Skunk Works, DARPA team demo key capabilities in SoSITE program

FORT WORTH, Texas. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) and Lockheed Martin Skunk Works engineers performed a series of flight tests under a five-year DARPA program dubbed System of Systems Integration Technology and Experimentation (SoSITE).

The flight tests demonstrated interoperability between a ground station, flying test bed, a C-12 and flight test aircraft, and proved the ability to transmit data between those systems using STITCHES, a novel integration technology.

The test used the Skunk Works developed Enterprise Open System Architecture Mission Computer version 2 (), known as the "Einstein Box," as the open computing environment, providing security protections between systems. The Einstein Box enables rapid and secure experimentation before deploying the capability to operational systems.

The team demonstrated four key capabilities:

  • The ability to automatically compose and transmit messages between systems, including those using legacy datalinks
  • The first use of Non-Enterprise Data Links to create new, rich information exchanges in-flight through Link-16, enabling greater speed, agility, modernization and effectiveness
  • The ability to link ground based cockpit simulators with live aircraft systems in real time to demonstrate how a SoS approach reduces the data-to-decision timeline
  • Integration between the APG-81 , currently used on the , and DARPA's Automatic Target Recognition software to reduce operator workload and to create a comprehensive picture of the battlespace

Demonstrating rapid and affordable integration of mission systems into existing and new architectures, SoSITE will help U.S. forces maintain their advantage in today's dynamic world.

The project was led by Skunk Works in partnership with the U.S. Air Force and support from industry partners Apogee Research, Northrop Grumman, Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control, BAE Systems, Phoenix Flight Test, General Dynamics and Rockwell Collins.

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