Existing and future military networks vary widely in bandwidth and other network characteristics, potentially
challenging deployment of services and applications across heterogeneous data links. To address this challenge, General
Dynamics and Naval Research Laboratory created network services to allow applications to use wireless data links more
efficiently. The basis for the network services are hooks into the data links and transport protocols providing status about
the airborne networking environment. The network service can monitor heterogeneous data links on a platform and
report on link availability and parameters such as latency and bandwidth. The network service then presents the network
characteristics to other services and applications. These services and applications are then able to tune parameters and
content based on network parameters. The technology has been demonstrated in several live-flight experiments
sponsored by the United States Air Force and United States Navy. The technology was housed on several aircraft with a
variety of data links ranging from directional, high-bandwidth systems to omnidirectional, medium-bandwidth systems
to stable but low-bandwidth satellite systems. In each of these experiments, image and video data was successfully
delivered over tactical data links that varied greatly in bandwidth and delay.
TRIDENT SPECTRE is an annual venue to test and evaluate emerging technologies hosted jointly by members of the
United States Department of Defense and the Intelligence Community. The event focuses on projects involving technical
collections, Geospatial Intelligence, Analysis, Human Intelligence, and communications. It offers the DoD and IC a
unique opportunity to test new ideas and concepts in a secure environment with users, operators, technicians, engineers,
scientists, and cleared industry partners collaboratively.
We address architectural and design considerations to a service-oriented architecture designed for the tactical
environment. This architecture, dubbed tactical service-oriented architecture, must be responsive to changing network
conditions and the quick addition or removal of network-enabled nodes. It must be supportive of a variety of
heterogeneous data networks and support translation of data between incompatible networks and systems. Additionally,
it will need to support the various operating environments of tactical edge assets. The architecture and design
considerations asserted in this paper are backed by lab test bed development, cooperative research with industry and
government labs, participation with relevant working groups, and participation in real-world exercises utilizing airborne
This paper reports on the results of testing General Dynamics AIS' Tactical Service-Oriented Architecture over wireless
communications during flight tests run at the Air Force's Airborne Networking CRADA in 2006. The wireless, tactical
domain presents a number of challenges. In particular, details of efficiency, reliability, and interoperability are a concern
in this solution.
Provided within this paper is discourse on why these details are relevant and how the approach taken addresses these
details in a tactical domain. Also shown is how this approach differs from a traditional enterprise Service-Oriented
Architecture. Finally there is a discussion of the results of the testing, as well as what steps can be taken in the future and
what challenges must be overcome.
This paper describes a decentralized low communication approach to multi-platform sensor management. The
method is based on a physicomimetic relaxation to a joint information theoretic optimization, which inherits the
benefits of information theoretic scheduling while maintaining tractability. The method uses only limited message
passing, only neighboring nodes communicate, and each node makes its own sensor management decisions.
We show by simulation that the method allows a network of sensor nodes to automatically self organize
and perform a global task. In the model problem, a group of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) hover above a
ground surveillance region. An initially unknown number of moving ground targets inhabit the region. Each
UAV is capable of making noisy measurements of the patch of ground directly below, which provide evidence as
to the presence or absence of targets in that sub-region. The goal of the network is to determine the number of
targets and their individual states (positions and velocities) in the entire surveillance region through repeated
interrogation by the individual nodes. As the individual nodes can only see a small portion of the ground, they
must move in a manner that is both responsive to measurements and coordinated with other nodes.
Netcentric thinking provides the ability of outside devices and systems to insinuate themselves into the operation of an embedded device. Netcentric systems are defined as a set of connected devices, embedded devices, information appliances, desktop computers and servers. In a sensor-to-strike scenario, the chain of events that connect the initiation of a control event to its result is not within a closed space. The chain may incorporate information gathering devices and weapons a thousand miles apart, or any of a myriad of devices in a more local confederated environment. System architectural approaches now need to consider determinism not only on the control side, but the communications side as well. This affects the design and use of computer hardware and software, and supporting tools. System designers can no longer work within the confines of closed systems. Systems cannot be constructed in a context where designers have relative control over all aspects of the design. This paper investigates two critical software technologies that address the open systems aspects of network centric systems. In particular, publish/subscribe mechanisms and service discovery mechanisms are investigated. Issues relating to determinism, reliability, predictability, security, and scalability are discussed.