|An AV-8B Harrier sits on the deck of the USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6) during Exercise Talisman Sabre 2015. NAWCWD personnel embarked aboard the Bonhomme Richard used Harriers to validate EW systems during the summer exercise. (U.S. Navy photo)|
Point Mugu October 1, 2015 - Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division teams fielded two experiments as Trident Warrior 2015 initiatives during the Talisman Sabre 2015 multinational exercise conducted in the Pacific this summer.
The Trident Warrior program provides a venue to test out new ideas and innovations in a real-world environment. NAWCWD submitted two Electronic Warfare Battle Management (EWBM) experiment proposals to the Naval Warfare Development Command (NWDC) Fleet Experimentation department in 2014. Both were approved for use during Exercise Talisman Sabre 2015, a biennial training activity aimed at improving Australian and U.S. combat readiness and interoperability. The fleet exercise includes international participants from the U.S., Australia, New Zealand and Japan and encompasses dozens of ships, hundreds of platforms and thousands of military personnel.
The first experiment, utilizing a Link 16-enabled EWBM, was conducted by a NAWCWD team comprised of data analysts Steve Fisher and Bob Markham and senior EW systems analyst Les Fierst. Fisher and Markham embarked with Commander Task Force (CTF) 70 and Carrier Strike Group (CSG) 5 aboard USS Antietam (CG 54) and USS George Washington (CVN 73) respectively from June 23 – July 7 as analysts and data collection subject matter experts (SMEs). Fierst provided reach-back event coordination between the CTF-70 staff, Carrier Air Wing 5 aircrew, NWDC, and the embarked SMEs.
The experiment objectives included gathering data on Link 16 EW tracks received by ships from carrier-based aircraft, recording ship combat systems processing of the received tracks and identifying how they are currently being used by the shipboard EW watchstanders.
According to Markham, the team made a number of key observations that will significantly improve Electronic Warfare interoperability between air and surface assets and allow shipboard combat systems to integrate aircraft EW data and increase EWBM capability with Link 16. He expects further data analysis to shed light on other possible tactical data link interoperability concerns that may need to be addressed.
“By furthering EWBM functionality and operational utility with currently fielded systems and capabilities,” Markham said, “our team is supporting the Chief of Naval Operations’ near-term EMW objectives and demonstrating fiscal responsibility in a time of tight budgets.”
The MAGTF EWBM/Navy EWBM experiment team, which included NAWCWD’s EWBW lead Mike Herrera, systems engineers Stephen McIver and Roger Ellis, training lead John Johnson embarked onboard the USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6) as part of Expeditionary Strike Group 7. They had four main questions to answer with their experiment:
1) How does using Integrated MAGTF EWBM (SLQ-32, ALQ-231) impact Navy Operations?
2) What are the planning impacts?
3) Who is the Command and Control for ALQ-231 operations?
4) Where are the Command and Control locations of ALQ-231 operations?
The EWBM team began testing evolutions in early July, conducting dry runs and fully integrated tests that included AV-8B Harriers in flight. This was the first successful control of an airborne EW pod on an AV-8B controlled via IP data link aboard a ship by Navy personnel.
The team was able to successfully integrate Navy and Marine Corps EW systems as well as demonstrate how systems control protocols would operate.
“We gained a lot of insight into how to continue to make the EWBM systems integration better,” Ellis said, “and will be sending back recommendations for future EMW supporting naval capabilities.”
The experiments had the added benefit of allowing engineers a chance to see their systems in action. For those without military experience, like McIver, that part of the event was eye-opening.
“You are told how the military works and read the directives of how missions will be completed,” he said. “However, being there in person while the ship is forward-deployed doing real life missions has given me valuable experience and understanding of military operations.”