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“The event that we have coming up April 8 is going to be massive,” Air Force Assistant Secretary for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics Will Roper said at a media roundtable at the Pentagon. Among the new test elements will be live-fire exercises such as taking down an unmanned aerial vehicle, a cruise missile shootdown, and service-wide activities taking place all across the country, including at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida, Nellis AFB, Nevada, Yuma Proving Ground, Arizona, and White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico.
Space X’s Starlink satellites will participate “to a greater degree” in the April exercise, and hopefully connect to additional air- and land-based platforms, Roper said. The Air Force is in talks with Virgin Orbit about including the company’s LauncherOne two-stage orbital launch vehicle in the exercise. “It helps [the company] because they’re thinking through” concepts of operation, Roper said. “It helps us think about, how would the force be different if we’re able to launch satellites on demand?”
As a result of the December demonstration, Air Mobility Command is considering placing the GatewayONE translator on a KC-46A Pegasus aerial refueler, “and hanging it on the tanker so that the tanker can become a translator and has a different role on the battlefield,” he added. “That’s something that wouldn’t exist right now had the first demonstration not been done.”
Northrop Grumman has offered a battle management command and control (BMC2) prototype to the US Air Force (USAF) for use in the development of its Advanced Battle Management System (ABMS) Internet-of-Things (IoT) combat concept.
This prototype, called Distributed Autonomy/Responsive Control (DA/RC), was originally developed 15 years ago for the company’s work on the US Navy (USN) X-47B Unmanned Combat Air System Demonstrator (UCAS-D) programme.