From the days of radial engines, fabric wings, Von Richthofen and Brown, aerial combat has always been a pilot-versus-pilot situation. The flyer with the quickest reflexes, sharpest vision and most cunning wit won the day.
Not to take anything away from today’s airborne heroes, but in the rapidly emerging irregular aerial battlespace, while reflexes, vision and wit are all still critical for success, the tool that will separate tomorrow’s winners from losers is digital data – lots of it.
Recognizing this growing need, the U.S. Air Force has taken a major step forward by initiating its Mobile User Objective System (MUOS) program, which will deliver a 10-fold increase in the real-time, global digital SATCOM throughput capabilities for all blocks of F-16 Vipers.
What that means is instead of entering a hostile airspace with just the information available from a few sources, MUOS enabled F-16 Viper pilots will be able to seamlessly integrate with, and benefit from, the Air Force’s entire global satellite communications network. This will enable them to receive critical mission information they need from a seemingly endless array of sources – some of which will be located on the other side of the world.
While it may seem like having up to 10-times more data streaming into their cockpits would create the proverbial “drinking out of a fire hose” situation, that isn’t the case. To help pilots reduce their workload in high-stress situations, the Air Force is including the Avalex Technologies new-generation ACM9454V Cockpit Management Unit (CMU) as part of the MUOS upgrade package.
The Avalex CMU will act as a single-point controller for every type of ARC-210 or other radio system that is currently on board the aircraft. This will greatly simplify system operations, while eliminating the need for any additional training on multiple cockpit voice and data communications systems. Instead of searching for the right radio controller, pilots can instead concentrate on the mission at hand.
While the MUOS upgrade is brand new, one of the reasons it was chosen by the Air Force is that our products have been in service aboard a variety of U.S. military aircraft for years. The technology has already proven itself to be the most reliable controller for numerous generations of ARC-210 radios and BAE IFF (Identification Friend or Foe) transponders.
Another benefit that the Avalex Technologies ACM9454V CMU delivers is that it is a commercially off-the-shelf solution, which means that there is no added development time or cost required by the Air Force to integrate the unit into the MUOS package.
That will save the Air Force a lot of time and money – something everyone at Avalex Technologies, as U.S. taxpayers, feels really good about.