Aviation Support / By Mr. Timothy J. Vinson and Mr. James M. Pruitt: To meet its mission, the Aviation Networks and Mission Planning (ANMP) Product Office provides the Army Aviation community with state-of-the-art interoperability, mission planning, maintenance, and operations tools that enhance crew members’ situational awareness (SA), command and control (C2), and safety. ANMP supports and interfaces with all aviation rotary wing, fixed wing, and Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) platforms; fielding products essential for the successful planning and execution of the Army Aviation mission set.
Improved Data Modem (IDM) / ALL GRAPHICS/PHOTOS COURTESY AVN. SYS. PMO
As we develop, update, and field network and mission planning capabilities, we also streamline unit processes to increase operational effectiveness by automating legacy manual procedures and establishing necessary interfaces within the ANMP family of systems.
Significant accomplishments in FY2017 include: initiating fielding of the next generation of the Improved Data Modem (IDM) and completing fielding of the Aircraft Notebook (ACN) to the UH-72A Lakota fleet, conducting key test events for ACN and the Aviation Data Exploitation Capability (ADEC) system, upgrading the Aviation Mission Planning System (AMPS) software and Centralized Aviation Flight Records System (CAFRS).
Improved Data Modem (IDM)
As the common modem solution for Army Aviation, the IDM establishes connectivity between Aviation platforms, supporting communication and data transmission through high frequency, very high frequency, and ultra-high frequency radios and Blue Force Tracker satellite transponders. In the near term, IDM will also support future voice and data waveforms.
AMPS & CAFRS Interface
Across the fleet, the IDM enables network access and serves as the gateway between aviation and ground platforms. IDM processes Variable Message Format messages from the Joint Battle Command-Platform system and peer-to-peer messages via the Private Network and Air Force Applications Program Development protocols to facilitate sharing of SA, sensor, and C2 data with our digitized Army, Joint, and coalition aviation partners.
In FY2017, the IDM team developed software, which further updates Risk Management Framework compliance and Common Operating Environment interoperability. The IDM Team also began fielding IDM 401 hardware, a modernized upgrade to the IDM 304B hardware, to platform production lines. This upgrade provides Army Aviation with an increased processor, Ethernet switch, and Ethernet port capability to enable current and future computing environment growth.
Aviation Mission Planning System (AMPS)
AMPS is a lightweight, portable, ruggedized workstation that automates aviation mission planning tasks, including risk assessment, tactical command and control, aircraft configuration, flight planning, communications planning, and rehearsal. As an interoperable system with Army Mission Command Systems and associated networks, AMPS provides the Aviation commander with continual situational awareness, enabling rapid adjustment and dissemination of new and updated mission plans. AMPS provides aircraft with tactical, navigation, environmental, performance, and threat data, via Army Portable Flight Planning Software.
The AMPS 7.6 baseline began fielding in May 2017 with Fort Rucker, AL. The AMPS 7.6 baseline provides an improved interface focused on mission planning, improved scalability, and an improved and updated architecture. These improvements allow the User greater customization, an undo and redo capability, and scalability for future growth. The AMPS 7.7 baseline is currently under development to implement the AMPS software on Windows 10 operating systems, provide the improved Tactical Graphics Editor Tool, and will be fielded in conjunction with the next hardware refresh. The next generation hardware is in a smaller and lighter, but still ruggedized format. It provides a state-of-the-art quad core processor, improved graphics card, 32GB of memory, with solid-state disk drive for speed and reliability.
Other AMPS user enhancements under consideration include: improving 3D planning capability in Falcon View, minimizing Solid Core Cyber Security impacts by investigating the use of Host Based Security System and providing the ability to download delta sets of geospatial data to improve the speed of the required monthly updates.
