JED - November 2017 - 38

The Journal of Electronic Defense | November 2017


In terms of determining what will
actually need to be done to bring sensor
fusion to legacy platforms, one factor
that will need to be considered is that
advances in both sensors and processing
should continue to be expected. Says
Cozier, "Sensors will continue to get
better, produce more data, and be able
to see further and see smaller things.
Conversely, in terms of the processing,
even if you only improve within a single
sensor domain - radar, EO, EW - you
could actually increase performance
through the front-end sensor." Where
sensor fusion really begins to play a
role, however, is in combining inputs
from multiple modalities, either on or
off the platform. "For example," says Cozier, "radar has very good range but bad
cross range [i.e., the ability to differentiate multiple objects or targets present
at the same range]. On the other hand,
EO or IR have very poor range, but very
good cross range, so if you can associate
the two detections across those two systems on a single platform, you can come
up with better kinematic and error-state
estimates of that object than you could
with processing either of those two sensors independently."
Similarly, by bringing multiple platforms into play through a network
connection, Cozier adds that, "now, although you may still have just two sensors providing angle-only measurements
(EO/IR), they will have geometric diversity in what they're sensing as they're
looking at the same target. As you bring
that information together and perform
fusion, you can perform a much better
state estimate of that target and then
make decisions on how to prosecute it."
As a practical matter, in addition to
technical challenges, there will also be
challenges posed by the need to work
across multiple contractors and Services, often with different opinions
on how data should be formatted and
handled. Open standards and open mission systems are seen as one approach
to helping achieve concurrence on how
this is accomplished. Says Cozier, "I
think we're seeing a noticeable trend
in that direction to try to open up the
playing field and ultimately reduce life
cycle costs - to be able to make incremental improvements across a variety of

subsystems that are ultimately plugged
into bigger systems. But, the 'where' and
the 'how' of the path to implementing
sensor fusion technology on manned
aircraft opens up a lot of other complexities, such as where these capabilities are
hosted and how they get integrated."
Although open systems and architectures will play a big role, Cozier says that
ultimately what needs to be understood
are the needs and the requirements of
the mission at the enterprise level and
to be able to decompose those things
into an understanding of capabilities of
what each platform would bring in the
participation of a cooperative mission.
"You can then drill down further into
what each system and subsystem within
those platforms needs to achieve to be
able to meet the goals and outcomes of
those mission sets. You need a top-down
approach to influence the requirements
development of the platforms, systems,
sensors and data fusion."
Northrop Grumman's Malone agrees,
pointing out that, "We're providing systems that feed the fusion engine at many
different levels, working closely with our
primes - who are responsible for the integration - to provide sensors that meet
the requirements of the total 'build.'"

As can be seen in recent US Service
exercises and demonstrations, there
appears to be, at least an operational
concept, if not a plan, for airborne operations involving a principle reliance
on 5th-gen aircraft, such as the F-35
and F-22, to serve as the central sensor
fusion management and distribution
platforms during a mission. In this scenario, in addition to their own onboard
sensors, the 5th generation aircraft will
also receive raw sensor data from 4thgen aircraft operating in concert with,
but in a less vulnerable environment or
mission role, to help build the COP. The
5th-gen platforms then, in turn, distribute the results of this fused picture
back to the 4th-gen aircraft.
Clearly this kind of operational approach will require the use of advanced,
survivable and secure data links. BAE's
Cozier says that, "In the general case, we
need more and more capabilities within
a networked environment, and that is a

