May 2005 
Volume 04, Issue 1 
Integrated Defense Systems

Something in the air

Boeing in step with U.S. Air Force's transformation policy


Just as successful business owners must continuously adapt to economic changes, the U.S. Air Force (along with the rest of the military) is rapidly transforming itself to adapt to profound changes in modern warfare. In a post–Cold War security environment—and particularly since the 2001 terrorist attacks in the United States—the Air Force's challenge is how to maintain broad and sustained advantages over potential adversaries that are becoming more amorphous.

Air Force Systems at a glance

Vision: Boeing—The preferred supplier, integrator and teammate of the air force customer

Employees: 23,000

Programs: More than 70

Major sites (more than 500 employees):

  • Alabama: Decatur
  • California: Anaheim, Edwards Air Force Base, Huntington Beach, Long Beach
  • Florida: Cape Canaveral
  • Georgia: Macon
  • Kansas: Wichita
  • Missouri: St. Louis
  • Ohio: Heath
  • Washington state: Puget Sound region

Business units:

  • Airborne Intelligence Surveillance and Reconnaissance
  • Airlift and Tankers
  • Battle Management Command, Control, Communications and Strategic Systems
  • Expendable Launch Systems
  • Global Strike Solutions
  • Space Systems
In step with this transformation, the Air Force Systems business unit of Boeing Integrated Defense Systems is delivering enhanced platforms and new capabilities-driven solutions to fulfill the priorities of the U.S. Air Force.

AFS, led by senior vice president George Muellner, features more than 70 individual programs. Whether they are in the execution, development or competition phase, each program supports one of four strategies that drive AFS.

"Our goal of becoming the preferred supplier, integrator and teammate of the Air Force is dependent upon our ability to get in front of them with multiple options, being proactive and anticipating their needs rather than simply reacting after the fact," Muellner said.

To achieve that goal, AFS has designed four basic strategies. Each strategy has been crafted "to deliver quality products and services that give warfighters the tools and technology they need to prevail in the face of today's disconcerting security environment," Muellner said.

Here's a look at each strategy.

Global Effects

AFS' Global Effects strategy is to provide solutions that allow warfighters to dominate the battlefield and design campaign actions based on broad national-security outcomes, rather than merely attacking targets to defeat adversaries. It is about achieving an ultimate effect rather than focusing on an individual platform's abilities. The core requirement for effects-based operations is accurate intelligence and the ability to get that intelligence to the right place at the right time—or, network-enabled platforms and systems.

To this end, AFS is upgrading the current B-1B bomber and the F-15 fighter to be network-enabled. It's also working with the Air Force to help formulate the requirements for a long range/global strike system to eventually replace legacy bombers (B-52, B-1 and B-2).

Something in the airAlso promising to revolutionize the warfighter's effectiveness is the Joint Unmanned Combat Air System X-45—the first unmanned plane designed to fly combat missions. Controlled by a pilot on the ground, the X-45 will raid enemy targets and engage in airborne combat. It incorporates next-generation stealth technologies and employs precision-guided weapons such as Joint Direct Attack Munitions and Small Diameter Bombs—both produced or being developed by AFS.

JDAM is a low-cost kit that converts existing, unguided, free-fall bombs into accurately guided "smart" bombs. The JDAM uses a computer-navigation system and global-satellite-positioning data to pinpoint targets. The SDB, currently in development, is a 250-pound (113-kilogram) class, near-precision-guided bomb launched from a fighter bomber or an unmanned aircraft that can destroy targets from a range of more than 40 miles (64.4 kilometers) and penetrate more than three feet (91 centimeters) of steel-reinforced concrete. The smaller size of these optimized weapons enables more to be carried on each aircraft.

Finally, AFS has played a major role since 1958 in the production and maintenance of guidance and control systems for U.S. Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles. Today, the Minuteman ICBM remains the land-based segment of the U.S. strategic nuclear triad of land-based missiles, submarine-based missiles and long-range bombers. To extend the missile's service life through 2020, AFS is replacing the missile's guidance system electronics.

Integrated Knowledge–Based Decision Making

Something in the airFor commanders to make accurate and timely decisions on the battlefield, they need an environment in which all platforms, subsystems and personnel from all levels and branches of the military are connected through one common network. In this environment, all "nodes" also need near-real-time access to accurate, protected information. The result: Military leaders and frontline warfighters can make informed decisions faster than adversaries can respond.

Two key AFS programs in development that promise to enable this integrated tactical battlespace are the Joint Tactical Radio System and the Family of Advanced Beyond Line-of-Sight Terminals (FAB-T). JTRS is the world's first software-defined tactical radio and is part of the U.S. Department of Defense's effort to upgrade and connect all of its various radio platforms. A software-defined radio is similar to a personal computer in that it can perform various functions depending on what software is loaded. Thus, a software-defined radio, with one set of hardware and a variety of software applications, can perform multiple tasks across the frequency spectrum. FAB-T technology will then connect JTRS links to satellite links, permitting international connectivity.

