Categories  Air Systems ISR

New AWACS Data Fusion Processing and EW Improvements

The article summarized here appeared on http://spendergast.blogspot.be/ and includes a global survey of the E-3 Sentry program.

 AWACS upgrade achieves initial operational capability – U.S. Air Force 

The commander of Air Combat Command, Gen. Mike Hostage, declared initial operational capability for the 552nd Air Control Wing’s E-3G Sentry, an Airborne Warning and Control System Block 40/45 aircraft, July 28.

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E-3G—This designation is applied to Block 40/45 upgraded aircraft. As of February 2012, two aircraft have been modified with entire fleet conversion planned by 2020. This is the most comprehensive upgrade in E-3 program history. Block 40/45 upgrades enhances tracking and combat identification capabilities, enhance mission effectiveness, improve mission system reliability, and lower life-cycle costs. Upgrades include a new mission computer system, using an open architecture with 50 computers and 24 software products and automated processes to greatly reduce operator workload; new operator consoles; improved electronic support measures (ESM) passive surveillance capability; and full next generation IFF. Block 40/45 IOC is scheduled for the fall of 2014.

The Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) provides a highly mobile, flexible, survivable theater Battle Management, Wide Area Surveillance, and Command and Control (C2) capability. It is capable of detecting, identifying, and tracking airborne and maritime targets at extended ranges as well as identifying air/ground emitters. AWACS can relay “ big picture ” information to C2 agencies and friendly aircraft. AWACS provides worldwide response to situations requiring immediate on – scene C2/BM using embedded real – time surveillance for employment of US and allied combat air forces. AWACS is critical to gaining and maintaining battle – space air superiority. AWACS coordinates with both tactical and C2 assets in theater to execute the air mission.

The AWACS Block 40/45 Upgrade Program is the largest modification in US AWACS history and represents the critical foundation and baseline system required for all future AWACS enterprise modifications including net – centric operations.

The AWACS Block 40/45 Upgrade provides a single target/single track capability with an improved human – machine interface for time – critical targeting designed to increase combat effectiveness and reduce fratricide.

The AWACS Block 40/45 Upgrade Program includes

  • Electronic Support Measures sensor data processing upgrade;
  • Multi-Source Integration [(Objective =Threshold)All target data shall be correlated, fused, and integrated into a single track];
  • Net Ready [a Data Link Infrastructure with prioritized data link bandwidth management for Link 16/Link 11];
  • new battle management tools;
  • capability to parse, allow user access to, and integrate Air Control Order/Air Tasking Order data; and
  • enhanced mission and console recording capabilities
  • System must fully support execution of all activities identified in joint and system integrated architectures.
  • 1) DISR mandated GIG IT standards and profiles identified in the TV-1.
  • 2) DISR mandated GIG KIPs identified in the KIP declaration table.
  • 3) Net – Centric Operations and Warfare Reference Model Enterprise Services.
  • 4) IA requirements and issuance of an ATO by the DAA.
  • 5)  Operationally – effective information exchanges and mission critical performance specified in the applicable joint and system integrated architecture views
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FY 2014 DoD Program:

FY 2014 provides funds in the amount of $154.3 million for modifications and spares for E-3 Sentry AWACS aircraft. The primary modification budgeted in FY14 is the Block 40/45 Upgrade (more info under FY 2015 below).

FY 2015 DoD Program:

FY 2015 provides funds in the amount of $179.7 million for modifications and spares for E-3 Sentry AWACS aircraft. The primary modification budgeted in FY14 is the Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) Block 40/45 modification. AWACS Block 40/45 modification upgrades legacy E-3 mission systems computers, display processors, and displays to provide critical support to Air Force Battle Management Command and Control (BM/C2) missions. It provides the foundation required for all future AWACS enterprise modifications through a customized implementation of Commercial Off The Shelf (COTS) hardware with a software intensive architecture. The AWACS Block 40/45 Upgrade also provides a single target/single track capability with an improved human-machine interface for time-critical targeting designed to increase combat effectiveness and reduce fratricide. The AWACS Block 40/45 Upgrade also includes an upgrade to Electronic Support Measures (ESM) sensor data processing; data fusion of both off-board and on-board sensor data through multi-source integration (MSI); a Data Link Infrastructure (DLI) upgrade with prioritized data link bandwidth management; new battle management tools; capability to parse, allow user access to, and integrate updates to Tactical Data Information Link (TADIL)-J message formats and protocols; enhanced mission and console recording capabilities while maintaining legacy chat communications and onboard training; modification of system software to accommodate Diminishing Manufacturing Sources (DMS).

