PAIRING JSTARS WITH GLOBAL HAWK
A team of industry experts led by Northrop Grumman Corporation will make a proposal
to the newly-created Joint Forces Command, Norfolk, Va. to demonstrate a "system
of systems" technical architecture for tactical commanders. This architecture
would tie the joint surveillance and target attack radar system (JSTARS) aircraft
and the new Air Force unmanned aerial vehicle called Global Hawk. The goal,
according to an industry source, is to provide commanders with a "wide
area view" of the battlefield as far away as 100 miles. Some of this capability
was achieved in Kosovo in a makeshift fashion, said the source. Now, the plan
is to convince the Air Force that this architecture can work. Getting the proper
communications hardware alone is not sufficient, the source explained, because
the Air Force currently lacks the "doctrine, training and institutional
basis" to implement this concept of operations.
NIGHT VISION ON THE CHEAP
The U.S. Army, which is responsible for the development of night-vision technology,
is confident that the growing popularity of infrared sights in commercial firearms
will help lower the cost of Army and Marine Corps weapon sights. "We have
made significant investments in thermal uncooled" rifle sights, said Fenner
Milton, director the Army's night vision lab. He expects that, for the first
time, "thermal imagers will be under $1,000 a piece," he told a conference
sponsored by Shephard, a U.K.-based firm.
V-22 ON A CARRIER
The company that builds Navy aircraft carriers expects that, in the future,
it will have to adapt existing ships to accommodate new platforms, such as the
V-22 tiltrotor, which currently is under production for the Marine Corps. "I'm
sure they plan to land V-22s on carriers," said Richard W. Johnson, who
works on carrier technologies at Newport News Shipbuilding, Va. "But right
now, I have no documents that show me that V-22 is part of the air wing. "We'll
have to have the capability of embarking V-22s, even though they are [currently]
a Marine asset ... But I'm sure they can come over ... and operate on and off
[the carrier] for short periods of time," said Johnson. In the future,
if the Navy decides the V-22, or another derivative, will become a common support
aircraft, "we should be able to incorporate" those new requirements
into the ship design.
CHANGING MIDDLE EAST
Big changes"unlike anything we have witnessed in living memory"-are
underway in the Middle East, according to White House national security advisor
Sandy Berger. A new generation is taking power, he said. Jordan's King Abdullah
is 37. King Mohammed, of Morocco, is 36. Half of all Saudis are under age 15.
Two thirds of Iranians are under 25. In Algeria, 70 percent of the people are
under 30. This new generation, said Berger, has not known colonialism, war with
Israel, or the heyday of Arab nationalism.
INTO THE BLACK SEA
The U.S. Navy is practicing a modern form of gunboat diplomacy in the sensitive
Black Sea area. Today, the fleet trains with four Black Sea nations-Bulgaria,
Romania, Ukraine and Georgia. "As Caspian Sea gas and oil reserves are
developed over the next decade," Vice Adm. Daniel J. Murphy Jr., commander
of the 6th Fleet, told a Senate hearing, "a secure Black Sea will be very
much in the United States' economic, as well as political interest."