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Allied Future Surveillance & Control (AFSC) High Level Technical Concepts (HLTCs) Technology Readiness Level (TRL) Assessments

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Systems Concepts and Integration

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Active and Passive Sensors, AI, Artificial Intelligence, Autonomy, CyberDefense, Data Fusion, Data Processing, Data science, Directed Energy Technology, HumanMachine Interface, Hybrid propulsion, Materials, Modelling and Simulation for Decisionmaking, MS, Nanotechnology, Quantum, Technology Readiness Level, TRL


In 2014, the North Atlantic Council (NAC) tasked the Conference of the National Armament Directors (CNAD) to reflect on the delivery of the follow-on to the E-3 Airborne Early Warning and Control System (AWACS) in view of its retirement in 2035. The Allied Future Surveillance and Control (AFSC) project was then launched and it is managed by the AFSC Project Office, hosted by the NATO Support and Procurement Agency (NSPA). The project is steered by the Support Partnership Committee (SPC), body which reports to the CNAD. ACT, ACO, the NCIA and the STO also contribute to the project. The successor of the AWACS might not be a single flying platform with a stand-alone on-board system, but more likely a Command & Control system of systems with large cross-domain capabilities, connected to other system architectures (Ballistic Missile Defense, Air Defense, Maritime Surveillance, Ground Surveillance, ISR, …). Various types of sensors (active, passive, …), various platforms (space assets, UAVs, …), robust connectivity, data science and decision-support technologies should all be important components of the AFSC capability. The project is now in its Phase 2. The main objective of this Phase is to get High Level Technical Concepts (HLTCs) from the industry to shape by the end of Phase 2 (in 2022) what should be the future preferred AFSC Technical Concept. The HLTCs will answer the question of how systems and services could be configured and integrated to fulfil the overall AFSC Capability Requirements in 2035 and beyond. The HLTCs will be delivered by the industry at the very end of March 2020 to be assessed by the Project Office and the Steering Committee (SPC) with the support of ACT and the STO. ACT will take the main part of the assessment work. The STO has been asked to assess the TRLs of the technologies that the industry is going to include in the HLTCs. To do so, a Research Specialists Team, comprising SMEs able to assess the TRLs of the probable AFSC technologies, has to be assembled before 29 November 2019. In order to avoid possible conflicts of interest, the SMEs selection will be closed to the industry. ACT and the STO have to finish their assessment work by mid-May 2020, including the delivery of a technical report at that time.


The scientific objective is to provide the AFSC Project Office and the Steering Committee (SPC) with valuable and documented TRLs assessments on the technologies contained in the proposed HLTCs.


The AFSC Capability will likely be able to carry out the following functions: - In the Air and the Surface (ground and maritime) domains - Detect objects of interest (Air Vehicles, Ground Vehicles, maritime Surface vehicles, troops, buildings of interest, …) - Identify objects of interest - Track objects of interest - Monitor objects of interest - Collect Data provided by AFSC sensors and external Joint sensors - Fuse multi-format Data - Process and give sense to heavy flow of Data - Assist Operators and Commanders in the Decision-Making - Exercise Command and Control - Establish and maintain robust, resilient communications with Joint ISR, Joint C2, and Joint weaponized assets - Possibly, provide an Electronic Warfare capability - Possibly, provide a Signals Intelligence Collection capability - Possibly, control and direct unmanned vehicles - Possibly, be part of and strengthen the Ballistic Missile Defense organization If there is a flying platform in the AFSC system of systems, its protection (passive and active) and its maintenance will generate additional functions to be taken into account. These functions will be supported by the development of the probable following science & technological domains: • Information Systems Technologies, Information Exchange, Data storage and Combat Clouds • Data Science (Big Data) and Artificial Intelligence • Architecture & Enabling Information Technologies • System of Systems approach across the spectrum of platforms & operating environments • Network design and operations • Cyber security • Human Factors • Human and machine teaming concepts, Human-machine interface • Autonomous ISR Systems, Swarming of ISR systems • Active and passive Sensors & Electronics Technologies (Radar, Electro-Optical, Infra-Red, Multi-Spectral, Acoustic, …) • Lidar • Multi-sensor integration • Multi-format data fusion • Automatic Target Recognition and Identification • Modelling and Simulation (in particular to assist the operations decision-making process) • Positioning, Navigation, Timing (PNT) to support other assets • Quantum technologies in the field of PNT, Data Processing, Encryption, Detection • Space capabilities, Space ISR, Space communications • Nanotechnology, enhanced materials • Directed Energy related Technology (possibly for auto-protection of the Air platform) • Energy management, hybrid propulsion (for the Air platform)

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