FY13 STUDY TORS

USAF Scientific Advisory Board
Airborne Networking and Communications for Contested Environments
Terms of Reference

Background
Current and future USAF operations require robust airborne communications and datalinks. While fifth generation USAF tactical aircraft have intra-flight communication capability, their ability to communicate with different aircraft types and platforms is limited even in permissive environments. While legacy USAF aircraft have communication and networking capability in benign environments, those capabilities are at risk in contested environments. Fragility of communication lines can also undermine command and control capabilities and the capabilities needed for joint operations such as the Air-Sea Battle concept. A number of challenges exist to achieving more robust and diverse communication and datalink capabilities, including design and installation of the necessary apertures on signature managed aircraft, standardization of waveforms and formats, and testing and evaluation of advanced concepts, such as gateways, protocols, or waveforms. Overcoming these challenges is critical to maximizing the effectiveness and survivability of CAF aircraft.

Charter
This study will:
  • Review the airborne communication and networking technologies now in use on CAF aircraft, the characteristics of other nodes with which they communicate, and other mature, proposed, and development airborne networking technologies such as gateway systems.
  • Assess the characteristics, such as bandwidth and link range, needed by CAF aircraft as a function of the various missions they currently or are planned to participate in within specific scenarios including highly contested environments. Highlight gaps in current capability as a function of the mission types.
  • Review current and projected commercial and advanced communication technologies that might be beneficial in realizing a more capable airborne communication layer.
  • Identify and recommend promising technologies and systems for near and mid-term implementation in fifth generation and other CAF aircraft to enable cross-platform and reach-back communications. Consider basic infrastructure needed, system bandwidth,robustness to denial, spoofing, and jamming of the communication system or of needed support systems such as GPS. Assess the order of magnitude of potential integration costs.
  • Identify and recommend promising mid and far term technologies for research and development efforts to enable more capable future airborne communication and networking.
Study Products
Briefing to SAF/OS & AF/CC in July 2013. Publish report in December 2013.

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USAF Scientific Advisory Board
EO/IR and Laser Threat Warning and Countermeasures
Terms of Reference
 
Background
Recent advances in threat EO/IR detection and tracking systems have created additional risk for USAF aircraft. Special Operations Forces (SOF) and Air Mobility Command aircraft operating at lower altitudes face an emerging threat from ground-based detection, tracking, and missile guidance systems which have become night-capable and are being implemented on the newest generation of threat systems as well as being retrofitted to older systems. In the future, similar advances may be seen in airborne threat systems which could pose a threat to a variety of USAF platforms. An ACTD called Day/Night EO/IR Tracker Countermeasures (DETCM) is assessing the effectiveness of a laser scanning system for threat detection of ground-based EO trackers and shows some promise. However, a comprehensive study is needed to examine current and projected technologies for EO/IR detection and tracking technology which could be employed by ground-based and airborne threats to define the required capabilities needed to detect and counter these threats.

Charter
The study will:
 
  • Review available information on fielded and projected threat EO, IR, and laser detection and tracking systems and assess USAF aircraft vulnerabilities to those systems.
  • Identify the likely growth capabilities for those threat systems.
  • Identify material and non-material solutions for detecting the presence of EO/IR threat detection and tracking systems.
  • Define/describe a range of operational concepts and environments in which the threat detection systems are likely to be used in order to assess operational effects on system integration and performance.
  • Review the ongoing DETCM ACTD, which focuses on a QRC capability, and other relevant countermeasure efforts for viability and recommend any needed program changes.
  • Identify key technologies and maturation roadmaps to enable both threat detection and countering of the threat, particularly by directed energy systems.
Study Products
Briefing to SAF/OS & AF/CC in July 2013. Publish report in December 2013.

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USAF Scientific Advisory Board
Microsatellite Mission Applications
Terms of Reference

Background
During the last decade, small satellites (< 500 kg), micro-satellites (< 200 kg) and nano-satellites (< 20 kg) have been designed, tested and flown to demonstrate their feasibility. Technology is such that these classes of satellites can be considered within the state of the art for use by both individual researchers as well as planners of Air Force military operations. A review of the potential uses of these classes of satellites is needed to understand their utility for a variety of mission applications that include, but are not limited to, augmentation of current capabilities, delivery of a unique stand-alone capability, rapid reconstitution of capability, support of larger satellites (e.g., inspection, servicing, repurposing, assembly), and timely and cost-effective maturation of new technologies. If envisioned savings in acquisition time and cost can be realized, new mission architectures may be plausible such as production line development, fractionated clusters, reconfigurable constellations, and highly resilient networks.

Charter
The study will:
  • Review the current and future state of micro/nano-satellite technology in the U.S. and worldwide including bus technology, payload concepts, and test and evaluation infrastructure.
  • Evaluate the viability of using micro/nano-satellites for USAF relevant capabilities or as a threat to USAF systems. In particular, focus on the feasibility for specific missions of disaggregating capabilities currently implemented in a single larger payload across multiple smaller satellites.
    • Identify potential mission payloads, their capabilities and lifecycle costs incomparison to conventional satellites.
    • Evaluate potential mission applications for a single system or for multiple systems including constellations and fractionated satellites. Consider the benefits of fractionation on system survivability.
    • Evaluate concepts of operations including DT&E, launch, deployment, and on-orbit command and control.
  • Identify S&T gaps between current capabilities and future USAF needs and roadmap the developments required to close these gaps. Focus on those technologies which have near term applicability or which are needed broadly across the satellite class such as ground communications and control.
Study Products
Briefing to SAF/OS & AF/CC in July 2013. Publish report in December 2013.