F 35 Sensor Fusion and networking

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

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Unread post29 Mar 2016, 23:43

PDF about 'sensor fusion' now has extra 3 pages made from high quality 'sensor fusion' graphics above - so 80 pages
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F-35AdvancedSensorFusionCockpitSkaffPP80.pdf
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RAN FAA A4G Skyhawk 1970s: https://www.faaaa.asn.au/spazsinbad-a4g/ AND https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCwqC_s6gcCVvG7NOge3qfAQ/
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blindpilot

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Unread post30 Mar 2016, 00:22

jetblast16 wrote:Straight from the manufacturer:...

Basically, it was designed to provide thermal imaging/targeting in a low RCS manner. It is by no means unique.


Not responding to you specifically jetblast, but the "opinion" in general.

My response is - ACTUALLY it (F-22/35 fusion) is by all means unique.

For example the "manufacturer" Apple would say the iPhone has a GPS sensor that can tell you where you are, and use it to work with maps.

AND Blackberry and Microsoft, and Garmin would have said the "iPhone is by no means unique," as they had their a$$'s - (cell phone business) handed to them on a platter. As they responded to stockholder meetings, they continued to whine that the iPhone was "by no means unique," right out the door with all the profits that never happened, and didn't have to be fired because their jobs disappeared out from under them.

If you don't understand why BlackBerry crashed and burned, (41% market 2010, 1.2 % share 2015) then - you won't get it. I mean after all the iPhone was by no means unique.

MHO
BP

PS my background was designing and selling, "factory simulators" that became realtime on line AI robotics reprogrammers, on the fly during live factory production, using simple high level(we need twice as many fan belts this month) inputs. We aren't in Kansas any more and no one is impressed with "can do the same thing," BlackBerries
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les_paul59

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Unread post30 Mar 2016, 00:36

Scorpion i personally like the rafale and typhoon. But the raptor has been upgraded many times since 2003 whin it hit IOC. It most likely still has the best air to air radar in the world, and has always had an insane esm suite

There is a reason that the raptor is in high demand in the mid east right now, and as we have seen in the trilateral exercise its able to be a mini awacs for the typhoon and rafale while using a bacn, its second only to the f-35 in data fusion, thats not me being a 5th gen snob. Thats what generals and pilots are saying

http://breakingdefense.com/2015/12/f-22 ... l-wargame/
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Unread post30 Mar 2016, 13:20

Scorpion82 wrote:
les_paul59 wrote:I don't think anyone on this thread is denying that the euro-canards are good airplanes, or that they have sensor fusion, but I don't believe they "fuse" to the same degree as the U.S. 5th gens.


It's not about good or bad here for myself. It's more about the somewhat ill perception, let alone acknowledgement of what others are capable of in this particular field. People are deluded by generation labels and conclude automatic superiority on all fronts for the sake of one platform having a 5th gen label attached to it and the other only a 4th gen label. The F-35 is certainly at the forefront of sensor fusion capability, that's nothing I dispute and obviously something that's being overlooked by the black and white thinkers. To use the rather generic "generation" labels to describe the entirety of these aircraft is misleading for the simple reason that aircraft like Rafale, Typhoon or even the Super Bug were developed around the same time as the F-22, the same certainly doesn't apply to the F-35 which is a newer platform. Those 4th gens are still in production and the completely re-designed ones like the Su-35 or F/A-18 SH as well as the newly designed ones like Rafale or Typhoon are fitted with technologies already that are possibly even newer and more advanced than some stuff found on the Raptor whose production ceased some years ago. That's a reality, albeit one that's to often overlooked.


Could you tell what more advanced technologies any 4th gen fighter has that F-22 lacks besides IRST?

Scorpion82 wrote:As far as the stated "correlation of tracks" vs "internal fusion" statement is concerned you have to keep in mind that every fusion engine needs to correlate its feeds from various sources to determine whether individual sensor detections or tracks correspond to each other. Otherwise you can't de-conflict the various feeds. Tracking is the correlation of successive detections and I doubt that single detections are output as tracks to the F-22 or F-35 displays either. At best an internal track is formed pending for confirmation of at least a second detection otherwise there is a very real risk of false alarms and display clutter.