combination of greater throughput, reliability, and jam resistance. In order to
achieve mission success, it will be critical to have the ability to share information and to have some guarantee of
not only receiving information on which
you can then perform data fusion, but
that you can also push information back
out to influence the other actors."
As part of the integrated Communications, Navigation and Identification (CNI) avionics suite that Northrop
Grumman provides for the F-35, the
company developed the Multifunction
Advanced Data Link (MADL), a highdata-rate, directional communications
link that gives the F-35 the ability to
communicate and coordinate tactics
covertly with other F-35s. The CNI also
includes a capability to transmit and
receive data with legacy 4th-gen aircraft. Says Malone, "To enable the full
capability offered by 5th-gen aircraft,
it's critically important that the F-35
and F-22 are able to share the wealth of
information they've collected with 4thgen platforms, particularly for combat
operations in highly contested environments. We've developed systems and
solutions to bridge that 5th-to-4th-gen
platform interoperability gap, including
a core capability within the CNI system
for 5th-to-4th-generation networked
data sharing and interoperability
through the Freedom 550™ software-defined radio. The Freedom 550 translates
F-22 and F-35 data into Link 16 format
and 'gateways' that information to 4thgen platforms, C2 and other assets."
Ultimately, there are any number of
possible operational benefits to providing advanced sensor fusion capabilities for 4th-gen aircraft, particularly
when linked to a 5th-gen fighter. Says
Cozier, "As you're looking at different
mission sets and objectives, the sensing, collection and fusion of information across the two can be coordinated
in such a way that either optimizes
the understanding of the threats base
given what one platform can sense vs.
another or, for example, by having one
platform doing a specific type of sensing because the other wants to retain
its stealth-mode covertness - remaining 'quiet' but still able to receive that
type of sensor information." a


JED - November 2017

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of JED - November 2017

The View From Here
Conferences Calendar
Courses Calendar
From the President
The Monitor
World Report
Forecast: Future of DIRCM
Sensor Fusion for 4th Gen Fighters
Technology Survey: ELINT Receivers
54th Annual AOC International Symposium and Convention Guide
EW 101
AOC News
Index of Advertisers
JED Quick Look
JED - November 2017 - intro
JED - November 2017 - cover1
JED - November 2017 - cover2
JED - November 2017 - 3
JED - November 2017 - 4
JED - November 2017 - 5
JED - November 2017 - The View From Here
JED - November 2017 - 7
JED - November 2017 - Conferences Calendar
JED - November 2017 - 9
JED - November 2017 - Courses Calendar
JED - November 2017 - 11
JED - November 2017 - From the President
JED - November 2017 - 13
JED - November 2017 - 14
JED - November 2017 - insert1
JED - November 2017 - insert2
JED - November 2017 - The Monitor
JED - November 2017 - 16
JED - November 2017 - 17
JED - November 2017 - 18
JED - November 2017 - 19
JED - November 2017 - 20
JED - November 2017 - 21
JED - November 2017 - 22
JED - November 2017 - 23
JED - November 2017 - World Report
JED - November 2017 - 25
JED - November 2017 - Forecast: Future of DIRCM
JED - November 2017 - 27
JED - November 2017 - 28
JED - November 2017 - 29
JED - November 2017 - 30
JED - November 2017 - 31
JED - November 2017 - 32
JED - November 2017 - 33
JED - November 2017 - 34
JED - November 2017 - Sensor Fusion for 4th Gen Fighters
JED - November 2017 - 36
JED - November 2017 - 37
JED - November 2017 - 38
JED - November 2017 - Technology Survey: ELINT Receivers
JED - November 2017 - 40
JED - November 2017 - 41
JED - November 2017 - 42
JED - November 2017 - 43
JED - November 2017 - 44
JED - November 2017 - 45
JED - November 2017 - 46
JED - November 2017 - 47
JED - November 2017 - 48
JED - November 2017 - 54th Annual AOC International Symposium and Convention Guide
JED - November 2017 - 50
JED - November 2017 - 51
JED - November 2017 - 52
JED - November 2017 - 53
JED - November 2017 - 54
JED - November 2017 - 55
JED - November 2017 - 56
JED - November 2017 - 57
JED - November 2017 - 58
JED - November 2017 - 59
JED - November 2017 - 60
JED - November 2017 - 61
JED - November 2017 - 62
JED - November 2017 - 63
JED - November 2017 - 64
JED - November 2017 - 65
JED - November 2017 - EW 101
JED - November 2017 - 67
JED - November 2017 - 68
JED - November 2017 - AOC News
JED - November 2017 - 70
JED - November 2017 - 71
JED - November 2017 - 72
JED - November 2017 - Index of Advertisers
JED - November 2017 - JED Quick Look
JED - November 2017 - cover3
JED - November 2017 - cover4