Building a Family of Systems

JB Langley-Eustis, Va. Plans to develop the capabilities called for in the Air Superiority 2030 study will be in place this summer, Gen. Herbert J. “Hawk” Carlisle, commander of Air Combat Command, told Air Force Magazine on Thursday. Some capabilities already being developed—including layered aerial networking—will be ready sooner than others, Carlisle said, and will be put to use on legacy systems before a new penetrating, counter-air platform that will derive from the Air Superiority 2030 plan is fielded. Speaking before the audience at the Air Force Association Langley Chapter’s Airpower Symposium at JB Langley-Eustis, Va., Carlisle said everything the US military does is predicated on air superiority and the year-long study found penetrating and stand-off capabilities are needed to maintain dominance. Early on in development, he said, planners will consider how to keep the “family of systems” networked across mission space rather just platform to platform. “Think about it,” he said. “F-22, F-35—vacuums of information, greatest airplanes in the world. If we could off-board everything those airplanes know in real-time into [command and control] and the common operating picture, think of the value of that.” Planners, Carlisle said, will also work to rapidly develop the new capabilities. “As we look at our threat out there, and we look at the challenges we’re facing, we’re doing everything in our power to figure out how to attack it and how get better at it, and how to do things differently to affect the battlespace,” he told Air Force Magazine.