The US Navy is deploying a "tactical cloud" network that will tie together targeting data acquired from a range of sources in the sea, sky and space to form a lethal "kill web," the U.S. Naval Institute reports this week. The network will essentially allow any aircraft, ship or submarine to draw targeting information from any other instrument in the cloud and extend their own range when launching weapons against surface targets.
"We call it the tactical cloud," Rear Admiral Mark Darrah, who heads up the the Navy's Strike Weapons and Unmanned Aviation program said at this year's Sea-Air-Space Exposition. "We're going to put data up in the cloud and users are going to go grab it and use it as a contributor to a targeting solution."
The cloud-based solution was actually developed as a response to "the increased sophistication of adversary networked sensor systems." Or, in other words, events like a simulated attack by Russian jets last month prove America's naval and air superiority is under threat.
"It's about [the enemy's] ability to reduce the amount of space I have to operate in by tying their capability together and force me to operate from a farther distance from a threat," Darrah explained. In one scenario demonstrated at the exposition, Darrah showed how military space assets could share data with F/A–18s, a sensor aircraft, an unmanned Triton drone, an attack submarine and a Littoral Combat Ship. While the setup is similar to how carrier strike groups currently share information, the new network offers a much more fine-tuned solution and could integrate with new weapons and UAVs in the future. Let's just hope the Navy got those anti-hacking countermeasures up and running.