Watch: How an airborne 'system of systems' attack would work

U.S. military researchers in recent years have been concentrating a lot on “system of system” concepts for everything from network hardware testing to combat situational awareness systems for small ground units.

Among the reasons for the SoS approach are that combining individual systems can create a more powerful, functional overall system—the whole being greater than the sum of its parts—and that the open architectures involved in SoS allow for faster development and integration of new technologies.  

But what does a system of systems look like? The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency has posted this video, an animated depiction of its System of Systems Integration Technology and Experimentation, or SoSITE, program, an effort started last year to improve air operations in what are increasingly contested spectrum environments.

The video shows how a fighter jet, a “mission truck” (in this case similar to a C-130), unmanned aerial systems with passive sensors and jamming capability, and low-cost cruise missiles work together to take out an enemy radar in advance of an attack. In this scenario, SoSITE employs a number of sensor, communications and data techniques to make the mission go seamlessly. And in keeping with today’s budget-conscious approach to military operations, it not only focuses on taking out the radar, but making sure the enemy incurs “cost disadvantages” in its defense.

About the Author

Kevin McCaney is a former editor of Defense Systems and GCN.

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