Each year the Association of the United States Army (AUSA) holds their annual meeting to highlight current capabilities, future challenges, and the technologies and services that will enable the future fight. This year, like many events, AUSA 2020 will go virtual, yet the discussions on how the Army will evolve to address the challenges of the future multi-domain battle will remain at the forefront of discussions.
The Army Futures Command is tasked with identifying challenges and opportunities in the future fight, and by working closely with academia and industry, they are testing capabilities and solutions that will enable a faster, better, multidomain force.
“The Army’s approach with this new command is to create more intentionality with its resources. They are engaging more and earlier in the process with industry,” Ryan Bunge, General Manager of Communications, Navigation, and Guidance for Collins Aerospace, said during an AUSA discussion. “It’s really a function of how quickly technology changes today, and the speed that is required to keep pace with the threat.”
Bunge explained that Collins Aerospace supports nearly every Cross Functional Team under Futures Command from flight control systems for Future Vertical Lift to navigation solutions for the Next General Combat Vehicle. Bunge’s business line focuses specifically on the Integrated Tactical Network and Advanced Precision Navigation and Timing teams in helping the customer address the connectivity challenges that arise in contested multi-domain battlespaces. To better collaborate with the Army in these areas, industry organizations like Collins Aerospace are reevaluating how they develop solutions to meet the customer’s needs.
“It is really changing our outlook and our product development process. We are investing more in lower TRL technologies, taking advantage of OTA’s to engage earlier with the Army CFTs to get feedback during the product development cycle, and then adjusting as needed,” Bunge commented.
With the Futures Command CFTs working to create solutions that align with the National Defense Strategy, there has been a greater emphasis placed on product development that can easily expand and evolve in the future. The open systems approach is one that Collins Aerospace has been very familiar with in supporting military customers.
“An open systems approach is necessary as our military customers are looking to keep pace with threats and continuously modernize in an affordable way,” Bunge said in a recent discussion. “The approach we’ve taken, specifically with the Network CFT and APT CFT, is to provide solutions that help the fight today while leveraging an open systems approach with modularity in the design so that the solution can quickly evolve to meet the demands of the future.”
This is an approach that Bunge sees as critical in helping the defense community develop open communications systems, open mission systems, and modernize to stay ahead of adversaries.