Back to news

May 19, 2020 | Local, Aerospace

MDA: All-Domain C2 Key To Countering Hypersonic Missiles

"We'll take anybody's sensors," MDA's John Bier said, "as long as it contributes to the missile warning, missile defense and space domain environment."

By on May 14, 2020 at 2:44 PM

WASHINGTON: Senior Missile Defense Agency officials say Joint All-Domain Command and Control (JADC2) will be fundamental to rapidly and seamlessly integrating future capability to track and intercept hypersonic and cruise missiles into its current architecture focused on ballistic missiles.

“We need the ability to globally see, track and engage the threats in a multispectral environment in real time with persistent capabilities, so that we can provide the right data to the right targets,” MDA's chief architect Stan Stafira said.

MDA has been able to develop its C2 network to link various layers in the overarching US missile defense architecture, but that integration has been achieved largely through “brute force,” John Bier, MDA program director for C2BMC, told a webinar sponsored by the Missile Defense Advocacy Association (MDAA) yesterday. “Where JADC2 is trying to drive the C2 community is: how do you make that easier?”

MDA is working on first assessing how to tie in its current Command and Control, Battle Management and Communications (C2BMC) architecture with JADC2 as it develops, then look at how to integrate its future planned capabilities “when applicable,” a MDA spokesperson clarified in an email.

Toward that end, MDA is planning on participating in the Air Force's second “On Ramp” exercise of the Advanced Battle Management System (ABMS) family of systems initiative aimed at developing a number of critical technologies to underpin JADC2, Bier said.

The exercise, which would have involved a space-oriented scenario, was planned for last month, but has been postponed due to the COVID-19 crisis. After first being slipped to June, it now is slated for Aug. 31-Sept. 4 moved back to A MDA fully expects to be involved in the exercise, although Bier did not elaborate on exactly what role the agency would play or what systems might be involved.

He said that MDA is working on spiral development of new technologies on an every two- to three-year cycle, but hopes to move even faster to integrate new capabilities. Part of that effort will involve moving to open standards, just as the ABMS program is doing now.

“We'll take anybody's sensors,” Bier said, “as long as it contributes to the missile warning, missile defense, and space domain environment.” The ABMS On Ramp exercises are “great integration environments” to test out the new standards, he added.

Bier said that up to now MDA has been successfully able to develop and manage a C2BMC system across the missile defense enterprise — one that links strategic systems such as the Ground-Based Midcourse Defense (GBMD) interceptors in silos in California and Alaska with regionally deployed, tactical systems such as Patriot batteries — in large part because of its special governance structure and flexible contractual authorities.

Although Bier didn't say it, the obvious inference is that DoD and the Joint Chiefs of Staff may want to consider how to centralize authority over various service C2 and battle management programs and projects that will need to connect to make JADC2 a reality.

“The JADC2 environment allows us to bring in multiple services along with MDA and the Intelligence Community and discuss these issues,” he said.

On the same subject

  • Subject:  New challenges launched from the NATO Innovation Hub to fight COVID-19

    April 3, 2020 | Local, Aerospace, Naval, Land, C4ISR, Security

    Subject: New challenges launched from the NATO Innovation Hub to fight COVID-19

    As part of a coordinated effort to fight COVID-19, IDEaS is informing innovators about COVID-19 related challenges being issued by the NATO Innovation Hub. The NATO Innovation Hub is a community where experts from around the world collaborate to tackle NATO challenges and design solutions. In response to the pandemic, the Innovation Hub has issued two challenges. 1. Identifying false information and mitigate its effects; and 2. Delivering supply to isolated individuals and teams. These challenges are open to all. If interested, you can submit your solutions here: If you have questions, you can contact them directly by email:

  • Modernization program for Snowbirds aircraft jumps in price

    June 17, 2020 | Local, Aerospace

    Modernization program for Snowbirds aircraft jumps in price

    David Pugliese • Ottawa Citizen The cost of modernizing the planes used by the Snowbirds aerobatic team has more than doubled and could end up costing more than three times the original amount because of the needed upgrades. The Department of National Defence had budgeted $26 million to keep the Snowbirds aircraft operating until at least 2030, according to a briefing provided to aerospace industry representatives last year in Ottawa and obtained by this newspaper. DND officials couldn't explain Monday the difference in the cost estimates but when aerospace industry representatives were briefed last year the project at that point included modernizing aircraft avionics. The project details on the DND website have added a new ejection seat as well as modernized communications and navigation equipment for the Snowbirds CT-114 Tutor jets. Questions about the ejection seats in the Tutor aircraft fleet emerged after Capt. Jennifer Casey, the team's public affairs officer, died on May 17 when the Snowbirds aircraft she was a passenger in crashed in Kamloops, B.C. Video of the incident appears to show Casey and Capt. Richard MacDougall, the pilot of the CT-114 Tutor aircraft, eject from the plane shortly before it slammed into the ground. MacDougall survived with serious injuries. A Canadian Forces flight safety team has focused its investigation into the crash on a possible bird strike as well as on the performance of the aircraft's escape system, the team noted in a statement. A witness at the crash scene claimed that Casey's parachute did not open. The Canadian military knew in 2016 the ejection seat on Snowbirds aircraft needed to be upgraded but it acknowledged it is still only in the early stages of modernizing that system. The Royal Canadian Air Force has now started a project to upgrade the parachutes on the ejection seats. During the briefing last year, aerospace industry officials were told a request for bids to upgrade the Tutor jets would be issued next year. A contract would be awarded that same year, the briefing noted. The first of the upgraded CT-114 Tutors would be ready for the Snowbirds in 2022, according to the industry briefing. The project would be finished by 2025 with all upgraded planes delivered by then. “The project will life extend the CT-114 Tutor until the year 2030,” industry officials were told. The avionics upgrade is required if the planes are to continue flying in North American airspace. The Department of National Defence stated in an email to this newspaper that the analysis of what is needed for the aircraft modernization is almost complete. “The project is progressing into definition where design, engineering and prototyping will take place over the next 18 months,” the email noted. The cost to modernize the Tutors pales in comparison with the proposed price tag for replacing the aircraft. That project could cost between $500 million and $1.5 billion, according to the DND. The planes have been in the Canadian Forces inventory since 1963 and have been used by the Snowbirds since 1971. The Tutors were supposed to have been retired in 2010, but that date was then extended to 2020. The latest extension allows the aircraft to fly until at least 2030. The Royal Canadian Air Force, however, is facing a potential dilemma with replacing the aircraft. The federal government has indicated it wants the aerobatic team to continue operating and the Snowbirds are seen as a key public relations tool for the military. But some in the Canadian Forces have privately questioned spending money on the Snowbirds because they do not directly contribute combat capabilities to the air force.

  • Symposium sur le marché canadien de la défense et de la sécurité 2021 - Les inscriptions sont ouvertes ! - Stiq

    October 1, 2021 | Local, Aerospace, Naval, Land, C4ISR, Security

    Symposium sur le marché canadien de la défense et de la sécurité 2021 - Les inscriptions sont ouvertes ! - Stiq

    Joignez-vous à nous, le 18 novembre prochain pour participer à la 6e édition du Symposium […]

All news