ORLANDO, Fla. -- Air Force and Navy officials are declaring success for a joint technology demonstration that tied jet fighters in the air with pilots operating simulators on the ground, who could all fly against computer-generated adversaries.
A final report on the Secure LVC (live-virtual-constructive) Advanced Training Environment (SLATE) demonstration was due at the end of December, but organizers a month earlier said that the exercise went better than expected.
"We're not supposed to say that it was a very successful technology demonstration--that's supposed to come from our senior leaders--but it was a very successful technology demonstration," said Wink Bennett, SLATE research lead at the Air Force Research Laboratory.
"It was beyond our wildest hopes," he added.
A team lead by the Air Force's 711th Human Performance Wing of the Airman Systems Directorate, Warfighter Readiness Research Division took more than four years to set up the exercise. The demonstration then took place over an eight-month period at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada.
This was created out of "unobtanium." It had never been done before, said David Noah, AFRL's program lead for the demonstration.
To make live-virtual-constructive training a reality, the team had to develop several key technologies.
One was the fifth-generation advanced training waveform (5G-ATW) developed by the MIT Lincoln Laboratory to serve as the datalink. In addition to the new waveform, the training system was served by Link-16 and UHF/VHF voice communications.
The second hurdle was ensuring that all three links were cyber secure and encrypted.
The aircraft also carried a SLATE pod that contained the necessary software and allowed for "untethered" operations.
"Tethered" training used the 5G-ATW to connect to a ground station, where pilots could operate simulators and take part in the exercise virtually. That also allowed for more robust scenarios with an almost unlimited number of enemy aircraft or surface-to-air missile sites.
"No kidding, the aircraft was actually seeing the things that we're putting on the net as...