The FY 2015 budget divests seven E-3 aircraft from the fleet, resulting in a fleet size of 24 vs. 31 now. This adjustment to the fleet size will be implemented starting in FY15.

Approaches to Multisensor Fusion Architecture may be used in Block 40/45

AWACS Level 2 Fusion 

The E-3 AWACS SENTRY aircraft is the “brain” of the modern air war for the U.S. and its allies. The aircraft has powerful active and passive sensors and an array of Level 1 tracking algorithms for managing the real time kinematic “picture” of the air battle. The Air Force has an ambitious program of sensor enhancements and software to improve this Level 1 processing and Daniel H.Wagner Associates, Inc. is a key player in the effort to improve Level 1 system as a participant in the Multi-Sensor Integration arena. Our MSI algorithm was the first to be demonstrated in ESC’s Fusion Evaluation Testbed and we have consistently shown outstanding test performance.

In an SBIR effort, Daniel H. Wagner Associates, Inc. enhanced an existing software program designed to perform multiple sensor, multiple target tracking for the E-3 AWACS. The specific enhancements made to the software include:

  • incorporation and correlation of offboard sensor data;
  • development of a data registration algorithm;
  • responsiveness to AWACS operator commands; and
  • recommendation of target identification.

In ongoing research for the Air Force Research Laboratory, Wagner Associates is investigating and implementing a number of Level 2 Data Fusion algorithms for use onboard the E-3 AWACS. Tools for Level 2 Data Fusion fall into two categories:
Situation Assessment (SA) and Sensor Management (SM). The functions of Situation Assessment are twofold:

  1. Operator Awareness and
  2. Operator Workload Reduction.

The functions of Sensor Management are:

  1. (1) Recommending sensor settings for sectors and subsectors based on situation and
  2. (2) Managing complex settings for the operator. Below is a list of topics being investigated.

 

JDL Fusion Architecture

Boeing Phantom Works Fusion Architecture: A Flexible Approach for Multiple Projects and Domains – 0503.pdf

The Boeing Fusion Architecture provides a highly flexible, multi-source, easily integrated tracker for a variety of applications. Many target types can be tracked, either from sensor reports, sensor tracks, or other types of tracks. The interfaces input type, assignment method, tracktype, track maintenance algorithms, etc. can be selected at run time by the user. The code uses the advanced libraries and tools of Java to keep the application well positioned for quick turn around for demos, proposals and program hot starts. The architecture is a multithreaded, event driven architecture delivering realtime performance for multiple customers.

Boeing – Bradley – Dynamic Resource Allocation and Management for Level 4 Fusion – 0501.pdf

The sensor tasking capability discussed here is part of a Resource Allocation Manager (RAM) that integrates Command, Control and Communications (C3) functions within individual sensor subsystems, among multiple sensors on a platform, and across multiple independent platforms. The RAM contributes significantly to multi-platform interoperability and situation awareness operations. System level functional capabilities include interactive management of kinematic and non-kinematic attribute state estimation accuracies, Situation Assessment, Threat Assessment and data bandwidth management among cooperating sensing platforms. The RAM is innovative state-of-the-art closed-loop surveillance and tracking technology. The same algorithms that manage system level kinematic and identification accuracy also inherently manage sensor modes, bias and misalignment estimation, maintenance schedules, data link bandwidth usage, built-in-test, calibration and even logistics. An overview of the fusion architecture and tracking system in which the RAM is integrated is discussed first, followed by performance analyses using measured and modeled data

Posted by Stephen Pendergast 

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