get over an area and have instant coverage,” he said. “National Guard units in the major states are naturals for taking on this mission as well as, if they need to leave, being able to take that asset and deploy it in a regular warfare situation.” <br /> <br /> The successful performance of BACN has generated joint awards for Northrop Grumman’s Defense Systems Division and its team and the Air Force’s Electronic Systems Center:<br /> <br /> • The 2010 Network Centric Warfare Award for Outstanding Achievement from a Defense Industry Partner, from the Institute for Defense and Government Advancement<br /> <br /> • The Weapon Systems Award, from the Order of Daedalians, a national fraternity of military pilots<br /> <br /> • Top five DoD Program Award, as selected by DoD and the National Defense Industrial Association<br /> <br /> • The Aviation Week and Space Technology Military Laureate Award<br /> <br /> Lockheed Martin Delivers First Production Super Galaxy <br /> <br /> Lockheed Martin completed delivery of the first production C-5M Super Galaxy at a ceremony in Marietta on Sept. 30. The C-5M program calls for Lockheed Martin to modernize a total of 52 C-5s: 49 B-, two C-, and one A-model aircraft through the Reliability Enhancement and Re-Engining Program (RERP). The program incorporates more than 70 changes and upgrades, including newer, quieter General Electric engines making the C-5M more reliable and 10 percent more fuel efficient than legacy C-5s. The Super Galaxy is the only U.S. strategic airlifter capable of flying unrefueled directly from the U.S. to any area of operations. The C-5 can carry twice the cargo of other strategic airlift systems and is the only strategic airlifter capable of carrying 100 percent of certified air-transportable cargo. Lockheed Martin Receives Systems Engineering Excellence Award Lockheed Martin Receives Systems Engineering Excellence Award <br /> <br /> In addition, The Department of Defense (DoD) and National Defense Industrial Association awarded Lockheed Martin a Top 5 DoD Program Award, given annually for excellence in systems engineering. They honored Lockheed Martin’s Defense Readiness Reporting System–Army (DRRS–A) program for its illustrated engineering excellence, rapid development approaches, risk management, and comprehensive reviews. The Lockheed Martin team successfully transitioned the standalone solution to a robust Web-enabled software suite through user-developer collaboration. The Top 5 DoD Program Awards for 2009 recognize highly successful programs that illustrate benefits from systems engineering best practices, including system technical baseline control and the integration of technical and program management processes.<br /> <br /> USAA and TriWest Earn Top Honors <br /> <br /> Military Spouse magazine in the fall of 2010 released its fourth annual list in recognizing the most successful companies in hiring and recruiting from the talent pool of 1.1 million spouses of military troops—93 percent of whom are women. With 1,686 military spouses in its ranks, USAA offers special programs to support the unique circumstances military spouses face, earning the company its second consecutive year at the top of the list. Between 15 and 20 percent of the 1,800 employees with TriWest Healthcare Alliance are military spouses, earning it the No. 2 position on the list. Top companies were selected from a pool of approximately 2,500 that earned a minimum of #1 billion in annual revenues. Companies were evaluated on their efforts to recruit military spouses, results in recruiting them, and policies affecting them. <br /> <br /> DRS Technologies Partners with Allison Transmission on Power Train Technology <br /> <br /> DRS Technologies recently announced a partnership with Allison Transmission Inc. (ATI) to provide on-board vehicle power (OBVP) on a variety of military platforms.<br /> <br /> The introduction of more electronic devices and systems has resulted in a dramatic growth in the military’s on-board vehicle electrical power requirements. The DRS/ATI OBVP system provides additional power and high performing, reliable, and cost effective means of on-board power generation.<br /> <br /> This collaboration brings state-of-the-art technology to the warfighter by delivering advanced power train technology along with the on-board power needed to enable crew survivability and force protection.<br /> <br /> Both ATI and DRS have a long history of supporting the warfighter and together have designed, developed, and produced the transmission integral generator to provide soldiers the electrical power necessary to enable technological capabilities that maintain and enhance superiority in combat.<br /> <br /> Boeing Introduces DataMaster 5.0 <br /> <br /> Boeing announced the introduction of DataMaster 5.0, a software system with full-motion video capability that will enable defense and intelligence community customers to better manage vast amounts of intelligence to meet their missions and counter global threats.<br /> <br /> The goal of the system’s video management and exploitation is to extend the “half-life” of the video. It catalogues and organizes the video to give analysts the full benefit of the information gathered for their intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) missions.<br /> <br /> The DataMaster geospatial-information imagery management system has assisted decision-makers for more than 18 years. Version 5.0’s full-motion video capability improves how users store, catalog, and retrieve video, in addition to imagery, maps, and terrain data—all managed in a single system.