F 35 Sensor Fusion and networking

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

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Unread post16 Mar 2017, 00:43

Ok after trying to answer the 9X thread, I`ve decided to detour from the Cell Phone example a little.

There`s a great article that touches on what 5th Gen fusion and networking is all about, and echos some of what Berke has been trying to say about how we think.

Here`s the story.
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the ... 3b887f8924

It`s about wearables, specifically about a new Levis jacket Levis and Google are releasing.

So let`s start - 4th gen thinking. We have all sorts of gizmos these days. Smart Watches, Iwatch, Fitbit etc. and we get them why? Well we start with "What can it do?" And if as with the Fitbit, some customers say, "Cool I I like that, I've always wanted to do that." And the market explodes and subsides, as the "wearable" just becomes another gadget to go with your google glass in the closet.

Now 5th Gen thinking. (IE think F-35)
Levis is going to make a jacket. You don`t ask, "what does it do?" It`s a jacket! You wear it. It`s a jacket for cyclist. It`s kinda stylish. I don`t ask what it can do. I ask, "So what can I do if I had this jacket?" And the answer is you wear it, like when it`s cold when you are biking to work.

Sooooo... the fifth gen question - well what else does it have and what can I do with that. Well, it has a little cpu unit in the cuff link, and the threads are conductive, and it`s smart like maybe a smart coffee pot. And it does computer stuff, talk to other computer stuff, and it can play on your bluetooth headset, and just normal technology stuff.

And I begin to ponder ... what can I do with that jacket? I can find the directions, I can swipe my sleeve to .... hmmm... there could be a lot of things I could do with this ...

That`s 5th Gen. What can I do with this,(it could keep me dry and warm, help update me on info, get directions on my bike without dropping my phone in the puddle) not what can it do.(how fast, how high, how far)

It`s just a jacket! What it does is "be a jacket." It is not a new wearable gizmo.

FWIW
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les_paul59

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Unread post16 Mar 2017, 04:08

Thx blind pilot for the heads up
Last edited by les_paul59 on 16 Mar 2017, 12:11, edited 1 time in total.
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blindpilot

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Unread post16 Mar 2017, 05:05

les_paul59 wrote:A basement dweller manifesto
http://www.nationalreview.com/article/4 ... ightweight
....


Already posted and discussed in the More stupidity thread.
viewtopic.php?f=22&t=52860
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popcorn

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Unread post20 Apr 2017, 00:30

This looks to provide the sensor fusion advantage to all sort of platforms, including drones. Sensor data to be pre-digested prior to sharing allowing for a more expansive SA picture of the battle space ie. a Common Combat Picture.


https://defensesystems.com/articles/201 ... ensor.aspx

Pentagon evaluates new Lockheed Multi-INT sensor technology

Pentagon weapons developers are analyzing emerging airborne sensor technology designed to fuse and organize data from multiple sources to provide faster and more accurate intelligence information.

Lockheed Martin is testing computer processing improvements to an Airborne Multi-INT Lab (AML) technology which integrates electro-optical sensors with synthetic aperture radar and other kinds of electronic intelligence gathering mechanisms to expedite the delivery of decision-quality intelligence, a company statement said.

The AML system, which has been tested at altitudes from 15,000 feet to 40,000 feet, is currently configured to fly from a Gulfstream business jet; however, in the future, Lockheed plans to work closely with the military services to equip drones and fixed-wing aircraft with the technology.
"When a fifth-generation fighter meets a fourth-generation fighter—the [latter] dies,”
CSAF Gen. Mark Welsh
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Unread post03 Jul 2018, 09:53

viewtopic.php?f=58&t=12237&p=397268&hilit=Fusion#p397268

Dragon029 wrote:Air System Design Papers:
F-35 Information Fusion 6.2018-3520.pdf


This document seems to offer some very interesting new info about F-35 sensor fusion system and capabilties. It definitely gives some insight to the references about "God's eye view" comments coming from pilots. F-35 just has some immense advances in sensor fusion:

1. Sensor measurements are fused, the system basically uses all the sensors as one enormously capable sensor.

2. Sensor data from other F-35s coming through MADL is something extraordinary in quality and quantity compared to legacy data links making flight(s) of F-35s far more powerful in gathering and sharing information than without it

3. Combat Identification system that is probably closer to E-3 AWACS in capabilities than legacy fighters. In some ways it probably exceeds even AWACS due to having EO/IR and higher frequency radar system along being able to get closer.

