Air Force develops interim IP connection

The Air Force has developed an interim Internet capability that will soon allow intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance forces to use their computers to send e-mail and attachments with critical enemy target information, images and coordinates.

Airborne networking, developed by the Electronic Systems Center at Hanscom Air Force Base, Mass, is a way for troops 'to overcome a worldwide command and control problem,' according to an Air Force news release.

The Internet protocol connection will be possible at the air and space operations center and other sites via the worldwide Secret Internet Protocol Router Network. It is an interim solution until the Joint Tactical Radio System wideband network is rolled out, officials said. Low-rate initial production of JTRS begins next year. The first unit will be equipped in the second quarter of fiscal 2007.

'Just as the Internet has dramatically increased the effectiveness of the business world, soon our military forces will witness the same increase in warfighting effectiveness,' said Lt. Col. Chris Jones, chief of battle management command and control for the Joint Surveillance and Target Attack Radar System program office.

Jones said the network would be tested and demonstrated on the Joint STARS test aircraft during an exercise Oct. 9-23 at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev.

The system will use existing radios and operator consoles on the Joint STARS with a bridge to the SIPRNet.

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