Air Force in the Market for Data-Processing Technologies

By Yasmin Tadjdeh
NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. — The Air Force has hundreds of spy aircraft that collect massive loads of information. It does not have, however, enough data-mining computers that can quickly analyze the data.
"From an industry perspective, the biggest thing right now is the data," Air Force Lt. Gen. Larry James said Sept. 17 at the Air Force Association's annual Air & Space Conference and Technology Exposition at the Gaylord National Hotel and Conference Center.
James said that the Air Force needs industry to help analysts get their "arms around" the tons of data that is collected by unmanned drones and other aerial surveillance platforms.
"Ultimately, how do we better integrate and fuse all this data, and what are the tools that allow us to do that?" asked James. "Those are the areas that I think will provide a ... big bang for the buck” for contractors, he said. “At the end of the day, as we look at the future, it’s not necessarily about sensors, it’s not necessarily about platforms — it really is about the data that we consume. We want to have a system that can take all data, no matter what the source, and ingest that into this processing mode and make sense out of it,” said James.
 The Air Force currently uses the Distributed Common Ground System (AF DCGS) for data analysis.  But more is still needed.
 “We still have a ways to go, because the data content and size is not slowing down,” said James, “We absolutely are going to have to have better ways of handling all of this data.”
Despite the information overload, the Air Force plans to continue building up its unmanned aircraft fleet over the next few years. Plans are still in place to acquire 24 new Reaper remotely piloted armed aircraft. More investments will also be made in AF DCGS processing exploitation and dissemination systems, James said.
Photo Credit: Yasmin Tadjdeh

Topics: C4ISR, Intelligence, Infotech, Infotech

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