All sensor fusion engines give tracks as outputs but the methods to get there are different.

What 4++ gen (Rafale, EF Typhoon for example) sensor fusion does is:
1. Pilot operates and tasks the sensors how he sees fit.
2. Datalink shared tracks between fighters within seconds from commencing tracking and update interval is usually several seconds so accuracy is pretty poor for sensor fusion
3. Each sensor generate detections and correlates them to tracks inside the sensor. ID is done by individual sensors if possible.
4. Tracks from each sensor is sent to sensor fusion engine
5. Sensor fusion engine correlates tracks to single displayed track file.
6. Single track is displayed to pilot



5th gen sensor fusion works differently:
1. Sensor fusion engine tasks the sensors automatically
2. High-speed intra-flight datalinks (IFDL and MADL) share sensor data between aircraft very quickly and target data accuracy is very high and up-to-date.
2. Each sensor sends all the information they generate to sensor fusion engine after some preprocessing. Each sensor can still generate detections and tracks by themselves also if tasked by sensor fusion engine
3. Threat libraries and other such data are used by sensor fusion for example to ID targets from all the sensor data available
4. Sensor fusion engine generates detections from all the sensor data and correlates them to tracks
5. Single track is displayed to pilot

http://www.defensetech.org/2014/06/18/air-force-develops-threat-data-base-for-f-35/

“A sensor receives input. Then, the aircraft’s fusion engine takes that input and fuses it with other input from other sensors. It then takes that information and balances it against the mission data. Based on that match it can tell you what the threat is,” he explained.


So 5th gen sensor fusion is done at lower level and sensor fusion gets to handle much more information sooner and fuse it together. End result is that fused tracks show up quicker and sensors contribute to sensor fusion even if they are incapable of actually tracking the target but can detect it at least sporadically. Targets are also more likely to be accurately ID'd. It also allows much more complex fusion processes to be made like image data fusion (like fusing EOTS, EODAS and radar SAR images)

Downside is the much increased need for data transfer bandwidth within aircraft and between aircraft along with increased data processing capabilities. Also the threat libraries and sensor information need to be very good, thorough and accurate to help fusion. This is likely why F-35 threat library database development has been laborous.

Scorpion82 wrote:If you try to build tracks from individual sensor detections you are at risk that there is no subsequent detection or that closely spaced targets are errourneously fused. It actually takes two successive detections within a defined scan/time frame to build a track.


I don't see any difference to fusing tracks. There might similarly be no subsequent detection or that closely spaced targets are erraneously fused. It depends on sensor fusion algoritms to handle such problems. Actually fusing at lower level gives a lot more tools to handle them, although it's admittedly more difficult to do properly.

Scorpion82 wrote:Another consideration must be given to the fact that not all sensors necessarily detect and track the same objects at the same time either due to the vastly different characteristics of these sensors. Whether there is a centrailized processing unit that does all raw data processing or not, track/track correlation remains a necessity and is performed by the fusion engines of the F-22 and F-35 alike.


There is definitely need for data correlation but not track correlation if sensor fusion is done at lower than track level. Track correlation is by far the easier option, but data correlation allows much better performance potential.

http://www.au.af.mil/au/awc/awcgate/vistas/sench3.pdf
http://www.dtic.mil/dtic/tr/fulltext/u2/a392879.pdf
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jetblast16

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Unread post30 Mar 2016, 13:42

"Not responding to you specifically jetblast, but the "opinion" in general.

My response is - ACTUALLY it (F-22/35 fusion) is by all means unique. "

I get what you're saying blindpilot. Remember the F-117? It had a LO thermal imaging device (sensor) and laser
designator. Again, from the manufacturer, http://www.lockheedmartin.com/us/products/F-35LightningIIEOTS.html...'As the first sensor to combine forward-looking infrared and infrared search and track functionality' (I will give you that). Even Lockheed acknowledges the device needs to be upgraded; 'Advanced EOTS, an evolutionary electro-optical targeting system, is available for the F-35’s Block 4 development. Designed to replace EOTS'.

