May 02, 2006

Collaborative tools assist initiatives during JEFX '06

5/1/2006 - NELLIS AIR FORCE BASE, Nev. (AFPN) -- The Air Force Command and Control's Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Center sponsored a new collaborative tool that was part of the Joint Expeditionary Force Experiment 2006 here.

The Integrated Battlespace Collaborative Communications tool, known as IBC2, was tested over the new Tactical Targeting Network Technology, or TTNT, network, which was also part of the experiment that ended April 28.

This software brought together new collaborative tools that can be used over an Internet protocol data-link, like TTNT.

“This advanced data-link allows us to use new capabilities to bring information to the warfighter, both in our combat aircraft and in the (Combined Air and Space Operations Center),” said Jim Haseltine, a Defense Advanced Projects Research Agencies TTNT support contractor.

The IBC2 software was loaded on two aircraft participating in the TTNT demonstration -- a B-1 Lancer from the 337th Test and Evaluation Squadron and a B-52 Stratofortress from the 49th TES. The designed intent of the software was to make sharing imagery from an aircraft over a data-link more efficient to save bandwidth on the network, while simultaneously increasing the situational awareness of the CAOC and other platforms in the network.

“This software worked with the (non-traditional) ISR initiative and delivered the (B-1’s) radar data and (B-52’s) video imagery from the aircrafts’ targeting pods directly to a server on the CAOC’s combat operations floor,” said Maj. Simon Corley, NTISR initiative lead.

“The other aircraft and the CAOC could then view the imagery and either use text chat or a whiteboard feature to share information about the imagery," Major Corley said. "IBC2 repeatedly demonstrated the capability to provide NTISR information directly to the CAOC and other aircraft in the airborne network simultaneously. This information will fill current ISR gaps and enhance warfighter situational awareness.”

The IBC2 software also supported the Network-Centric Weather Integration, or NCWI, initiative. It interfaced with the Air Force Weather Agency’s joint weather impacts system server to pull forecasts, weather maps and weapons effects analyses and allowed the bombers to view the information directly from the cockpit while flying their missions.

When aircrews plan missions, they use weather data several hours to several days old, which can change quickly, said Capt. Virginia Diehl, Command and Control ISR NCWI team lead. By using IBC2 and TTNT, NCWI will provide pertinent, real-time weather data directly to the cockpit.

“NCWI’s goal is to give aircrews and warfighters enhanced situational awareness on the effects of weather to their current operations,” Captain Diehl said. “We want to ensure we can provide pertinent environmental impact information to minimize the effects of weather on current operations. This enhances aircrews’ ability to conduct successful operations and gives them real-time, machine-to-machine weather information necessary to put bombs on target.”

(Courtesy of TTNT contractor and NTISR initiative lead)

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