Centralized Aviation Flight Records System (CAFRS)
As a sub-system of AMPS, CAFRS manages personnel flight and training records, and provides decision support in mission planning, risk assessment and risk mitigation. CAFRS supports the Aviation commander’s Aviation Risk Assessment Worksheet tool that matches personnel qualifications, operations tempo, aircraft type, and mission needs. By tracking aircrew flight hours, aircraft currency, qualification and training history, CAFRS supports effective risk assessment and mitigation throughout the aviation mission planning process.
CAFRS software v4.0.3, currently in development, continues to implement the Individual Aircrew Training Folder management capability and automate management of the Aircrew Training Programs. CAFRS v4.0.2 replaced v4.0.1 in October 2016, which links personnel flight and training data with the Aircraft Notebook (ACN) and Aviation Data Exploitation Capability data sets, to enhance both pre-mission planning and post-mission analysis. CAFRS v4.0.2 began fielding at Fort Rucker, AL to support the ACN and UH-72 fleet. A Senior Leader reporting capability was released to the US Army Aviation Center of Excellence (USAACE), Fort Rucker, AL in May 2017. The Senior Leader reporting capability provides access to CAFRS data on the CAFRS Central Database. Access can be requested from USAACE G-3, point of contact is Ty Powell.
Aviation Data Exploitation Capability (ADEC)
The ADEC system provides customizable data exploitation software to improve situational awareness of current flight operations, training effectiveness evaluation, aircrew readiness, safety and risk management, and aircraft status. ADEC enables Military Flight Operations Quality Assurance process implementation and supports aviation flight management. Additional capabilities include automated flight scheduling and mission briefing processes, together with an integrated risk assessment worksheet. The system allows for consolidation of unit flight schedules, enhances flight activity tracking, and provides automated notifications for overdue aircraft and other key events. ADEC also enhances post-mission training with flight visualization capabilities and supporting analysis, event detection, and constructive aircrew debrief and After Action Reviews. The automated ADEC Abbreviated Aviation Accident Report facilitates report processing from the unit to higher headquarters. The CAFRS database links with ADEC to augment crewmember analysis.
Army-wide ADEC software v1.0 fielding will commence in FY2018 to provide mission management and risk assessment functionality. ADEC v1.0 also provides the UH-60M Blackhawk fleet with flight visualization, with subsequent releases providing flight visualization to the remainder of the fleet. Software v2.0 includes data quarantine for safety and accident investigation, and interface with ACN. Under the current schedule, software v2.0 development and subsequent Customer Testing will be completed in FY2017, with fielding to follow in mid-to-late FY2018.
Aircraft Notebook (ACN)
The ACN System consists of the Platform Maintenance Application software, hosted on the Maintenance Support Device laptop computer to deliver aircraft digital logbook functionality. Integration with Maintenance Consolidated Database System, Interactive Electronic Technical Manuals, and platform Condition Based Maintenance Plus tools streamlines the completion of aviation maintenance activities, and the documentation required to maintain airworthiness for all Army aircraft. The system significantly reduces manual inputs required to record maintenance activities and complete associated maintenance forms. Improved accuracy in record keeping enhances fleet managers’ knowledge of performed maintenance tasks and associated faults. Additionally, ACN supports operations in both connected and disconnected environments.
ACN fielding to the fixed wing community’s C-27J began in July 2016 and is continuing its fielding to the fixed wing fleet. In May 2017, the ACN team completed Software Materiel Release requirements for v1.1, providing users with key interfaces for supply and readiness reporting, and maintenance management functions for production control, quality control, technical supply, and component repair. ANMP has completed development of rotary wing, fixed wing, and UAS functionality with fielding to the UAS fleet in August 2017. The Global Combat Support System-Army plans to leverage ACN as their at-platform capability, and will begin fielding as the replacement to the Unit Level Logistics System – Aviation (Enhanced) to the rotary wing fleet in early FY2020.
Mr. Timothy J. Vinson is the product manager and Mr. James M. Pruitt the deputy product manager, Aviation Networks and Mission Planning; Project Office, Aviation Systems, Program Executive Office, Aviation located at Redstone Arsenal, AL.