Boeing Defense, Space & Security2008-05-19 15:32:22

Boeing-SAIC Team, Future Combat Systems Program Play Key Roles in Joint Expeditionary Force Experiment 2008

Boeing and Science Applications International Corp., the Lead Systems Integrator (LSI) for the U.S. Army's Future Combat Systems (FCS) program, today announced that FCS played a pivotal role in the U.S. Air Force-led Joint Expeditionary Force Experiment 2008 (JEFX 08), marking an important step toward integrating critical FCS technologies into the current force.

JEFX, conducted biennially in select lab and field environments at U.S. military facilities across the United States, is a multinational, multi-service military experiment intended to accelerate the research, development and fielding of new combat systems. The experiment, divided into four separate events, or "spirals," culminated in April with a field demonstration designed to test full joint connectivity and situational awareness in an operational setting.
FCS represented the Army's main effort in JEFX 08, forming the ground component of JEFX by enabling near real-time threat data to be made available on the network and enabling shared situational awareness between ground and air assets. The joint exercise provided one of the first opportunities to test the functionality and applicability of FCS technologies designed for the first "spin out" of capabilities to the current force in 2008. It also tested the maturity of network systems in a realistic environment.

"JEFX 08 provided an assessment that informs the FCS program of accomplishments and issues in mitigating both program and technical risk," said Craig Brown, FCS LSI experiment lead for Boeing. "All experiment objectives were successfully met or exceeded, FCS system and network maturity were validated, and we were able to demonstrate the tremendous leap in capabilities that FCS will provide compared with the current force."

One of the greatest FCS successes was shared situational awareness and the ability to call for joint network fires to engage a target that FCS sensors acquired in real- and near real-time, spanning the joint and coalition tactical, operational and strategic operating picture.

The FCS JEFX 08 initiative, which focused on improving network integration -- terrestrial, air and space -- and joint interoperability, builds on previous FCS JEFX initiatives in 2004 and 2006. In JEFX 04, FCS participated with one piece of technology -- the System of Systems Common Operating Environment (SOSCOE). FCS expanded its participation significantly in JEFX 06, by using surrogate command and control vehicles equipped with SOSCOE, battle command software, prototype Unattended Ground Sensors, and pre-engineering development model Joint Tactical Radio System (JTRS) radios to conduct terrestrial network integration and interoperability experimentation. In JEFX 08, FCS deployed its most mature SOSCOE and Battle Command software to date, more mature JTRS radios and early prototype Warfighter Information Network-Tactical radios, and utilized FCS prototype hardware and complementary systems to demonstrate improved network integration, assured connectivity and joint and coalition interoperability among other capabilities.

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