Northrop Grumman has successfully completed the preliminary design review (PDR) of the US Air Force’s (USAF) Air Operations Center (AOC) weapon system (WS) programme, moving it towards the detailed design phase.
The company presented a prototype system, based on a service-oriented open architecture, to demonstrate the future AOC environment and concept of rapid and affordable development and integration during the PDR, conducted at its AOC WS warfighter test and integration laboratory in Newport News, Virginia, US.
Northrop Grumman Information Systems Defense Systems division vice president and general manager, Mike Twyman, said the company’s architectural foundation will enable essential new command and control (C2) applications and warfighting concepts.
"AOC modernisation through a truly open systems approach will significantly reduce lifecycle costs and enable the air force’s future operational concepts," Twyman added.
The company utilised enormous capabilities of fifth-generation aircraft and sensors to highlight the potential for integrated air and missile defence, dynamic network management and planning.
Next-generation user experience comprising machine-to-machine automation, collaborative workflows and improved visualisation of mission-critical information was also displayed in the dynamic targeting process, to generate greater command speed that is not possible with traditional systems.
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Working jointly with the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center and Hanscom Air Force Base, the company will upgrade the AOC through the development of a secure, streamlined computing environment for conventional and stove-piped systems.
The resulting common computing environment will lead to a reduction in manual information sharing between systems and a lowered information technology footprint, eventually reducing total ownership costs.
Expected to streamline integration of new applications, the AOC upgrade will also enable flexibility to provide modular, mission-tailorable capabilities to warfighters.
The AOC delivers core capability required by the Joint Force Air Component commander to plan, task and execute theatre-wide operations in the air, space and cyber domains.
Image: The US Air Force’s Combined Air Operations Center at a forward-deployed location in south-west Asia. Photo courtesy of US Air Force photo / Tech Sgt. Demetrius Lester.