Home' Asia Pacific Defence Reporter : APDR April 2016 Contents PLAN JERICHO
Asia Pacific Defence Reporter APR 2016 27
radar. To meet the objectives of the Australian exercise,
Northrop Grumman sent out a Gulfstream aircraft
carrying a solution based on the USAF’s Battlefield
Airborne Communications Node (BACN). In the words
of the company, BACN:
“....facilitates tactical edge information exchange
by reducing communications problems resulting from
incompatible systems, adverse terrain and distance
without modifying or affecting size, weight and power
upon end-user platforms.”
Apparently, this is all done via a couple of standard
racks of computing hardware that can be installed in
almost any platform – or even suspended under an
aerostat. All that are then needed are the appropriate
aerials and hey presto you have a system that can
connect all of your battlefield assets, irrespective of the
communications devices with which they have been
equipped. Because a Gulfstream could operate at
heights of up to 50,000ft the footprint of the system
is truly vast. Looking at the RAAF inventory, it could
easily be fitted to E-7A ‘Wedgetail’ AEW&C aircraft and
KC-30A MRTTs. Another lower cost platform that might
be considered are the RAAF’s King Airs.
In the lead up to Jericho Dawn, Northrop Grumman
worked closely with Australian Aerospace and the
Army to ensure that connectivity with the ARH could
ASSETS IN THE EXERCISE
Capabilities involved include RAAF’s C-17A,
AP-3C, KC-30A, E-7A Wedgetail and FA-18 Hornet
aircraft, as well as the Army’s air-land enablers
from the 16th Air Land Regiment, Tiger armed
reconnaissance helicopters from 1st Aviation
Regiment, and vehicles and equipment from the
Combined Arms Training Centre.
A hostile force holds a vital heavily defenced crossroad.
The Blue Force mission is to capture it. To begin with
an ARH and Army ASLAV visually identify the threat,
which is then kept under surveillance. The airborne
‘Wedgetail’ and ground based ‘Giraffe’ radar provide
a correlated air picture (friendly; hostile; neutral).
Adversary locations are shared between all platforms;
target assessment takes place. Targeting information is
then passed to the ARH; a loitering Super Hornet and
a 155mm artillery battery – which then all open fire. The
conclusion is that the ARH will carry out Battle Damage
Assessment using its STRIX electro-optic sight and
that vision will be translated from the Eurogrid link into
a format that can be displayed to all parties involved in
A great success. The operators began by demonstrating
current limited capabilities, before trialling new ways to
improve air-land integration, including the way that
aircraft and vehicles connect and translate information
through different communication networks.
Chief of Air Force Air Marshal Leo Davies AO,
CSC, said that the demonstration showcased existing
air-land operations technologies and processes, and
the operational gains that have already been achieved
through better integration of systems and information.
“Through today’s demonstration we were able to
provide a visualisation of the effects of some of the
Australian Defence Force’s capabilities,” Air Marshal
“The lessons identified from the activity will help
shape Defence’s future capability decisions and
improve existing training activities.
“Demonstrations such as today are an important
means of testing and displaying joint effects.
“We are building on the Air Force’s international
reputation for being good at what we currently do, and
asking important questions about taking Air Force’s
contribution to joint operations even further.
“If this kind of training exercise shows us something
we can do that would help Air Force, Army and Navy
fight better as a team, then that’s what we will pursue.”
The Australian Army’s Head Modernisation and
Strategic Planning, Major General Gus McLachlan,
AM, said that greater air-land integration is an important
step towards the Army and the ADF working in a joint,
combined and interoperable environment.
“Our Army is focussed on two key areas to ensure
improved air-land integration. The first is to deliver
better communication systems to ensure an agile,
efficient and timely response to an intelligent, well-
armed and motivated adversary,” said Major General
“The second is to advance how we plan and conduct
air-land operations to deliver the right effect, at the right
place, at the right time.
“The demonstration highlights how we can better
harness the strengths of our team by digitally connecting
air and land platforms.
“This increased connectivity enhances awareness
and communication. It gives a common operating
picture, so we are better able to plan and execute joint
operations into the future.”
Chief Executive Australia, Ian Irving said Northrop
Grumman has unparalleled expertise developing and
deploying airborne gateways that ensure resilient
communications of disparate networks and enable a
fully networked battlespace.
“We’ve applied this key capability for more than a
decade in numerous operational programs, exercises
and demonstrations and have seen how effective and
transformational networking a diverse force of assets
can be,” s aid Mr Irving.
“Northrop Grumman congratulates Air Force and
Army on their initiative in undertaking this technology
demonstration and we look forward to continuing
to support the ADF as it builds interoperability in its
current and fifth-generation force.
“As demonstrated during the Jericho Dawn exercise,
the ability to share information and situational awareness
from various sources across diverse platforms and
domains is critically important in facilitating joint and
This was a complex exercise involving a large number
of ADF assets and seems to have been a clear
demonstration of the importance of achieving the
highest possible levels of connectivity.
While there is no single project for connecting
all ADF assets, there are large sums set aside for
achieving this goal. ¢
A Royal Australian Air Force F/A-18 Super Hornet releases
flares during Exercise Jericho Dawn.
Credit: CoA / Oliver Carter
31/03/2016 6:44 PM
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