Air Warfare Communication in a Networked Environment

By Combat Air Branch, JAPCC


Command and Control are exerted in today’s battlespace through a ‘network of networks’. As long as connectivity is maintained amongst the network participants, the time to generate the information needed for decision-making and tactical execution is a function of the speed and clarity of information provided by the network, especially during dynamic operations. Therefore, the operational decision making tempo may be improved by decreasing and simplifying the number of iterations across the system of networks required to achieve a certain effect (reduction in Boyd’s OODA loop cycle time).

A highly evolved and mature C2 network will enable forms of self-organization/synchronization of the cooperative players/elements (not necessarily equal or equivalent) that interact throughout the battlespace. This more advanced C2 network will permit new forms of information transfer among different platforms that display information from different sensors and employ different weapons.

Additionally, the different features or characteristics of these platforms may be combined real time in more efficient and mission-tailored clusters or subsets of associated elements as long as data transfer is assured across the network.


The aim of this project is to explore potential improvement to network-generated situational awareness through dynamic distribution and effective interaction of joint air power assets throughout the joint battle space without altering the current Core Activities performed by air forces (lAW AJP 3.3). Different generations of elements (emerging technologies and current systems) will have to coexist and form efficient groups (‘clusters’) by means of connectivity and machine-to-machine interaction to accomplish each task. This requires expanding upon today’s data exchange processes among the various LINK architectures.

Self-organization is the ability of a group to synchronize and organize complex warfare activities based through a communication network from the lowest level of the organization to the top, ideally with minimal leadership involvement for pre-authorized tasks. As self-organization is a feature present in many swarm models, this study will research potential patterns of collective effectiveness through single, local interactions which do not compromise the ‘Command’ function and autonomy of decision making present at each level.

Efficient, autonomous self-organization may be approached through converting battles pace regions constrained by the boundaries of a classic Airspace Control Order into a more dynamic and adaptive airspace structure that enables co-use by existing/future air systems as well as ensuring effective command and control. This will require that future Airspace Control Measures (ACM), used for spatial reference and de-confliction, will be self-generated by each platform, be adaptive to real-time changes in airspace employment (weapons launches etc …) and be shared through the network with all players.


To produce a document that:

  • Briefly analyzes the latest guidance and doctrine regarding Air & Space Power interoperability through data transfer.
  • Reviews the relationship regarding spatial and functional management between models displaying cooperative and efficient communication and Air Power clusters featuring interoperability through data transfer.
  • Examines the potential joint air power sets that will be formed and the impact they will have on the future command and control structure.
  • Analyzes the latest air systems’ evolution regarding interoperability through data transfer, focusing especially on ground-, sea- and air-based 4th/5th Generation manned/unmanned systems as well as the existing (and potential future) nets and protocols.
  • Studies how air power clusters may display or adopt potential ‘swarm’ behaviour
  • Analyzes the viability of a Dynamic Airspace Synchronization (DyAS) concept as a ‘bottom-up’ integration option for future battlespace management.
  • Identifies potential vulnerabilities and backup options to future networks critical for DyAS.
  • Explores the potential impact to existing Command and Control doctrine brought about by the improved awareness of 5th generation aircraft sensors operating a continuous networked battlespace.


The product will provide guidance to both ACT and ACO regarding capability development and doctrinal options for Joint Air Power employment by detecting patterns of efficiency among the existing and future platforms. Also, the product will provide guidance and options for interoperability based in data transfer in future industrial-doctrinal developments. The scope will be progressively elaborated as more information is gained during analysis of the study. This is to ensure the scope of the effort does not become unmanageable or result in an unusable product.

Project Team

Project Manager
Colonel Joseph Speed, USA AF

Project Leaders
LtCol Carlos Presa, ESP AF
Cdr William Perkins, USA N


Project Status

Last Update 25 August 2016
Project Definition Report
Research and Data Gathering