Air Mobility Command’s gray tail airlifters and tankers will participate in a series of Joint All-Domain Command and Control experiments this year.
The efforts, part of the series of Advanced Battle Management System experiments and other exercises, aim to show how aircraft such as C-17s and KC-135s can serve an integral role in the modern world of command and control, from space to the ground, when using new technology and data links, AMC boss Gen. Maryanne Miller said in an interview with Air Force Magazine.
“Where there’s a tanker, there’s a fighter, and nothing moves without a gray tail or a [Civil Reserve Air Fleet] assert,” Miller said. “So we have to be connected into the network, so we can be that link, that sensor, and that JADC2 node.”
In April, an AMC C-17 will fly in the U.S. Northern Command and U.S. Strategic Command’s ABMS experiment and will facilitate an in-flight retasking of airdropped cargo. This broader experiment will be “massive,” including physically shooting down an unmanned aircraft and cruise missile, using ships, submarines, ground troops, aircraft, and SpaceX Starlink satellites, USAF acquisition head Will Roper said.
In July, as part of Exercise Global Lightning, a KC-135 outfitted with a new pod will connect and share information with a SpaceX Starlink satellite in low-earth orbit, according to AMC.
Then in August, AMC will participate in another ABMS experiment with the goal to further test the Global Lightning concept in a theater outside the continental United States.
Finally, in October, the command will further build on this concept in an Orange Flag flight test event, with operational pilots flying in a simulated exercise environment to assess how this pod and Starlink connection would work in a real-world scenario, according to AMC.