4. Autonomous sensor manager is like having Superman as your RIO/WSO. This means the system can use all the sensors to their fullest all the time and makes the sensor system far quicker to detect/track/ID targets. It likely also makes target tracks much more robust and improves their quality in difficult situations. Without this capability much of the sensor capability in F-35 would be lost as human being would not be able to manage all that for long.

I think the sensor fusion system in F-35 improves both lethality and survivability so much that it's really difficult to understand. Sensor fusio along with VLO stealth also makes F-35 incredibly important ISR asset for higher command. I think the most limiting factor now are the weapons and their capabilties.
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Unread post04 Jul 2018, 16:56

When looking at how things were or are done in legacy systems, you often needed 2 crew to manage the radar ground mapping and FLIR/Laser Spot Tracker for guiding in PGMs.

The A-6E and F-111F come to mind with TRAM and PAVE TAC, as well as the radar ground mapping. There was also the job of navigation before GPS, updated with radar GM shots to set up on your terrain feature attack point.

Moving map displays and GPS were game-changers in that regard, as was Digital Signal Processing.

The comment about having Superman as your WSO really sets the template for what this system of systems brings to bear. I think about the F-15E crew, the pilot with that WFOV HUD fed from the LANTIRN NAV Pod FLIR, then the WSO and his 4 MPD/MPCDs managing the radar for GM, checking air threats maybe, navigating, and driving the Targeting pod with his 2 joysticks and switchology.

Image

No matter how much of a superman you put in the WSO seat, he'll never be able to keep up with the F-35's Quad redundant CPU, and the multi-spectral, hemispherical sensor suite.

Then factor in that the system is just vacuuming up RF, IR, and MWIR emissions around it, and sharing that high fidelity data with high volume throughput with every other F-35 via layered comms, and it starts to hit home what this thing is.

These new Lieutenants that strap into the F-35 are generally unaware of the generations of incremental legacy technology and pilot/air planner wish lists that have culminated in this system. The evolution from Gen 1.0-1.5, then 2.0-2.5, 3.0-3.5, and 4.0-4.5 were vast leaps in technological achievement in their own right. Even the F-86 auto radar-ranging, gyro gunsight is an engineering marvel over the manual ranging P-51 gyro gunsight.

Look at the difference of an F-16A Block 1-5, then F-16C 25, F-16C 40, and Block 50, or F-15A vs F-15E or F-15C/APG-63(V)3 AESA with Link 16. Those were huge changes within a generation that pilots describe as, "I don't know what we did before we had (AESA/Link 16/IPE/AMRAAM/FLIR Pods...).

This is something else. It's like having 10 AWACS radar station operators, 8 F-15E WSOs, 2 flights of the best F-15C drivers running their AESAs, 4 Sparkvark EWOs, 2 B-1B EWOs, 2 A-10C drivers working as FAC-As, and who knows who else working for you at super computer speeds and precision, while you just decide what to do with their help.
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Unread post05 Jul 2018, 01:55

hornetfinn wrote:http://www.f-16.net/forum/viewtopic.php?f=58&t=12237&p=397268&hilit=Fusion#p397268

Dragon029 wrote:Air System Design Papers:
F-35 Information Fusion 6.2018-3520.pdf


This document seems to offer some very interesting new info about F-35 sensor fusion system and capabilties. It definitely gives some insight to the references about "God's eye view" comments coming from pilots. F-35 just has some immense advances in sensor fusion:

1. Sensor measurements are fused, the system basically uses all the sensors as one enormously capable sensor.

2. Sensor data from other F-35s coming through MADL is something extraordinary in quality and quantity compared to legacy data links making flight(s) of F-35s far more powerful in gathering and sharing information than without it

3. Combat Identification system that is probably closer to E-3 AWACS in capabilities than legacy fighters. In some ways it probably exceeds even AWACS due to having EO/IR and higher frequency radar system along being able to get closer.

4. Autonomous sensor manager is like having Superman as your RIO/WSO. This means the system can use all the sensors to their fullest all the time and makes the sensor system far quicker to detect/track/ID targets. It likely also makes target tracks much more robust and improves their quality in difficult situations. Without this capability much of the sensor capability in F-35 would be lost as human being would not be able to manage all that for long.

