The Air Force’s Air Mobility Command (AMC) is examining the need for automated, beyond line of sight (BLOS) communications for its fleet of aircraft to fit into the Pentagon’s planned Joint All Domain Command and Control (JADC2) architecture.
AMC is “seeking information from interested companies to provide an operationally effective, affordable, resilient, and secure Beyond Line of Sight (BLOS) Integrator/Manager/Controller [IMCs] for AMC’s fleet of C-5, C-17, C-130, KC-135, and KC-46 aircraft,” per an Oct. 1 AMC request for information (RFI).
A chosen contractor could deliver 900 IMCs for the airlift and tanker fleets.
“Within the framework of JADC2, the need for full-spectrum, seamless and resilient communications and adaptable data pathways out to the tactical edge is critical,” per the RFI. “AMC intends to develop an automated digital PACE (Primary, Alternate, Contingency, and Emergency) plan for BLOS communications for each platform to achieve resiliency and adaptability necessary to remain relevant across the spectrum of competition. This capability will support roaming between service providers, which may require handoffs between satellites, gateways, and networks to provide rapid recovery of service, rapid (re)assignment of resources in the event of a surge or reduction of capacity.”
AMC cited the example of a Boeing [BA] C-17 using one PACE profile with the minimum required bandwidth, then switching to a new PACE profile with much higher bandwidth to perform an aeromedical evacuation.
“The same BLOS PACE profile will also enable a variety of tactical missions across the spectrum of competition, from Humanitarian Assistance to Palletized Munitions,” AMC said.
The Air Force is planning to hold palletized munition flight tests this December, as the service continues to look into long-range, conventional cruise missile strike options to limit the risk to U.S. aircraft in a “high-end fight” (Defense Daily, Sept. 22).
In July, the Air Force Strategic Development Planning and Experimentation (SDPE) office’s Rapid Dragon program conducted the first system-level palletized munitions tests at White Sands Missile Range, N.M., using C-17 and Air Force Special Operations Command (AFSOC) EC-130SJ aircraft by Lockheed Martin [LMT]. The tests were to demonstrate the ability of C-17 and C-130 aircraft to drop palletized Lockheed Martin Joint Air to Surface Standoff Missile-Extended Range (JASSM-ER) cruise missiles.
On BLOS communications for airlifters for JADC2, AMC said on Oct. 1 that “the existence of multiple proprietary BLOS waveforms and interfaces and the lack of enterprise standards are significant obstacles.”
“Additionally, fragmented automated information systems and manual processes separate the management and control of DoD SATCOM [satellite communications] among bands and providers,” per the RFI. “AMC intends the development of a PACE plan for BLOS to follow the USSF [U.S. Space Force] Vision for SATCOM to achieve capacity flexibility, terminal and network agility, cyber and link security, and data interoperability.”