AFS is also working to consolidate its leadership in network-centric operations with its Joint Effects–Based Command and Control concept. JEBC2 is being designed to take the system-to-system common operating environment layers (a network-centric standard) and other information provided to a machine and find potential applications across the industry for the information that warfighters can use. While systems like JTRS, FAB-T and Wideband Gapfiller Satellite supply the connectivity, JEBC2 will provide the framework with which to take coordinated action.

Something in the airWhat's helped Boeing succeed in the growing integrated battlespace market is its wealth of experience in Airborne Intelligence Surveillance and Reconnaissance. Major Air Force Systems AISR programs include the Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS), the Airborne Early Warning and Control System (AEW&C), and the E-10A Multi-Sensor Command and Control Aircraft.

AWACS—the world's standard for airborne battle management command and control early warning systems—supplies tactical and air defense forces with surveillance and command and control communications. It has a 360-degree view of an area and at operating altitudes can detect, identify and display targets more than 200 miles (322 kilometers) away. E-3 AWACS has undergone, and continues to undergo, major upgrades; additional system upgrade opportunities exist with Boeing customers in the United Kingdom, Saudi Arabia, France and Japan.

AEW&C features a powerful new early warning and surveillance system and command and control capabilities. The AEW&C system integrates the Boeing Next Generation 737-700 platform with a Multimode Electronically Scanned Array radar. This system is under development. The first of six AEW&C aircraft deliveries to the Royal Australian Air Force is scheduled for 2006, and the first of four aircraft deliveries to the Turkish Air Force is slated for 2007.

Something in the airThe E-10A Multi-Sensor Command and Control Aircraft promises to be a key node in the integrated battlespace. It will provide advanced ground surveillance and cruise missile defense with a robust battle management capability. The E-10A fuses information from many sources to support decision making and decisive, strategic battlefield actions.

Agile Mobility and Logistics

Ongoing conflicts in remote regions of the world have underscored the importance of assured global access. In tactical terms, this can mean providing aerial refueling for long-range strikes from home bases, or delivering ground forces directly to the front line. AFS maintains a dominant position in this market by continuing to invest in products and services that meet warfighters' needs for enhanced tactical mobility, battlefield maneuverability, network connectivity and reduced transport systems to get more materiel and people and systems on the battlefield.

AFS' Airlift and Tanker Programs is the market leader for heavy cargo, tanker and U.S. government/military executive aircraft. A&T uses leading-edge technologies such as software integration, advanced communication/data systems, composite structures, and advanced aerial refueling systems to develop and produce aircraft such as the C-17 Globemaster III airlifter and the KC-767 tanker/transport.

Something in the airThe C-17 is designed to fulfill airlift needs well into the 21st century. A high-wing, four-engine, T-tailed jet transport with a rear-loading ramp, the C-17 can carry large combat equipment and troops or humanitarian aid across international distances directly to small austere airfields anywhere in the world. The KC-767 Tanker—a state-of-the-art aircraft based on the existing Boeing 767 platform—meets the aerial refueling and airlift needs of 21st century air forces.

Integrated Space Operations

The effective use of space assets and the capabilities they provide already are generating unparalleled knowledge of the battlefield. Space platforms warn forces of enemy missile launches. Satellite-based communication networks give ground forces the ability to communicate globally and provide the bandwidth necessary to operate unmanned aerial vehicles.

Something in the airFor the future, Air Force Systems is transforming the arena of the space environment through several programs to better support the warfighter. The Space-Based Surveillance System program will detect and track space objects, such as satellites and orbital debris. The Department of Defense will use data generated by the SBSS to support military operations.

Meanwhile, the Transformational SATCOM Space Segment (TSAT SS) will be a constellation of communications satellites that will dramatically increase the communication bandwidth available to the military. TSAT will be one of the key enablers of the Pentagon's vision for network-centric warfare.

Besides maximizing the frontier of space to strengthen national defense on Earth, Air Force Systems can also reliably deploy space-based assets into orbit. The Delta family of expendable launch vehicles can carry payloads from 2,000- to 28,950-pounds (907 kilograms to 13,100 kilograms) to geosynchronous transfer orbit. With the launch of the Delta IV Heavy in December 2004 and the first flight of a Delta IV from Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif., set for later this year, Boeing is fulfilling its promise to deliver to the Air Force a new launch vehicle with a U.S.-built engine (the Rocketdyne RS-68), heavy-lift launch capability and launch sites on both coasts. In addition, the Delta II, the workhorse of the launch industry, continues to deploy replenishment Global Positioning System satellites to orbit to maintain this critical tracking network.

Military strategists believe effective use of space operations will increasingly not only win wars but also deter them. The capabilities that AFS offers today and is building for the future will help provide that competitive edge to the customer.

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