Air Force ISR success rides on common architecture, says deputy chief

Analysts sifting through intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) data in future years must be able to reach into the network or cloud and grab information from various sources quickly, and for that process to work effectively a common architecture must be established that allows data to be moved from all domains and across dissimilar platforms rapidly and efficiently, Lt. Gen. Larry D. James, said at a recent Air Force Association meeting

While the Air Force has operated in an uncontested aerial environment in Afghanistan, this may not be the case in future conflicts in which ISR data from remotely piloted aircraft might be severely limited, James said. For this reason, the Air Force must ensure that nontraditional, alternative ISR platforms, such as the piloted F-22 Raptor and F-35 Lightning II, which like remotely piloted aircraft are outfitted with sensors, can be effectively used as intelligence collectors and have the data they collect incorporated into the global ISR enterprise.

The Air Force has made major investments in global ISR, James said, and its ISR operations are currently the gold standard. The Air Force flies about 1,500 hours of airborne ISR missions, gathers about 1,000 hours of full-motion video and produces 1,400 intelligence products each day, he said. The fused ISR information is pushed to components and partners through the Distributed Common Ground System, he said.

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