Potential new avionics capabilities

Cockpit, radar, helmet-mounted display, and other avionics
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hornetfinn

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Unread post20 Feb 2014, 09:55

Since F-35 will utilize such an array of sensors and other avionics, I've been thinking what kind of capabilities could be added in the future. For example the ground fire detection and classification already demonstrated using DAS would open huge possibilities for F-35 ISTAR.

DAS could be used for navigation in several ways. It could either use terrain features to match digital maps or it could be used for celestial navigation (like star tracker) to determine accurate position based on positions of stars (and moon and sun). Of course it could do both to achieve even higher accuracy. This would give a navigation aid that would be independent of INS or GPS and would be totally stealthy and could theoretically have good accuracy. I don't know if DAS could detect stars or not, but it might be possible for it to do so since it uses same wavelengths as thermal cameras for scientific telescopes.

DAS and EOTS could be easily used for assessing weapon effects and I think this might well be in development path. In air to air combat those sensors could be used to track both the target and missile fired against it. It should be relatively easy to determine whether the target was destroyed by the missile or not when it explodes. Of course ground strike effectiveness could be assessed similarly. F-35 should be able to fly close enough enemy targets to determine weapons effects after airstrikes using EOTS and high resolution SAR images generated by APG-81.

I could also see F-35 being used to hunt submarines. It has very high resolution radar and very high resolution and high sensitivity thermal imaging sensors (DAS and EOTS). Both sensor types can be used to detect even submerged submarines from the heat they produce or from the distortions they produce to the surface of the ocean or their own signatures if surfaced or snorting (diesel-electric subs). This would probably require some serious software work to be done, but the sensor system capability might be there. This kind of capability might be of interest to naval forces using .

I think there could be other similarly new innovative ways of using the F-35 avionics. What do you think could be done?
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cantaz

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Unread post20 Feb 2014, 12:52

I've been wondering if the DIRCM system can be varied in output and modulated as a laser datalink, with the DAS acting as the cueing and receiver system.

I'm wondering if the DAS can cue any of the eye-UNsafe lasers onboard against hostile aircraft cockpit WVR.

I'm wondering if shootable quality target ranging with single ship DAS only will be possible based on image analysis.

MADL as a LPI datalink for HOBS with AMRAAM, discrete stand off munition llink (JSM?)and SATCOM.

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hornetfinn

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Unread post20 Feb 2014, 14:44

cantaz wrote:I'm wondering if shootable quality target ranging with single ship DAS only will be possible based on image analysis.


I think target ranging would be possible using DAS or EOTS if there is way to identify the target. If the system knows the dimensions of the target, then it would be relatively easy to determine the range to the target. EOTS would be much better at this as it has much narrower field of view available which means it will have much more detailed image of the target available (more pixels). For example if the target just entered DAS range (pixel or two in DAS sensor), it's likely that EOTS will have tens of pixels in both width and height available due to very narrow FOV capability. DAS on the other hand has very wide FOV and would require target to be relatively close to be able to positively identify it and have enough pixels to determine range accurately.

Of course one thing is that F-35 can use several different sensors (radar, EW system, EOTS, DAS) to determine accurate target orientation and range. With advanced sensor fusion it should give better targeting information than previous fighters were capable of doing.
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SpudmanWP

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Unread post20 Feb 2014, 17:01

hornetfinn wrote:DAS and EOTS could be easily used for assessing weapon effects and I think this might well be in development path. In air to air combat those sensors could be used to track both the target and missile fired against it. It should be relatively easy to determine whether the target was destroyed by the missile or not when it explodes. Of course ground strike effectiveness could be assessed similarly. F-35 should be able to fly close enough enemy targets to determine weapons effects after airstrikes using EOTS and high resolution SAR images generated by APG-81.
This has been demonstrated already in the simulators. There is a vid floating around showing an attack run by an F-35 where the pilot specifically puts the EODAS in a mode where it simulates a top-down view for the purposes of BDA. Same goes for A2A (but no top-down needed).


cantaz wrote:I'm wondering if shootable quality target ranging with single ship DAS only will be possible based on image analysis.
Passive ranging using only EODAS is already part of the sensor's ability.
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bumtish

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Unread post20 Feb 2014, 19:11

Some developments I would expect - taking into consideration the high-performance/high-fidelity/highly integrated sensors of the F-35 - is an outstanding ability to process the measurement data into actionable information. The collection and integration of on/off-board data would indicate measurement fusion as the data/sensor fusion method using "associated measurement reports" (metadata), as opposed to "classic" track/plot fusion.

This should not only enable better "track correlation/de-correlation", identification and also better knowledge of the configuration and state of the targets.

