Fighting from the Cloud

Dave Majumdar describes the Navy’s Naval Integrated Fire Control—Counter Air (NIFC-CA) battle network, now being installed on our aircraft carriers:

While most of the individual warfighting components of NIFC-CA have been in the fleet for years, the key element of the new battle network is that it allows every ship and aircraft—and potentially even submarines—in the strike group to share a common picture. Every single unit is a sensor that contributes to the overall picture of the battlespace, but moreover, every single unit can also be a shooter. That means a Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet could engage a target that is being detected and tracked by an Aegis cruiser or even an EA-18G Growler without turning on its own radar at extended ranges. By the same token, an Aegis cruiser could engage an over-the-horizon target detected by an airborne sensor using a track provided via NIFC-CA. The key to it all is the E-2D, which is the central node of the entire NIFC-CA construct.

Networking is the greatest force multiplier since the nuclear bomb, with the added benefit that unlike that nuclear bomb we can actually use networking without destroying civilization in a nice game of global thermonuclear war.

The point of Majumdar’s article is that the Air Force desperately needs a similar capability, but has so far failed to develop one — and ought to adopt the Navy’s.

Any Air Force or Navy people want to weigh in on that?