Preparing Army Forces for the Multi-Domain Battlespace
The future of warfare is multi-domain. Threats will come from air, land, sea, and space, simultaneously, but also in the cyber domain and across the electromagnetic airwaves, where information becomes a tool for both attack and defense.
Fighting a multi-domain war requires integration across platforms, systems, military branches and coalition forces. Winning a multi-domain war requires agility, innovation, flexibility and adaptability, according to the U.S. Army’s Vision for 2025.
The Army’s arsenal of capabilities - including autonomous systems, combat vehicles, Future Vertical Lift, expeditionary mission command, cross domain fires and advanced protection – demands industry collaboration and innovation to increase agility and flexibility on the battlefield.
Why Integration Matters
At the heart of this integration across domains is the command, control, computing, communications technology that gathers and distributes intelligence, reconnaissance and surveillance (ISR) data. Today, pockets of cross-domain integration exist in the U.S. military. The U.S. Air Force’s Air Operations Centers integrate air and space operations, and the U.S. Missile Defense Agency’s C2BMC system brings together sensor data from space, land and sea. These efforts exemplify how the power of the joint force is more powerful than individual systems and platforms.
“With a focus on U.S. Army readiness, Lockheed Martin is engineering the software and communications technology that will make the integrated multi-domain force a reality by connecting sensors, platforms and weapons systems into a “system-of-systems” that operates as a single unit,” says Dr. Rob Smith, vice president, C4ISR.
Technology Spotlight: Netted Sensors
Stitching together surveillance from various sensors into a single, far-reaching picture of the battlefield will help commanders make informed decisions. Lockheed Martin is developing ISR technology that can connect the F-35 Lightning II with other systems and command centers. Imagery from “eyes in the sky” like aerostat systems and unmanned aerial systems can also contribute to this integrated picture of the battlespace with video and imagery.
Developing the Future Force
Future Vertical Lift will enable the Army to operate from longer ranges with increased speed and maneuverability.
Critical to the Army’s success is the Future Vertical Lift program. With a return to dispersed, small units, the Army will need to operate from longer ranges. Increased speed, maneuverability and payload options help to transport soldiers to and from the fight quicker and safer.
With the Future Vertical Lift program comes a more powerful platform that is designed for future software upgrades and rapid insertion of sensors and equipment. The aircraft’s architecture will allow for modular upgrades that boost reliability, endurance and survivability – all of which will be key to taking on new missions in increasingly challenging environments, including high altitudes and hot temperatures.
Technology Spotlight: Autonomy
Through efforts like DARPA’s ALIAS program, Lockheed Martin pioneers autonomous technologies for future rotary wing and fixed wing aircraft. Sikorsky’s MATRIX Technology is proving how autonomy and optimally piloted aircraft can improve aircraft safety and reliability, and give customers the option for flying with two, one or zero crew.
Like the future rotary wing and fixed wing aircraft, the future of combat vehicles is also embedded in autonomy solutions. Whether delivering supplies or autonomously driving convoys, these technologies will reduce soldiers’ workload and allow them to focus on missions beyond vehicle operations.
Operating in a Contested Information Environment
The multi-domain battle will take place in an increasingly challenging information environment.
The Army’s focus on increasing its expeditionary capabilities doesn’t end with Future Vertical Lift. Forces must be able to exercise expeditionary mission command, or the coordination of forward deployed, mobile and dispersed forces.
For all forces, receiving timely and accurate information can be the key to mission success, but the information environment has become increasingly congested and contested. Advanced protection capabilities – including kinetic, non-kinetic, lethal and nonlethal systems – protect combat vehicles on the ground and in the air. These technologies help deployed forces to dominate both the physical and electromagnetic fights.
Already, the U.S. military has invested in upgrades to its electronic warfare capabilities.
Technologies like the ground-based Symphony counter-IED system and the airborne electronic support measure (ESM) systems for Apache AH-64D/E aircraft detect potential dangers. On the Apache aircraft, passive sensor systems identify and locate sources of radio frequency emission. And to help detect and defeat future threats, Lockheed Martin is miniaturizing the digital receiver ESM systems for fixed, rotary wing, and unmanned aerial system application.
Technology Spotlight: Cyber/EW Convergence
The Army calls for cyber and electronic warfare convergence—dominating signals across the electromagnetic spectrum for both offense and defense. The effects of merging cyber and electronic warfare include jamming communications channels; spoofing, or providing misinformation to the enemy; deceiving the enemy through decoys; listening to enemy communications, and preventing cyberattacks and hacks.
Integrating Fire and Counter-Fire Measures
Detection and surveillance systems like the Q-53 radar system are mobile, agile, and can be rapidly deployed.
In the battlespace of the future, not all firepower is kinetic, with directed energy weapon systems taking a complimentary role alongside missiles. Laser weapons systems will provide the Army with a mobile and versatile protection system for its combat vehicles.
This year, Lockheed Martin will supply the U.S. Army with a 60-kilowatt laser to mount on the Army Space and Mission Defense Command High Energy Laser Mobile Test Truck (HELMTT). The Army plans to test the upgraded HELMTT against a wide range of threat targets.
To effectively combat longer range threats, the U.S. Army and other military branches are looking to precision-guided weapons and cross domain fires to combat a variety of targets – like surface-to-air missiles. In the event of an incoming surface to air missile, the U.S. Air Force can work with the U.S. Army to conduct a deep strike with the combat-proven Tactical Missile System (TACMS) or Guided Multiple Launch Rocket System (GMLRS) to defeat/destroy the associated launch system.
“We’ve worked hand-in-hand with our Army customer for many years to provide systems that support cross-domain mission prosecution,” said Scott Greene, vice president of Precision Fires and Combat Maneuver Systems. “Whether in support of counter-insurgency operations, precision engagement of known enemy strongholds, or suppression of enemy air defense sites, GMLRS and TACMS always deliver for our warfighters.”
People and Squadrons Bring it all Together
Systems like the Digital Range Training System enable today’s soldiers to experience real world challenges anytime, anywhere.
Developing the future force would be impossible without the proper training for individuals and squadrons. To effectively optimize soldier and team performance in an affordable way, the Army is including more simulation-based training to build leaders’ decision-making skills.
Training new soldiers can be very expensive (consider the cost of fuel for tanks and ammunition); however, today’s simulators provide a realistic training environment without requiring the same expendable materials. Virtual training technologies can be networked together for immersive, effective training across locations. And while live training will always be important for Army readiness, systems like the Digital Range Training System and WARSIM enable today’s soldiers to experience real world challenges anytime, anywhere.
Technology Spotlight: Training Innovations
The Army’s Program Executive Office for Simulation, Training and Instrumentation (PEO STRI) new technical standards will ultimately enable all live training products to communicate with one another, further reducing the burden on the soldiers in training.
Lockheed Martin is taking additional measures to reduce that burden by streamlining the system and making it lighter, smaller and faster to process data. Using commercial-off-the-shelf technology like smart phones also leads to more efficient training setup, and caters to the next generation of soldiers.