Air Superiority: The Sky’s (Not) the Limit
Unlike the days of Maverick and Goose, control of the skies is no longer solely determined by scuffles between fighter jets. Instead, it hinges on an integrated network of high-tech systems.
A Network of Systems
With information moving faster than ever, a unified picture of the battlespace allows the U.S. and its allies to outsmart adversaries and move faster than they can react.
Such is the core principle of multi-domain command and control. It integrates data from a range of sensors on aircraft, radars, weapon systems, ground vehicles and even troops in the field to paint a comprehensive picture. Now, a pilot not only has eyes in the air, but on the ground, under the sea, and up in space.
To outsmart adversaries, our military and allies need timely, actionable information that can be shared across different systems and geographical boundaries. Here at Lockheed Martin, we’re doing this by designing platforms that can control and process information from multiple sensors and defense systems as well as adapt as missions or equipment evolves.
This also makes technology upgrades easier, and most importantly, faster—so we can stay ahead of rapidly advancing adversaries.
Chief of Staff of the U.S. Air Force General Goldfein has the best mindset when it comes to new technology. He routinely states, “Can it connect? Good. Can it share? Better. Can it learn? Perfect.”
A great example of this future focus is the F-35, which is designed to share everything it can see with commanders at sea, in the air or on the ground, providing a comprehensive view of ongoing operations.
The F-35’s advanced sensor fusion enables pilots to draw on information from all of their onboard sensors to create a single integrated picture of the battlefield. All of this information can then be shared with other pilots, assets and command and control operating centers for increased situational awareness.
The F-35 is equipped with a highly advanced active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar, and a long-range targeting system, known as the electro-optical targeting system (EOTS), allowing it to skirt detectability from enemy radar while it searches and tracks targets.
Built with the entire battlespace in mind, the F-35 is bringing new capability and flexibility to the U.S. and its allies.
To ensure our integrated battlespace remains protected, we embed our aircraft, as well as other airborne, space and ground assets with electronic warfare (EW) technology like radar warning receivers. This technology provides situational awareness and threat warning—protection from manipulation of a device or network and enemy interception of secure information.
Once threats are identified, we stop them with what’s called jamming capabilities—preventing the enemy from trying to access our secure, in-air networks. For instance, intercepting an enemy reconnaissance signal by jumping onto its same bandwidth or blocking the signal upon arrival with a “electronic shield.”
We’ve been providing jammer solutions to the U.S. Navy for more than 40 years, with future systems on the horizon that are more scalable and powerful than ever.
With the rapidly evolving global landscape, air superiority 20 years from now will look different than today. That is why we continue to invest and explore new technical capabilities, such as hypersonics, C4ISR, missile defense, and future vertical lift. These breakthrough technologies, along with advances in autonomy, data analytics and ubiquitous connectivity, will help the U.S. and its allies maintain air superiority in the post 2030-world.