File Video Above: Army "Multi-Domain Operations" Strategy
F-35s sending enemy force location detail to soldiers maneuvering on the ground, Army soldiers using ground-radar data to alert Air Force fighter jets and drones or Navy ships using ballistic missile defense technology to send threat specifics about incoming attacks to ground units, are all scenarios increasingly being tested as part of The Army’s current emphasis upon multi-domain warfare.
An entirely new sphere of technologies and multi-domain tactics are leading the Army to redefine its approach to traditional Combined Arms Maneuver warfare.
Combined Arms Maneuver Warfare
“Combined Arms Maneuver has got to be joint. This will evolve and it will become more rapid. The battlespace will expand based on robotics and space as cyberspace.
Video Above: The Militarization of Space
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We have to do this faster. We have to do it more efficiently, so that we're making decisions that not only defeat our adversaries, but we're able to do it in such a manner that we can do it more rapidly than anyone on Earth,” Maj. Gen. Ross Coffman, Director, Next Generation Combat Vehicles Cross Functional Team, Army Futures Command, told Warrior.
Multi-domain attack scenarios such as those referred to by Coffman were recently tested by some of the Army’s industry partners at a live-fire event called the Bushmaster Users Conference in Kingman, Ariz. During the demonstrations, various kinds of cannons, sensors and integrated radar technologies were used to track and destroy a combination of air and ground threats. Emerging command and control technologies were used to ensure the optimal effectors, interceptors or methods of countering enemy targets were identified and used.
“So while you're looking for air threats we're also able to very quickly pick up those ground threads that might threaten the forces. Multi-domain sensing can be air, ground or even littorals. We could put this on a boat or even a Navy vessel for those types of threats to those surface water threats. You know, it could even be used against pirates or some other small moving mass,” Rob Menti, Business Development, Northrop Grumman, told Warrior from the demo in Ariz.
For example, new Army Robotic Combat Vehicles can use smoke grenades, EW jamming systems, kinetic effectors such as anti-tank missiles or cannons and may even fire lasers in the future.
“It’s important to bring all of the effectors that are available to bear on different threats. You know, whether that's a drone or a ground system or whatever it might be. …. everybody's got to be on the network, because being on the network is probably the key to survivability on tomorrow's battlefield,” Menti said.
Multi-domain connectivity can help fill in or eliminate “gaps” in radar defenses or sensors intended to find, track and target approaching enemy drones or ground targets. The concept is to network air, ground and even maritime assets into a single ground of “meshed” nodes on an interconnected battlefield to ensure seamless, real time targeting.
“If you're on the network, it doesn't matter if you're an air defense guy or not. Your radars and your sensors are going to fill in those gaps where Sentinels or Gator (ground-based radars aren't), so you don't have holes in your defense,” Menti said.
Kris Osborn is the defense editor for the National Interest and President of Warrior Maven -the Center for Military Modernization. Osborn previously served at the Pentagon as a Highly Qualified Expert with the Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army—Acquisition, Logistics & Technology. Osborn has also worked as an anchor and on-air military specialist at national TV networks. He has appeared as a guest military expert on Fox News, MSNBC, The Military Channel, and The History Channel. He also has a Masters Degree in Comparative Literature from Columbia University.