Technical report | Net Warrior D10 Technology Report: Airborne Early Warning and Control (AEW&C) and Data Link Nodes
This report discusses the Air Operations Division contribution to the Net Warrior demonstration event NW-D10. NW-D10 was held in September 2010 and demonstrated information interoperability of middleware technologies in dynamic environments with real mission systems. An overview of the NW-D10 event is provided along with a discussion of the technologies demonstrated. The outcomes of NW-D10 are presented and future Net Warrior events and enabling research are outlined.
The Defence Science and Technology Organisation (DSTO) Net Warrior initiative is aligned with the Australian Defence Organisation's (ADO) approach to implementing Network Centric Warfare (NCW) through 'learning by doing'. Net Warrior was conceived to address, through experimentation, new and evolving net centric capabilities and mission system integration technologies to enhance Australian Defence Force's (ADF) joint war fighting capabilities. Net Warrior experimentation is conducted with real systems, testbeds and simulators across DSTO and enables the organisation to provide advice to the ADO regarding the extent to which it needs to consider and implement particular NCW concepts and technologies. This report discusses the Air Operations Division's (AOD) contribution to the Net Warrior demonstration event NW-D10, which supported aspects of tasks CIO 07/042 (Tactical Data Links) and DMO 07/044 (Wedgetail).NW-D10 was held in September 2010 and demonstrated information interoperability of middleware technologies in dynamic environments with real mission systems. It attracted representatives from many parts of the ADO, including Capability Development Group (CDG), Chief Information Officer Group (CIOG), the Defence Materiel Organisation (DMO), Headquarters Joint Operations Command (HQJOC), Surveillance and Response Group (SRG), Air Force Headquarters (AFHQ) and DSTO management.
NW-D10 involved integrating laboratory-based systems that were high fidelity representations containing both operational and simulated elements. These systems were distributed across different buildings and developed for different environments, specifically air, tactical data links, command and control, and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance. The AOD contribution to NW-D10 was the Wedgetail Integration Research Environment (WIRE) and the Airborne Systems Connectivity Environment Laboratory (ASCEL). The WIRE is an AOD capability developed to support Wedgetail Airborne Early Warning and Control (AEW&C) acquisition, in-service support and capability enhancement. It comprises the mission computing operational flight program from Wedgetail, together with a stimulation environment and additional software components developed by AOD. The ASCEL provides a capability to investigate tactical data link integration through the use of commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) equipment for scenario generation, track forwarding, network management, and displaying and recording data.
NW-D10 fostered a small community of cross disciplinary applied research that is of operational significance. It demonstrated a way forward for enhanced situation pictures for Regional Operations Centres (ROC), Wedgetail and other tactical and command and control nodes and generated a multitude of ideas for future collaborative work. The NW-D10 event demonstrated the utility of applying modern middleware technologies to integrate mission and combat systems into a seamless networked informational environment. Systems connected within this networked environment can become aware of and contribute to information that may enhance individual decision support functions. It is when these systems adapt to new information sources that the warfighter, who is becoming increasingly dependant on these systems, can gain a fundamental information advantage over an adversary.
The NW-D10 event involved the integration of a number of technologies and methodologies, including component based systems; service oriented architectures (SOA); middleware architectures, adapters and gateways; frameworks; tactical data links; and visualisation tools. Seamless information interoperability between disparate systems was demonstrated. Achieving this information interoperability was a non-trivial research task that was led by AOD. It required the definition of a common data ontology for information translation and the development of adaptors and gateways used to integrate the flow of information between the systems. The NW-D10 outcomes for AOD were:
- deeper understanding of tactical NCW integration challenges through a 'learning by doing' approach;
- enabling research that developed the understanding of the application of SOA methodologies to the domain to manage complexity, risk and to bridge domains;
- facilitation of systems development and integration via the reuse of system services;
- demonstration to ADO stakeholders of adaptation and integration technologies for seamless information interoperability between disparate tactical and enterprise systems; and
- successful collaboration across multiple divisions to develop and demonstrate NCW concepts using the Net Warrior battlelab network infrastructure.
The AOD Net Warrior community is continuing to investigate the utility of applying modern distributed object computing technologies to the networked systems integration domain. Events in the near future will focus on the integration of testbeds that are representative of airborne mission systems contained on the Wedgetail and Joint Strike Fighter platforms. In support of this, the AOD Net Warrior community has an enabling research program where emerging technologies and capabilities can be evaluated within the context of an informational network of real systems. The emerging technologies that are currently being investigated by AOD are: agent technologies applied to distributed object computing and SOA environments for automated decision support; mobile technologies with a tactical sensor suite and situational communication endpoint; CORBA Component Model architectures for avionics mission systems integration; and distributed mission training to investigate the next generation of air force training systems.