The 2-way, anti-jam, dual waveform (UHF and Link 16) datalink will add the ability to provide target updates from the launcher to the weapon or vice-versa, retarget the weapon while in flight, abort if desired, and provide bomb hit indication (BHI). Because the data link is fully networked and available to other platforms, available options go well beyond conventional launch platform-to-weapon communications. This allows warfighters to destroy critical time-sensitive and moving targets in all weather conditions, expanding delivery options and target choices to near real-time.
For instance, a frigate launches a pair of Harpoon missiles, which travel ahead into contested territory and target an enemy corvette, flying a slightly indirect path to hit it from two sides. An F/A-18F is roaring through the area on the way to an airstrike, flying low to the water and staying 50 miles away from the enemy ship so it remains below the radar horizon. Suddenly, ts APG-79 AESA radar picks up a hostile diesel-electric submarine as it surfaces for air nearby. The pilots retarget one Harpoon missile to hit the submarine instead of the lower-priority surface ship, while the other missile continues on. The Harpoon’s datalink quickly confirms a hit on the sub, which is silently relayed to other units via Link 16. High above, an E-2D Hawkeye receives the information and switches a sub-launched Harpoon to join the frigate’s attack on the enemy corvette, since its own original target was destroyed and it still has some range left.
Link 16 is a secure, jam-resistant, digital data link transmitted via radio that allows military aircraft, ships and ground units to exchange their tactical pictures with each other in near real time. Link 16 also supports the exchange of text messages and imagery data and provides additional channels for digital voice. Work is underway to improve its bandwidth, and the system itself can be installed in a number of ways on aircraft, ships, even land installations like air-defense missile systems.
This capability helps all participating nodes see more clearly within the fog of war, since a target seen by one platform is soon seen by all. In can also help cut down on accidental ‘fratricide’ accidents in which one’s own side is targeted. Saudi Arabia chose to buy Link 16 capabilities back in 2006, and they are now in the process of integrating it into the E-3 Sentry AWACS(Airborne Warning and Control System) aircraft that monitor Saudi airspace.
Most people never see services like wastewater management and water distribution. The cost is built into their taxes, or into initial subdivision fees. Military bases have to deal with this, too, and the preference in the USA seems to be moving toward very long-term fixed-price contracts. A pair of recently-announced contracts from the Defense Energy Support Center (DESC) in Fort Belvoir, Va. worth over $240 million serve to illustrate. Both are firm-fixed-price contracts with prospective price re-determination, covering a 50-year contract period for ownership, operation and maintenance of water distribution system and wastewater collection systems:
Sept 14/07: American States Utility Services, Inc. in Costa Mesa, Calif. won a $143.8 million contract for the US Army’s Fort Jackson Army Installation and environs in South Carolina. Date of performance completion is December 2057. There were 340 proposals originally solicited, and also web solicited, with 5 responses to the Defense Energy Support Center (DESC) in Fort Belvoir, Va. (SP0600-07-C-8251).
Sept 14/07: American Water Operations and Maintenance, Inc. in Voorhees, N.J., won a $98.1 million contract for the US Army’s Fort A.P. Hill Army Installation and environs in Virginia. Date of performance completion is December 2057. There were 340 proposals originally solicited, and also web solicited, with 5 responses (SP0600-07-C-8254).