Again, not terribly unique. Its design requirement is simple: provide passive sensing with targeting on a LO platform without compromising the aforesaid's LO characteristics. This was done on the F-117 previously. I suppose some of this is open to debate, but to me, as it is, it is not revolutionary or truly unique. I am not talking about 'sensor fusion' that's something entirely else; just the electro-optical device on the jet.

800px-F-117_Front_View.jpg
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Unread post30 Mar 2016, 13:49

jetblast16 wrote:Even Lockheed acknowledges the device needs to be upgraded; 'Advanced EOTS, an evolutionary electro-optical targeting system, is available for the F-35’s Block 4 development. Designed to replace EOTS'.


I think they acknowledge that it can be upgraded, not that it really needs to be upgraded. There might be some podded systems just coming out with partially better specs, but how much that matters when put on a non-VLO platform? F-35 with regular EOTS targeting from 10 km away is likely much better than non-VLO platform targeting from 200 km away with some uber-targeting pod.
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Unread post30 Mar 2016, 14:20

'F-35 with regular EOTS targeting from 10 km away is likely much better than non-VLO platform targeting from 200 km away with some uber-targeting pod'?

That makes no sense. In a hypothetical world, however unlikely, what's better? Detect something from 200 km away moving through the air or 10 km?
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Unread post30 Mar 2016, 14:39

I feel like this whole thing is trying to explain the F-22.

"it has thrust vectoring"

So? so does the Harrier!

"it can super cruise"

So? So did the EE lightning back in the 1950s!

"It is stealth"

So? The F-117 is too!

There is nothing unique about the F-22!!


Without a lot of context and details, people take the similarity and decide there is nothing more. This logical "short circuit" is then used as evidence that the newer aircraft is nothing special

(for you eurocanard fans, the Wright Flyer used Canards, thus CCC is by no means unique...)

blindpilot wrote:
jetblast16 wrote:Straight from the manufacturer:...

Basically, it was designed to provide thermal imaging/targeting in a low RCS manner. It is by no means unique.


Not responding to you specifically jetblast, but the "opinion" in general.

My response is - ACTUALLY it (F-22/35 fusion) is by all means unique.

For example the "manufacturer" Apple would say the iPhone has a GPS sensor that can tell you where you are, and use it to work with maps.

AND Blackberry and Microsoft, and Garmin would have said the "iPhone is by no means unique," as they had their a$$'s - (cell phone business) handed to them on a platter. As they responded to stockholder meetings, they continued to whine that the iPhone was "by no means unique," right out the door with all the profits that never happened, and didn't have to be fired because their jobs disappeared out from under them.

If you don't understand why BlackBerry crashed and burned, (41% market 2010, 1.2 % share 2015) then - you won't get it. I mean after all the iPhone was by no means unique.

MHO
BP

PS my background was designing and selling, "factory simulators" that became realtime on line AI robotics reprogrammers, on the fly during live factory production, using simple high level(we need twice as many fan belts this month) inputs. We aren't in Kansas any more and no one is impressed with "can do the same thing," BlackBerries


This^
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les_paul59

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Unread post30 Mar 2016, 16:09

The unique elements of the raptor and f-35 are the great situational awareness with the lo. Jets have been lo before but they have never been lo and had great s.a. and networking capability. This combination is what changes the game.

The f-22 will eventually be a fully networked player in the f-35, f-22 5th gen. team going forward. And in the meantime there are ways to get around it's lack of relevant datalinks
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Unread post30 Mar 2016, 17:18

Other than the EOTS, which sensor has a known/demonstrated combination of TFLIR and IRST functionalities?
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vanshilar

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Unread post30 Mar 2016, 17:24

blindpilot wrote:For example the "manufacturer" Apple would say the iPhone has a GPS sensor that can tell you where you are, and use it to work with maps.


