The military believes that micro-electronic devices have great potential and can revolutionize warfare through a large number of expendable, interconnected drones. However, the F-35 error is not intended to recur by creating a single multi-service large program. Washington: How to shrink electronic equipment and red tape at the same time? This is the challenge Jim Faist faces when coordinating frontier research in the service sector.
The Pentagon’s senior function director said: “They must work together.” But you don’t have to work together like the military in the F-35 stealth fighter. In a single program, three variants of the aircraft are being developed for three different services.
He said: “To build a joint planning office, you are building a huge demand verification bureaucracy, and no one is satisfied.” Usually this is not necessary. “Applying the Hypersonics model to electronic warfare. Faist said: “I believe (not the focus) is the joint planning office, but the joint project for specific problems. “Perhaps the most successful thing on my watch is supersonic.” “
The Army’s hypersonic missiles are launched by trucks, while the Navy’s are launched by submarines. Both services use the same slippers (including warheads) and the same rocket boosters. They are just different in packaging. At the same time, the Air Force is seeking more compact hypersonic technology to take off from aircraft based on the same basic technology. Faist is dedicated to the research and technology of the Department of Defense Secretariat, where it helps to promote these basic technologies, prototyping and coordinating the independent efforts of the service sector, playing a support and support role rather than a guiding role.
Faist said: “We are adopting this model, and in electronic warfare… exactly the same.” In addition, he argued: “Once a large planning office is established, only large companies can win.” But for microelectronics and Drones and many other technologies, he said: “You can use many vendors to get cheaper solutions.”
What does this mean for the Pentagon plan? Feist said: “If you have a slightly different version with the Air Force just because they chose a different provider or have slightly different requirements, it really doesn’t matter.” He said: “If you develop the Technology and save money in the RDTE stage”, in terms of the final product of each service, “they need not be the same.”
He told me that the goal is to bring together engineers from different service departments to solve common problems. The top-down control aims to ensure compatibility of the final product, rather than imposing common requirements and procedures at the beginning.
In fact, the work of a single electronic warfare joint planning bureau may be worse than the work of hypersonic or combat personnel. This is because, unlike missiles or aircraft, electronic warfare is not a single platform type: from jets that block surface-to-air missiles to Hummers that block radio-controlled street bombs, all types of platforms increasingly require this capability. .
In addition, modern electronic warfare aims to interfere with the enemy’s signals, but as intelligence eavesdropping on the enemy, and even the communication between friendly forces, it has become increasingly blurred.
As microelectronics technology becomes more and more common, a single active electronic scanning array (such as F-35’s AESA) can send, receive or jam radar pulses and radio messages, and act as sensors, communication devices, mobile cell phone jammer and cyber weapons at the same time. As microelectronics become smaller and smaller, you can place these multifunctional arrays on smaller and smaller platforms-on every plane, drone, robot, ground vehicle, and even every soldier-and then place these microarrays Networking to work together through power supply is beyond the capabilities of a single large system.
Faist said: “We can develop broadband AESA technology, these technologies can immediately perceive SIGINT on the list.” “In the technology we use now, the hardware, physical layer can complete all these multitasking.”
He acknowledged that using this flexibility is a challenge for today’s military procurement organizations. “A service is used to purchase a communication system or a radar system. If you tell them that you have a system that can perform both tasks at the same time, then… how will you get the requirements for the merger?” he asked. “Designing it correctly and implementing it may be the biggest challenge we face.”
Faist believes, but it is worth the effort. Compared with many large dedicated systems, many small multi-purpose systems provide you with some basic advantages.
From a few large and wide spaces to many small and close spaces
He told me that Faist’s career started as a radar designer. In the radar field, people have long recognized the value of so-called multi-static systems. Instead of a large transceiver antenna, you can network many small transmitters to guide their beams, and network many small receivers to combine their data into a large image, just like the way a radio telescope works.
When you combine radio telescopes 5,000 miles apart, their combined resolution is the same as that of a single telescope 5,000 miles in diameter. However, this type of distributed system requires ultra-precise timing and reliable connections, which were not available on the battlefield in the past. Now they are more and more.
With new technology, you can not only do things the old way, but you can also do better. It actually opened up a whole new strategy. Imagine if there are not many pieces that can only move up a few inches, and a queen can move in all directions, then you can move the pieces to different directions, and you will play chess no matter where you want to move the pieces.
Today, the US military relies on so-called low-demand, high-demand systems, such as EC-130H compass calls to disrupt enemy communications, E-8C JSTARS uses radar to track ground targets and E-3 AWACS to track aircraft. These platforms will extract a lot of electromagnetic energy, making it relatively easy for the enemy to find, resist and destroy. And when you are destroyed, it requires a lot of special skills.
Faist said: “Larger platforms are expensive.” “They are big goals.”
On the contrary, if you connect a large number of small systems together, you will get a comparable overall capacity, it is difficult for the enemy to detect a specific node, and if the node is destroyed, the harm is less. This is the logic behind the Air Force’s JSTARS replacement program, which is transformed into an advanced battle management system (ABMS), which attempts to network various sensors and weapons across services-part of the concept of “joint global command and control.”
Yes, if your network goes down, you will be in trouble, and smart opponents will do their best to shut it down. However, large old school platforms also rely on communications that are not affected by cell phone jammers-early warning aircraft that cannot share information with friendly fighter jets are largely useless-and are more vulnerable to destruction. This is because weak signals are more susceptible to interference than strong signals, and radio signals reduce power exponentially with distance: the distance is doubled, and the transmission power is only a quarter. If you expand the range four times, it drops to one sixteenth. Therefore, it is much easier to relay signals with short hops between nodes than to send signals directly over long distances. It means a lot of little things
Faist said: “In general, when you are close to [near], you have a better chance to burn the exit and actually solve the problem of traffic congestion.” “When you reach a longer trunk, such as back to the command node, you Will be more vulnerable to attack.”
How to minimize the amount required for long-distance transfers? You need every node-drone, manned vehicle or soldier-to be able to work as autonomously as possible. Instead of relying on constant high bandwidth and low latency transmission to remote operators, analysts or commanders, it is better to package each node as its own built-in artificial intelligence.
“Our assumption is that we can have a UAS system that has full-rate video, and that video bandwidth is uplinked via satellite communication [satellite communication], and it is downlinked by people using data,” Faist said. “The paradigm must change.” He said: “They are really pushing the development of the latest autonomous solutions based on artificial intelligence.” “When you reach this tactical level…you will be able to afford as many AI-based things as possible .”