Scientific Advisory Board Unveils 2016 Studies

The Air Force Scientific Advisory Board on Oct. 9 unveiled its studies for 2016, focusing on directed energy, anti-access/area denial operations, data analytics to support decision making, and responding to uncertain and adaptive threats in electronic warfare. The board, led by former USAF chief scientist and current board chairman Werner Dahm, will first meet in January and finalize its reports in June. The board’s “quick-look” study on directed energy, determining whether a laser-equipped AC-130J is feasible, will finish in April, Dahm said. For the long-term studies, the study of data analytics will examine whether the service can use industry’s lessons learned on challenges with multi-source data and multiple classification levels. The board will examine machine-learning techniques for aircraft to probe, sense, and respond to adaptive electronic threats. The Air Force has had to develop responses to electronic warfare to be uploaded to a platform but future threats could force aircraft to “change their waveforms on the fly,” Dahm said. Lastly, the study of command and control in an A2/AD environment will focus on ways for the Air Force to map a battlespace from afar using emerging technologies such as over-the-horizon radar and uniting pictures from disparate sources if legacy aircraft, such as AWACS, are forced farther away.