C4iSR: Air

AFA 2019: First Advanced Battle Management System demo set for December

18 September 2019

The US Air Force expects to use a Skyborg low-cost unmanned combat aerial vehicle (UCAV) in December as part of its first Advanced Battle Management System (ABMS) demo. Source: Air Force Research Lab

Key Points

  • The US Air Force expects to perform its first Advanced Battle Management System demonstration in December
  • ABMS is the USAF's new approach to warfare that revolves around seamlessly and ubiquitously sharing information in a robust and reliable fashion

The US Air Force (USAF) will carry out its first demonstration of the Advanced Battle Management System (ABMS) system-of-systems networking concept in December, according to the service's top acquisition official.

Will Roper, assistant secretary of the USAF for acquisition, technology, and logistics (AT&L), told reporters on 17 September at the Air Force Association's (AFA's) annual conference that this demonstration, which he said would be ABMS Step 1, will use a Skyborg low-cost unmanned combat aerial vehicle (UCAV) to connect a Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor and F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) through cloud-based networking and data sharing. It will also connect a handset on the ground such as a computer tablet where a ground operator could interface with the same systems in the sky.

Roper said the USAF wants to carry out this demonstration quickly because it will network high-end and attritable systems with ground operators. He said it is imperative for the USAF to learn how to use these new attritable systems, which are generally lower-cost systems that could be used for a variety of missions and capabilities and that the USAF would be comfortable losing in combat.

The USAF calls Skyborg a vessel for artificial intelligence (AI) technologies that could range from rather simple algorithms to fly the aircraft and control them in airspace to the introduction of more complicated levels of AI to accomplish certain tasks or subtasks of the mission.

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