The Air Force’s second Advanced Battle Management System (ABMS) demonstration has been postponed from April until June as part of the Defense Department’s response to the novel coronavirus, Chief of Staff Gen. David Goldfein said March 18.
The service was expecting to conduct a “massive” exercise April 8 that would involve live-fire exercises and network connectivity tests to try and develop the “military internet-of-things” via the ABMS architecture. But in the wake of the COVID-19 coronavirus spreading across the globe, the Pentagon has enacted travel restrictions limiting personnel to their local areas through May 11, barring mission-critical needs.
The goal is to “get right back on track as soon as the conditions allow,” Goldfein said during a Wednesday press briefing at the Pentagon.
“Right now, it’s really important that we’re not canceling it; we’re postponing it, because there are a number of industry leaders that are also involved,” he said.
This would have been the second in a series of technology sprints the Air Force is setting up every four months to quickly and iteratively test ways to build its ABMS architecture, where every U.S. military sensor is connected and warfighters can more quickly communicate, share data and make decisions across battlefields.
Among the new test elements expected in April were live-fire exercises such as taking down an unmanned aerial vehicle, a cruise missile shootdown, and service-wide activities taking place all across the country, including at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida, Nellis AFB, Nevada, Yuma Proving Ground, Arizona, and White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico.
In the meantime until June, the ABMS team will be using the time to “advance some of the technologies” that were to be used in the demonstration, Goldfein said.