Lockheed Martin has delivered a prototype integrated air and space command and control (C2) capability to the U.S. Air Force and U.S. Strategic Command (USSTRATCOM), taking the first significant step toward automated access and availability of space information in Air Operations Centers (AOC) around the globe. Delivered to the C2 Transformation Center, Langley Air Force Base, the prototype capability integrates Global Positioning System (GPS) navigation accuracy and satellite overflight information directly into the air battle planning process.
Through the integrated capability, space battle management systems will also have access to the Air Tasking Order (ATO), while the AOC will have similar access to the Space Tasking Order (STO). This move will enable more cohesive planning between air and space command centers, and provides an initial but powerful machine-to-machine data exchange capability that will serve as the foundation for future integration efforts.
The capability was delivered through a $2.8 million task order awarded jointly on Lockheed Martin's Integrated Space Command and Control (ISC2) and Theater Battle Management Core Systems (TBMCS) contracts. ISC2 is a 15-year effort to modernize and integrate 40 systems for space controls, missile defense, and air surveillance for USSTRATCOM and the North American Aerospace Defense Command. TBMCS plans and manages the Joint air battle and is the integrating platform within the AOC.
"This air and space integration effort is a perfect example of how capability-based horizontal integration efforts can yield significant results with minimal cost," said Frank De Lalla, Lockheed Martin's TBMCS Program Director. "With an open architecture and the information services applications built into each system, we're able to allow these applications to talk to each other without having to significantly reconfigure either system."
The new capability enhances the AOC's ability to plan for GPS navigation accuracy in support of precision-guided munitions, giving air battle planners a vastly improved report on GPS accuracy across the battlefield at any given time. That enables AOC operators to plan precision strikes around time periods when GPS accuracy is at its best, helping to ensure that guided munitions strike with the greatest possible precision.
In addition, the AOC will be better able to plan an air campaign against an adversary that could potentially have its own space surveillance capability. With access to space flyover data, AOC planners can determine when enemy satellites are able to view the battlefield and can temporarily cease takeoffs or other ground operations, or conduct operations to mislead the adversary, minimizing the enemy's space intelligence-gathering capability.
"This initial capability creates a foundation for future advancements in air-space integration," said Cliff Spier, Lockheed Martin's ISC2 Program Director. "Once we've firmly established this link and refined the concepts of operations to support it, we'll be able to add on new capabilities over time and further merge air and space operations worldwide."
AOC operators will view space data through the TBMCS-based AOC web portal, while space operators will view the ATO and target nomination data through SBMCS. The air-space integration effort is synchronized with the TBMCS and SBMCS spiral development schedules, and will roll out new capabilities with each new spiral. The next system iteration will support Coalition partner access through a web browser interface.