OT but there's no way anybody's going to want to buy an iPhone. I've been told by the internet over and over that as soon as you go multirole, you're sunk. The iPhone is supposed to call people, surf the internet, play videos, play games, take pictures, take videos, geolocate (GPS), and run onboard programs called "apps", among other things. There's too many design compromises involved in doing all of these so it's going to do all of those roles poorly. "Jackass of all trades." You want a good GPS, you should be buying a dedicated GPS receiver. I mean videophones were tried in the 1960s and never caught on, so it's never going to work. This is 2016 why are we still trying to do something that didn't work in the 1960s. It's never going to work, everybody's going to stick with voice calls, they've worked for 100 years, they're proven technology, people are going to want something that's already been proven. iPhones are going to cost the world over a trillion dollars, they're the most expensive phone in history. The Russians and the Chinese already have phones that are much better anyway. Anybody who buys an iPhone was obviously bribed to do so, there's no other reason to get one.
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Unread post30 Mar 2016, 18:26

lol vanshilar, it's so true about your multi-role analogy. I think the Iphone is a great comparison because it was the first smart phone to have a great easy to use interface that allowed users to access apps with efficiency.

In the future the f-35 is going to get many new abilities by simply downloading a new software upgrade or in the analogy an "app" This wasn't possible in older fighters, hence the disconnect for people. They just havn't realized what's possible with the software yet
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Unread post30 Mar 2016, 19:12

vanshilar wrote:
blindpilot wrote:For example the "manufacturer" Apple would say the iPhone has a GPS sensor that can tell you where you are, and use it to work with maps.


OT but there's no way anybody's going to want to buy an iPhone. I've been told by the internet over and over that as soon as you go multirole, you're sunk. ... they're the most expensive phone in history. The Russians and the Chinese already have phones that are much better anyway. Anybody who buys an iPhone was obviously bribed to do so, there's no other reason to get one.


LOL, great summary.

I'll continue to use this thread to point out some points on "paradigms," how things work.

I mentioned I designed and programmed some factory robotics "systems." I'll use this to show what a
"System" of systems is.

Previously, (and even today in many factories still) to change the production plan, you had to shut down the robots, take them off line (ie. not making any products per hour - bad thing!), then reprogram the robots. Test them offline, to make sure the little robot car didn't crash into the accounting offices (true story really happened). Then bring the system back on line, to "make twice as many fan belts this month." The programming was often complex detail level ladder logic at the device levels. Every time you wanted to change the output.

A system - of systems, does things differently. You create virtual blocks (little systems) with higher level interfaces. This might be little more than creating command sets of very complex "functions." Then you collect these systems into a "system" or paradiigm of operations. This may be something as basic as "make the car go forward." these blocks are collected into higher level function/systems such as "make the car go to Station one." The "car" for these command sets is actually virtual and is connected via "drivers" for specific devices.

When you build systems like this a whole new level of operation unfolds. You can literally reprogram/operate with such thoughts as "we need twice as many fan belts." More than this you can get high level input with requests such as "Gather ever how many buckets of rubber are over there."

These are very powerful when it comes to doing something productive. It is like driving a car, only instead of stepping on the clutch, shifting the lever, releasing the brake, and then releasing the clutch and steadily add gas pedal while steering ... etc. etc.. instead of that you tell the driverless car, "Go to grandma's house." and .... it tells you ..

"Not until you fasten your seatbelt, I won't !!!!"

Just like the iPhone, a system of systems like this creates an entirely new paradigm of engaging the issues of the system. It can even go "outside the box."

Outside the Box

This is the part the F-22 guys and Marines are trying to tell us. They don't really know yet, what is outside the box. With this new system I might tell the factory robot, go the shortest way to the fan belt machine with the rubber. It MIGHT decide that the best way is to go out the building in door one and in the building at door 5, instead of going all the way around the horseshoe hallway. When the stealth platforms created systems of world awareness, (to map the stealth effect) such as radars in the environment, threat libraries, range boundaries, and environment templates, it introduced "doors going out the building." The F-22/35 system works outside the box even when it is doing normal 4th gen type work.

All we need to understand is that the F-22/35 system of SA is outside the box, and we (the users, f-22/35 pilots, and commanders) don't even know yet what is outside that box .... but we know because we saw it happen .. it can get the car from point A to point B three times faster than going down the hall, and we haven't even determined what that means yet.

Systems of systems are radically different than collections of stove pipe capabilities.

And no, 4th ++ Gen Aircraft do not have this type of "fusion of systems." They still use the basic 4th Gen framework of operating.