I would think there would be enormous amounts of opportunity using multivariate or maybe "big data" methods for this.

I guess we all know Osley's quote:

It has the ability to have up to 650 parameters by which it will identify a potential threat out there. Other aircraft, such as the F22 have about a third of that and fourth-generation aircraft have perhaps half a dozen. So if you are in an F18 or in some of the other Soviet aircraft you only have a very limited understanding of what the threat is and being able to identify it at a distance. If we are able to do as we plan with the F35, and that is to have good access to the software and to be able to program it appropriately with mission data, it will have the ability to identify hostile aircraft at quite a considerable distance. Then decisions will be made within the formation, it will play to its strengths and it will defeat it, but not by going within visual range.


I think the numbers of parameters points to not only a quantitatively more extensive fusion, but also a far more intensive exploitation of data. With the F-35 bringing prerequisites of integrated high-performance sensors, communications, computing power for it to happen.

I think this has failed to get acknowledgement as it has suffered from paraphrasing or translation into tactical implications, which is not really decoded properly/grasped by the wider audience. (think sldinfo stuff).
2
Fusion methods
In netted sensors applications there are two predominant methods for the fusion of sensor data, which are commonly [3] referred to as measurement fusion and track fusion, although other terms are used in the literature [4]. In the former method, as depicted in architectural form in Figure 1, sensor measurements are passed to a central fusion point for the generation of composite (multisensor) tracks.

[see link for figures]
Figure 1: Measurement fusion processing Figure 2: Track fusion processing

Usually measurement data are not “fused” as such but are processed sequentially by multisensor track extraction using processing stages such as track initiation, measurement-to-track-association and track maintenance (state estimation). The approach is frequently claimed to offer optimal performance, however, it is often impractical in a network environment involving real sensors that report several false, e.g. clutter, measurements owing to the gross data load that would result. A more practical approach is when associated measurement reports (AMRs) are distributed [4]. This is the case that is considered in the remainder of this paper.

In the second method, shown in Figure 2, sensor-level tracks are combined in a track fusion system using track association/correlation and, normally, state estimation processing. A disadvantage of track fusion is the inherent loss of measurement data early on in the overall sensor fusion processing chain which is not present with measurement fusion. This may not be that significant for practical applications with any disadvantages being ounterbalanced by reduced sensitivity to sensor registration errors.

One of the main difficulties with track fusion met hods is the correlation that can exist between two tracks that are fused. This topic, which has been researched extensively [4], is typically caused by common process noise introduced by sensor-level tracking filters to accommodate target manoeuvres. Other types of correlation, such as caused by common prior information, are also possible. The complications of cross-correlation between tracks is side-stepped in some track fusion approaches by calculating the fused track state estimate according to the “best” contributing track [5], which is often based on a priori knowledge of the most accurate sensor. In a netted sensors context this mentality also forms the basis of a reporting responsibility type of netted sensor architecture. This method has the attraction of simplicity and low communications bandwidth but has limitations in that it cannot easily exploit the benefits of fusing data from geographically diverse sensors. An alternative approach, which is the focus of the remainder of this paper, is called “tracklets” which could potentially be more useful for netted sensor applications than either measurement fusion or track fusion.

http://www.ee.ucl.ac.uk/lcs/previous/LCS2004/73.pdf
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hornetfinn

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Unread post21 Feb 2014, 14:32

SpudmanWP wrote:
hornetfinn wrote:DAS and EOTS could be easily used for assessing weapon effects and I think this might well be in development path. In air to air combat those sensors could be used to track both the target and missile fired against it. It should be relatively easy to determine whether the target was destroyed by the missile or not when it explodes. Of course ground strike effectiveness could be assessed similarly. F-35 should be able to fly close enough enemy targets to determine weapons effects after airstrikes using EOTS and high resolution SAR images generated by APG-81.
This has been demonstrated already in the simulators. There is a vid floating around showing an attack run by an F-35 where the pilot specifically puts the EODAS in a mode where it simulates a top-down view for the purposes of BDA. Same goes for A2A (but no top-down needed).


cantaz wrote:I'm wondering if shootable quality target ranging with single ship DAS only will be possible based on image analysis.
Passive ranging using only EODAS is already part of the sensor's ability.


I would've been very surprised if these capabilities weren't already part of the system or at least in the development path. I think there might be a lot of things that could be done with both BDA and passive ranging and I'm sure development of those capabilities (at least BDA as it's definitely a very complex issue) will continue in the future.

I wonder if DAS could be used as a bird collision avoidance system? Of course the capability to detect a flock of birds must be there, but the system could possibly warn the pilot about possibility of hitting it.

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