<br /> <br /> Northrop Grumman Corporation supports the Air Force Reserve with state-of-the-art products such as LITENING AT for precision targeting on the F-16, A-10, and B-52; APN-241 radars for the C-130s; V-9 radars for the F-16s; Large Aircraft Infrared Countermeasures for the C-130s, C-5s, and C-17s; and Joint Threat Emitters for Training. Northrop Grumman...defining the future! (www.northropgrumman.com)<br /> <br /> Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Co., a business area of Lockheed Martin, is a leader in the design, research and development, systems integration, production, and support of advanced military aircraft and related technologies. Its customers include the military services of the United States and allied countries throughout the world. Products include the F-16, F-22, F-117, C-5, C-130 & 130J, P-3, S-3, and U-2. (www.lockheedmartin.com)<br /> <br /> USAA, a diversified financial services group of companies, provides insurance, banking, investment, and retirement products and services to 7.3 million members of the U.S. military and their families. Known for its legendary commitment to exceptional member service, USAA is consistently recognized for its outstanding service, employee well-being, and financial strength. USAA membership is open to all who have honorably served our nation in the U.S. military. Visit USAA’s website to learn more. (www.usaa.com)<br /> <br /> TriWest Healthcare Alliance partners with the Department of Defense (DoD) to provide access to cost-effective, high-quality health care for 2.8 million members of America’s military family in the 21-state Tricare West Region. TriWest is the largest DoD contractor based in Arizona and has more than 1,900 employees—about half of whom are military dependents or veterans. (www.triwest.com)<br /> <br /> DRS Technologies, headquartered in Parsippany, N. J., is a leading supplier of integrated products, services, and support to military forces, intelligence agencies, and prime contractors worldwide. The company is a wholly owned subsidiary of Finmeccanica S.p.A., which employs more than 73,000 people worldwide. (www.drs.com)<br /> <br /> The Boeing Company is the world’s largest aerospace company, with leading products and services in commercial and military aircraft and space and communications. Boeing military products include fighters, bombers, tankers, transports, and helicopters, along with missiles, homeland security, advanced information, communications, and space systems. Military aerospace support also provides maintenance and upgrades to all these systems. Boeing products are in use in 145 countries. (www.boeing.com)<br /> <br /> Booz Allen Hamilton, a global strategy and technology consulting firm, works with clients to deliver results that endure. Booz Allen provides services to major international corporations and government clients around the world. Functional areas of expertise include strategy, organization and change leadership, operations, information technology, and technology management. (www.boozallen.com)<br /> <br /> Oshkosh Defense, a division of Oshkosh Corporation, is an industry-leading global designer and manufacturer of tactical military trucks and armored wheeled vehicles, delivering a full product line of conventional and hybrid vehicles, advanced armor options, proprietary suspensions, and vehicles with payloads that can exceed 70 tons. (www.oshkoshdefense.com)<br /> <br /> Delta Dental of California has partnered with DoD since 1998 to administer the Tricare Retiree Dental Program (TRDP). The TRDP is the only voluntary group dental benefits plan authorized by the U.S. government for uniformed services retirees and their families, including gray-area retirees. The TRDP provides comprehensive coverage to more than 1.1 million enrollees worldwide. (www.trdp.org)<br /> <br /> For more than a decade, Logistics Management Resources Inc. has provided award-winning, cost-effective services to all areas of automated logistics support services. LMR, an employeeand veteran-owned small business, provides logistics management support services to DoD and all Army components with expertise in maintenance, supply, transportation, deployment, aviation logistics, materiel readiness, and training development. (www.lmr-inc.com)<br /> <br /> Daimler Trucks North America provides a full line of Freightliner and Western Star transportation to the U.S. government: military trucks, AAFES vehicles, and GSA medium and heavy duty trucks. DTNA currently provides the M915A5 6x4 line haul tractor, the M916A3 6x6 light equipment transporter, and the M917A2 6x6 20T dump truck to the U.S. Army. (www.daimler-trucksnorthamerica.com/govt/)<br /> <br /> Humana Military Healthcare Services is a Department of Defense (DoD) contractor for the administration of the Tricare program in the South Region of the United States and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico. Humana Military’s mission is to work collaboratively with its DoD partners in the delivery of high-quality, cost-effective, accessible health care services to the military population Humana serves. (www.Humana-military.com)<br /> <br /> Bonner & Associates is the nation’s premier grassroots organizing firm. For more than 25 years, it has successfully built grassroots support for issues such as funding for the B-2 stealth bomber, Seawolf submarine, and the National Missile Defense Program. Bonner & Associates is proud to have worked for the Veterans of Foreign Wars and other organizations focused on this country’s national security. (www.bonnerandassociates.com)

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