I think the sensor fusion system in F-35 improves both lethality and survivability so much that it's really difficult to understand. Sensor fusio along with VLO stealth also makes F-35 incredibly important ISR asset for higher command. I think the most limiting factor now are the weapons and their capabilties.


I am not an expert, but I was certainly fascinated by it--thanks for pointing it out. I keyed on the part that noted
The goal is not to drive each track to the best accuracy, but to instead drive it to sufficient accuracy and information content. In practice, for situational awareness, there is a level of component accuracy (e.g., range, angle) where the information is sufficient to support the pilot’s understanding of the environment to decide. Additional accuracy beyond this point does not significantly improve the pilot’s awareness or decision-making ability.


I would think that this would have the impact that the amount of energy being directed to any one location would be minimized and that balance of passive to active sensor utilization would be biased to a more passive mix as more sensors (more platforms) were added to the network--reducing the uncertainty and the need to radiate (to reduce uncertainty). Coupling this with the fact that as there are more platforms networked together, the amount of energy being directed from any one platform by the Autonomous Sensor Management is reduced.

By the same token, as the number or networked F-35s decreases the remaining ones would become more vulnerable due to having to become more active with their sensors to have the same awareness. . . . . perhaps to the point of needing to retreat / regroup.

I would think the same thing would be true with networked IAD system is its numbers are reduced. . . but it can't retreat.

The whole probability approach was really interesting. Apologies in advance is this has been discussed to death in the past (and I am just now realizing the importance of effectively diluting the emitters into the background). I just think it is very cool.
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Unread post05 Jul 2018, 07:04

Totally agree lrrpf52. I think we are just starting to understand just how powerful the F-35 sensor fusion and networking really is. Some of the quotes about F-35 from their pilots and program officials just start to make even more sense. Like General Hostage said:

Hostage: You mean the re-norming air operations, if I were to steal a term? Well, I was fortunate to fly the airplane; I learned what I didn’t know.

I was writing war plans in my previous job as a three star using the F-22s in a manner that was not going to get the most out of them that I could’ve because I didn’t truly understand the radical difference that the fifth gen could bring.

People focus on stealth as the determining factor or delineator of the fifth generation. It isn’t; it’s fusion. Fusion is what makes that platform so fundamentally different than anything else. And that’s why if anybody tries to tell you hey, I got a 4.5 airplane, a 4.8 airplane, don’t believe them. All that they’re talking about is RCS (Radar Cross Section).

Fusion is the fundamental delineator. And you’re not going to put fusion into a fourth gen airplane because their avionic suites are not set up to be a fused platform. And fusion changes how you use the platform.


This is so true. People often focus on stealth and beating it would make F-35s just targets, even though sensor fusion system (including networking) is even more profound change. Even if F-35 had 4th gen RCS, it would still be immensely powerful system with the level of SA it can produce with all those sensors and sensor fusion. It doesn't do it just for the pilot of one F-35, but all the F-35s, F-22s, all 4th gen aircraft and all other assets and higher command. Of course VLO stealth is huge thing and can not be underestimated.
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Unread post29 Aug 2018, 17:14

maus92 wrote:Spoken like a man who mainly flew the F/A-18A+ dinosaur (and not a Block II Super Hornet)....

His argument is most a Red Herring. The problem knowledgeable critics have with the F-35 is not with it's avionics and the new capabilities and higher level of systems integration they (will eventually) bring, it's with the overall management and expense of the program, and the collateral damage it's acquisition inflicts across the many other programs the Marines and the department must fund. It is as simple as that.

He entered the fleet long after A model hornets had been relegated to reserve and stored status.

Many Desert Storm pilots were flying F/A-18C Models opening night in 1991, like the guys who shot down MiG-21s and Charlie miked on their strike sortie, as well as their senior Squadron mate who was shot down by the MiG-25PD. Berke entered the fleet after that, and deployed to enforce No-Fly Zones, and took out a SAM site with one of the first F/A-18C JDAM combat deliveries, if not the first.

