Air Force Link News Article

Digital Warrior gets rave reviews

ROBINS AFB, Ga. (AFNS) -- Digital Warrior could be the title of a science fiction adventure film starring Arnold Schwarzeneggar, Sylvester Stallone or Jean Claude Van Damme, but it's not. Instead, it's a personal computer-based intelligence system that provides state-of-the-art intelligence data and computerized mission planning.

But, like a blockbuster hit movie, it's getting rave reviews from its designers -- Air Force Reserve intelligence experts, and its users -- aircrew members, for its availability and affordability to provide mission planning at the unit level.

"The whole purpose of Digital Warrior is to make it easier for AFRES flying units to fight and survive in a combat environment," said Col. Michael W. Moss, director of intelligence at Headquarters Air Force Reserve here.

Maj. Scott Thomas, the Digital Warrior program manager at Dobbins ARB, Ga., said the system can be plugged into simulators to practice upcoming missions, or loaded into weapons computers for carrying out actual combat missions.

"The system combines intelligence gathering, mission planning, mission preview and the flying of the actual mission itself," said Thomas. "During Desert Storm, each flying unit was given one bulky, crude mission planning computer that pilots often had to wait in line to use. Others had difficulty using the computer once they got to it. Our system is accessible, portable and affordable utilizing 'off-the-shelf' computers and digital communications technology."

The Digital Warrior process begins when the computer downloads intelligence data from a satellite, said Thomas. The data, or processed intelligence from Defense Department sources, provides weather reports, terrain followings, current information on targets, numbers and locations of enemy forces and radar, anti-aircraft missiles, and other threats. This intelligence file is used in conjunction with a mission planning program that weighs threat data, target information, distances, flying conditions, weapons to be used and other factors.

After aviators have finalized a plan for the mission, it is stored in a digital transfer cartridge used by the aircraft's main flight control computer during the flight. If time allows, the cartridge can be plugged into a mission preview device so pilots can "fly" a simulation of the mission before flying the real thing.

(Courtesy AFRES News Service)