FWIW,
BP
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Unread post30 Mar 2016, 19:53

hornetfinn wrote:Could you tell what more advanced technologies any 4th gen fighter has that F-22 lacks besides IRST?


You mean besides JDTIS vs MIDS, lack of HMD, a pending MODE 5 IFF capability for example?

hornetfinn wrote:All sensor fusion engines give tracks as outputs but the methods to get there are different.

What 4++ gen (Rafale, EF Typhoon for example) sensor fusion does is:
1. Pilot operates and tasks the sensors how he sees fit.
2. Datalink shared tracks between fighters within seconds from commencing tracking and update interval is usually several seconds so accuracy is pretty poor for sensor fusion
3. Each sensor generate detections and correlates them to tracks inside the sensor. ID is done by individual sensors if possible.
4. Tracks from each sensor is sent to sensor fusion engine
5. Sensor fusion engine correlates tracks to single displayed track file.
6. Single track is displayed to pilot



5th gen sensor fusion works differently:
1. Sensor fusion engine tasks the sensors automatically
2. High-speed intra-flight datalinks (IFDL and MADL) share sensor data between aircraft very quickly and target data accuracy is very high and up-to-date.
2. Each sensor sends all the information they generate to sensor fusion engine after some preprocessing. Each sensor can still generate detections and tracks by themselves also if tasked by sensor fusion engine
3. Threat libraries and other such data are used by sensor fusion for example to ID targets from all the sensor data available
4. Sensor fusion engine generates detections from all the sensor data and correlates them to tracks
5. Single track is displayed to pilot


That's 1. a mere listing that doesn't distinguish between what individual platforms are capable of and 2. not entirely accurate with regards to what the sensor fusion process looks like on the Typhoon or Rafale for example. I can't say too much about the Rafale here, though there is some evidence that it performs better in this field than Typhoon does. The DL limitations in their present form are granted, as are the limitations of the M-Scan radar onboard the aircraft, but ID fusion is done by these aircraft's fusion engine as well with the ID data being weighed according to mission data tuneable rules to produce a reliable single target type identity and allegiance. The tasking of the sensors is to some extend automated as well, but not fully automated. One also needs to detail what tasks exactly are automated, but that's apparently something which goes into the realms of classification and that's the problem with this discussion in general, generic statements and buzz words are thrown around but little apparent detail is provided to actually work out the actual differences and not the gross unspecific listing on the slides of one manufacturer's presentation.

hornetfinn wrote:I don't see any difference to fusing tracks. There might similarly be no subsequent detection or that closely spaced targets are erraneously fused. It depends on sensor fusion algoritms to handle such problems. Actually fusing at lower level gives a lot more tools to handle them, although it's admittedly more difficult to do properly.


If you have a track you have a confirmed target, ofcourse you can lose that one, but if you have a single detection you have an intermediate bearing and/or range only which is static by nature. Only through the correlation of succesive detections it is actually possible to determine a target's velocity, closure rate, heading etc., also enabling the fusion engine and/or sensor to calculate a track's likely position within the next scan frame. Arguably initiating tracks is not to difficult for an AESA radar or starring IIR array and almost instant. The building of tracks within a centralized place still requires processing to be performed on all individual sensor detections, whether that's done by distributed units or within a single unit doesn't make too much of a difference. But yes there is one particular advantage of doing it this way you may use spurious sensor detections to update existing tracks, whereas such detections would be displayed as such or surpressed altogether when the processing is done elsewhere but no correlation with existing tracks would occur. Raw detections could however also be passed to the fusion engine without further processing in theory, there is no apparent technical limitation that would prevent this within a distributed architecture. The main difference between the federated and distributed systems architecture is that in the former case the processing cards are spread across multiple LRIs, whereas in the latter case they are cramed into a single LRI. You still have the distribution of data processing among the different modules that's why for example there are 66 slots per ICP on the F-22.
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Unread post30 Mar 2016, 20:12

Scorpion do you honestly believe that in 5 years after the raptor gets a helmet and a 5th to 5th datalink, and a mode 5 iff that this discussion will even be relevant....honestly wake me up when the uk retrofits most of their typhoons with an AESA radar. The raptor had one in 03
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