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[] US Military Works On Faster, All-Digital Targeting System,

Military Works On Faster, All-Digital Targeting System 
By Gerry J. Gilmore
American Forces Press Service 

WASHINGTON, Oct. 24, 2003 - The U.S. military is developing an advanced
communications capability for tactical fighters that will tightly
connect the sensors and cockpits of many aircraft. 

The 2-year-old Tactical Targeting Network Technologies program links
tactical jet fighters' sophisticated sensors and avionics with
real-time, digital communications, explained Peter Highnam, a Defense
Advanced Research Projects Agency employee who works in the agency's
information exploitation office. 

The envisioned result, Highnam said, is Information Age effectiveness in
the complete process of detection, positive identification, targeting,
meeting rules of engagement, strike and confirmed destruction while
minimizing collateral damage. 

Highnam said TTNT is being developed to provide the networked
infrastructure needed for what he called "the tremendous
transformational potential of network-centric warfare." 

He identified one example, the rapid and precise location of enemy
ground-to- air defense systems. It has been demonstrated that this task
is performed "orders of magnitude faster" and more accurately when the
sensors on several aircraft work directly together, he said. 

Today's military uses a legacy system called Link 16, Highnam explained,
but TTNT -- an all-digital approach using a broad set of technologies
only recently developed -- is far more advanced and can be inexpensively
incorporated aboard jet fighters. 

Using a cell phone analogy, Highnam compared Link 16 to older models
that do a good job providing basic voice and low-rate data
communications. TTNT, Highnam said, offers myriad communications
conduits, just as today's advanced phones offer capabilities such as
voice, e-mail, photos and Internet capability. And all TTNT
communications, he pointed out, will be secure. 

"Take that (cell phone) notion, bring it across to the fast-pace world
of tactical aircraft, (and that) is what we're about," Highnam noted,
citing TTNT's interoperability, high speed, low latency and ease of use.

"Machine to machine is the only way to get the job done," he concluded.

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