Airmen at Nellis AFB, Nev., are using the Web-based Information Dominant Warfare (WIDOW) software application, developed by the U.S. Air Force Kessel Run unit, to increase information exchange speed during Red Flag and Weapons School Integration (WSINT) training exercises, as the Air Force plans to field WIDOW as the digital bridge between Air Operations Centers (AOCs) and platforms, such as the Lockheed Martin [LMT] U-2 Dragon Lady.
During such exercises, WIDOW is to allow the use of digital coordination cards, tanker plans, mission timelines and asset flows without relying on emails to exercise participants or other more time-consuming means, such as the use of shared drives and spreadsheets.
“WIDOW improved the access, accuracy and timeliness of information required for the U-2 pilot to effectively synchronize capabilities with the composite force,” Air Force Maj. John Mattson, a former U-2 Weapons Instructor Course (WIC) instructor, said in an Air Force statement last month.
“While the U-2 easily deconflicts vertically by flying several miles above all of the other air domain players, the objective of WSINT is not to deconflict capabilities, but to integrate capabilities to achieve the desired effect,” he said. “WIDOW has improved the U-2 pilot’s access to mission-planning information and their ability to input timely refinements of mission planning-information in a manner that just wasn’t practical with paper coordination cards for a geographically or temporally-dispersed pilot in a space suit.”
DoD uses Platform One‘s continuous Authority to Operate, or c-ATO, on Non-secure Internet Protocol Router (unclassified), Secret Internet Protocol Router (secret) and Joint Worldwide Intelligence Communication System (top secret) networks.
Airmen have used the 3-3 Integrated Planning and Employment (IPE) manual, which lays outs mission planning and employment details, including data collection requirements and what is expected from that data.
“What planners have historically had to do is take several individual pieces of mission data and manually input them into spreadsheets and other disconnected mission products as designated by 3-3.IPE and then save them on a shared drive or email them for dissemination to mission participants,” said Air Force Maj. William Short, the Air Force chief of staff fellow at the Air Force’s Blue Horizons Center for Strategy and Technology at the Air War College at Maxwell AFB, Ala.
“If there is a missing or incorrect piece of information [in the traditional 3-3.IPE process], then the process of saving, sharing and emailing happens again,” Short said. “This process is long, arduous and leaves a lot of room for error.”
The Air Force said that the Air Force’s Advanced Battle Management System will use applications like WIDOW to transmit data “to the edge, other applications and mission partners with speed and agility in an effort to achieve the Joint All-Domain Command and Control vision.”