US: The US Air Force is collaborating with industry leaders to upgrade its military airborne network, with a greater emphasis on open, flexible and wireless systems operating in difficult environments. The Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) has posted a solicitation on the FedBizOps website asking for white papers to support the research, design, and development of technologies for airborne networking for use in improving its aerial layer communications.
Aerial layer networking operates as a framework guiding the Air Force in designing and implementing systems to maintain air and cyber space superiority, according to the Air Force. In one example, the Air Force has recently been working on the Joint Aerial Layer Network, which would allow data from the fighter network to be utilized by ground forces. The programme was originally designed to ensure that fifth-generation fighter aircraft like the F-35 and F-22 would be able to share information with fourth-generation fighters such as the F-16 and F-15. AFRL is looking to upgrade current aerial layer networks. The main concern is that current networks have limited combat effectiveness in contested, degraded, operationally limited and anti-access area denial environments where communications may be unavailable. The upgrades would require significant changes to the attributes of the current network, taking the network: From platform- and link-centric network to network-of-networks centric; from self-contained to open; from preplanned to flexible and ad hoc; from components for wired and static applications to those designed for wireless and dynamic uses.
Source: Defense systems