The Department of the Air Force Chief Architect Office’s Architecture Demonstration and Evaluation event 5 (ADE 5) this month marked the transition of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA)-developed System-of-Systems Technology Integration Tool Chain for Heterogeneous Electronic Systems (STITCHES) to an Air Force program and fielded system.

STITCHES is to allow the rapid reformulation of data from one language to another so that U.S. and allied forces are able to share the data via Link 16 and other intelligence collaboration tools.

Air Force Chief Architect Preston Dunlap told reporters on July 29 that STITCHES is akin to Google Translate, but the STITCHES translation is needed just once, rather than each time the use of the different language arises. During ADE 5, STITCHES helped feed U.S. forces’ common operational picture through Project Maven and commercial and government-provided satellite imagery, he said.

Kicked off in 2017 with the oversight of the office of the undersecretary of defense for intelligence, Project Maven has looked to develop an AI tool to process data from full-motion video (FMV) collected by unmanned aircraft and decrease the workload of intelligence analysts who frequently spend hours sifting through FMV.

During the ADE 5 exercise, the Air Force pulled “artificial intelligence algorithms from some of our FFRDCs [federally funded research and development centers], and especially Project Maven with [an] undersecretary of defense for intelligence team where we applied the algorithms that they have been developing, and we’ve been testing out here, into the operational tool chain,” Dunlap said. “If we’re looking at patterns of life, we can now have machines assist us to recognize, ‘Is it the same today as it was yesterday?,’ help us get ahead so we’re not so reactive. We can actually be proactive there and be able to support decisions that may prevent conflict more effectively.”

The joint ADE 5 joint exercise tested out information dominance capabilities virtually and live at three test ranges at Eglin AFB, Fla., Nellis AFB, Nev. and Michigan. ADE 5 featured the employment of a number of aircraft, including F-22s; T-38s from Holloman AFB, N.M. to simulate low-flying cruise missiles; KC-135s; A-10s from Selfridge Air National Guard Base, Mich.; MQ-9 Reapers from the New York Air National Guard, and F-16s from the Ohio Air National Guard.

ADE 5 was part of DoD’s third Global Information Dominance Experiment (GIDE), which featured the participation of the 11 combatant commands.

“The results of ADE 5 and its partnership with GIDE 3 and Pacific Iron 21 are shaping new concepts of operation and investments across a wide array of initiatives and programs – such as Commercial Satellite Integration, the next Advanced Battle Management System Capability Release, the Rocket Cargo Vanguard, and Agile Combat Employment logistics and resiliency programs – aimed to achieve integrated decision superiority and agile, distributed operations,” the Air Force said.

Pacific Iron 21 is a Pacific Air Forces’ exercise.