The U.S. Air Force is seeking industry’s ideas for large-scale defeat of ground moving targets.

Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall recently laid out a set of seven operational imperatives for the service–a list that he said would evolve and a list that includes effective ground moving target indication and air moving target indication (Defense Daily, Jan. 19).

The Air Force “is seeking information on how an interested contractor could provide material solutions and capabilities that would enable the Air Force to deter and prevent an adversary nation from directly threatening an ally and inhibiting access to global commons and dominating international commons,” according to a Jan. 28 request for information (RFI).

“This RFI specifically seeks innovative ways to achieve moving target engagement on sea surface and ground moving
targets by closing or shortening the Long Range Kill Chain (LRKC) in a highly contested and operationally limited environment,” the notice said. “Moving target engagement implies a need to sense, understand, exercise command and control and battle management, track a target and conduct fires. This requires a system of systems approach crossing five key lines of effort: Sensing, Sense-Making, Battle Management Command & Control, Communications & Datalinks, and Weapons employment. This would be conducted with near peer adversary nations, and in environments where the blue forces could be numerically disadvantaged.”

The other six Air Force priorities include defining a resilient space order of battle and defensive/offensive architectures; fielding an Advanced Battle Management System (ABMS), the service component of the Pentagon’s Joint All Domain Command and Control (JADC2) concept; defining the enablers of the Next Generation Air Dominance (NGAD) fighter to include air moving target indication, sensors, communications, command and control, weapons, and drones; defining resilient basing in contested environments; evaluating the readiness of the Air Force and U.S. Space Force to move to a wartime posture against a peer competitor; and defining the long-range strike family of systems for the future Northrop Grumman [NOC] B-21 Raider stealth bomber.

The service wants to collect ideas for all seven imperatives by the end of March to inform the service’s fiscal 2024 program objective memorandum (POM).

The ground moving target indication effort “will evaluate alternative ways of providing wide area targeting quality data at scale and with operationally useful latency in dense, stressing, contested, time sensitive environments,” the RFI said. “Both airborne and spacebased sensors and architectures will be considered. Ongoing and prior analysis will be utilized to the extent applicable. Close cooperation with the intelligence community is required for this imperative, especially for space-based dual-use intelligence and operational ISR [intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance] options.”

Kendall has cautioned against engaging in extensive system research efforts without an eye to near term fielding and has said that the United States should do cost-benefit analyses on advanced weapons, such as hypersonics, and not reflexively mirror image Chinese efforts.