F-35’S DAS DETECTS TANK & AAA FIRE, SHOWS INCREDIBLE PROMISE ACROSS A WIDE ARRAY OF POTENTIAL PLATFORMS

The most exciting part of the F-35 program is the aircraft’s unique “Distributed Aperture System” which provides an almost panoptic sphere of situational awareness around the jet at both short and medium ranges. In the video above the manufacturer claims that it has proven that the system can detect and classify tank and AAA fire, which is not a new goal although it is a new accomplishment. As the system’s fidelity and processing power increases it will be able to detect and classify, to varying degrees of certainty, many different threats and non-threats alike. Beyond the F-35, this system will become a key part of autonomous UCAV operations, where these unmanned strikers will be able to be sent into enemy territory and prosecute search and destroy missions against even moving targets of opportunity. Depending on the circumstances of such a mission, the operators could presumably set a level of certainty in the system as a threshold to engage certain targets such as tanks, transporter erector launchers, aircraft on the ground, and other military vehicles. During times of (God forbid) intense peer state conflict with huge stakes on the line, a UCAV swarm sporting DAS like systems could be unleashed deep behind enemy lines, free to fire at will upon anything deemed of military value by their software and sensors. This is where autonomous UCAVs would really shine, and a system like DAS would allow them to get away from striking fixed targets and into the dynamic mission sets traditionally supported by manned platforms.

Wide Area Aerial Surveillance, or WAAS, if you do not know what this is make sure to read this previous Aviationintel feature on it, could also greatly benefit from this type of capability. Imagine a DAS software enabled WAAS system tethered high above a place like Kandahar. Instead of using counter-battery radar to fix the position of an enemy mortar or rocket team, WAAS could detect them at the time of launch, or even before based on certain “behavior recognition” algorithms, and fire could be immediately returned while the enemy rounds are in the air or even before they are launched. Such a system would obviously be a massive leap forward in Israel’s fight against rockets fired from Gaza and other locales as well. Not only would you have the firing team’s immediate location, but you may also have a weapons platform ready to engage that target already overhead (same system that is carrying WAAS/DAS) and you would have video from before and after such an attack took place of the surrounding area. In other words you could rewind the WAAS imagery, tag the rocket team’s vehicle retroactively and follow them back to their base, and around the community they live and operate in before the attack even took place.

The age of incredibly smart and panopitc electro-optical surveillance has arrived ladies and gentleman, and I cannot stress enough how promising this technology is, or how easily it could be abused. For all the hype over AESA radars and other “banner” electromagnetic sensors emerging on new weapons platforms, systems like DAS and WAAS will have much more impact on the battlefields of tomorrow, and potentially on our very own cities and neighborhoods back here at home…

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One Response to F-35’S DAS DETECTS TANK & AAA FIRE, SHOWS INCREDIBLE PROMISE ACROSS A WIDE ARRAY OF POTENTIAL PLATFORMS

  1. Sanem says:

    I’ve been saying it for years, optical is the way to go, in time it’ll be on every aircraft, manned or unmanned, military or civilian. it’s just a matter of technology maturing enough to catch up to human standards (and flying right by them at rocket speed)

    linking this to a single aircraft is moronic beyond words. they should have tiered this technology, seperatedly, like the Russians are doing: make stealthy F-15’s with the latest engines and electronics, and then maybe talk about plugging it all into a new jet design

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