He went on to be a Strike Fighter Tactics Instructor up at Fallon, and flew the F-16 adversary and Hornet there, before becoming a ground FAC with ANGLICO, deploying to Ramadi for OIF in direct combat operations on the ground working with Navy SOF assets.

He then went on to be part of the USMC lead transition into JSF, flying the F-22A with the USAF in order to help manage that transition into 5th Gen aircraft, before becoming the first USMC pilot to fly the F-35B. I know of no fighter pilots with a comparable resume to that. He's really the first person with internal knowledge of the F-35 that caught my attention and fundamentally changed how I looked at the F-35 program.

He said as a Top Gun instructor, he could beat student pilots with one hand tied behind his back and almost asleep. In the F-22A, new USAF Raptor pilots with less than 200hrs were smoking him regularly for 6 months, which was the worst experience in his fighter pilot career. Imagine having a career of experience including combat deployments and Top Gun Instructor duty for 3 years, and now having to de-brief after every sortie with rookie pilots who killed you again, and what mistakes you made, being explained to you by the new 20-something-year-old...for 6 months straight.

Sensor fusion is what created that revolution, not maneuverability, speed, or any old metric. We've entered a world where fighter pilot experience, even decades of experience, is trumped by the technology that a new pilot can bring to the fight. He summed it up succinctly by saying he was using his Hornet brain and habits, whereas the new F-22 pilots had learned a totally different way to fight given these new capabilities that made 4th Gen habits obsolete.

In the previous generations, Chuck Yeager could take an F-4E or F-5E and still use his experience to win over great pilots in the F-15A or F-15C. That is no longer true. You could give Chuck Yeager the latest and greatest 4th Gen ++++ with AESA, IRST, ESM Suite, HMS/HOBS, and he's going to get pole-axed by a brand new, wet-behind-the-ears F-35 pilot sortie-after-sortie.

As to program management and funding, which is outside of the scope of the focus here (sensor fusion), I say, Compared to what? When they kicked off the AFTI F-16/AESA/LANTIRN/JHMCS/ASPJ/CFT/DFLCS/FADEC/VAAC Harrier/F-117A RCS/Internal Weapons Bay program in 1974?

Nothing this ambitious has been done before. There is no baseline to compare it to. It is its own revolutionary quake in military aviation and aerospace technology because of the synergy of so many systems into one. How would anyone know if it wasn't managed properly? The customers said, "We want a single engine, mass-producible, stealth, multi-mission jet with internal weapons bays that doesn't have all the problems we've seen in 4th Gen jets, that can defeat current and emerging threat systems over the 40 years of operational life."

Each one of those requirements has real implications and meaning. While some people might have been thinking small, the momentum of technological progress in each parameter had such inertia that no matter what, the end product was destined to be something much bigger than what anybody expected in terms of capabilities.
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lrrpf52

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Unread post29 Aug 2018, 17:18

One of the best images I've come across that shows Interleaved Sensor Fusion:

Image
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Unread post29 Aug 2018, 17:31

Sprinkle in some BACN and this is where we're headed :)

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Unread post29 Aug 2018, 18:40

SpudmanWP wrote:Sprinkle in some BACN and this is where we're headed :)

Image


I see that, consider how thoroughly and effortlessly China has penetrated secure networks in the US, and it gives me the chills.
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Unread post30 Aug 2018, 09:28

sferrin wrote:I see that, consider how thoroughly and effortlessly China has penetrated secure networks in the US, and it gives me the chills.


Penetrating networks that are connected to Internet is not that problematic as there is easy connection to them and usually a lot of weak spots along with almost endless amount of time to hack into them. Security measures are often pretty simple and stagnant and a lot of people have access to a lot of information. Security is often pretty much an afterthought as data availability, low cost, ease of use and throughput are most important things. Once security measures are breached, hackers will have a lot of time to pull all the data they can find. Pure military networks are very different and are designed to be far more secure and robust. It would be very difficult to even connect to such network.

Here is a good description about the differences: http://www.satelliteevolutiongroup.com/ ... s-2017.pdf

Not to say that military networks could not be penetrated, but it's far more difficult and damage would be more contained as only very limited amount of data would be available in one network.

Another thing is that without networking your assets, overall force will be far less effective. Increasing communications between units and assets has been the trend from the beginning of military operations. So only real option is to design networks and procedures that are secure enough.
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