Naval Aviation has entered the Information Age, where the speed and thoroughness in which accurate information is collected, analyzed, disseminated, and protected are of paramount importance. Joint Vision 2010 states that information superiority is achieved by effective command, control, communications, and computer (C4) links and the fusion of intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) information, which in turn can lead to dominant battlespace awareness.

With its current and planned systems, Naval Aviation provides a command and-control and sensor architecture to shape joint operations, as well as the airborne platforms to support them. The capability to provide direct links to the Joint Force Commander at sea from airborne reconnaissance platforms provides real-time ELINT, SIGINT, and high resolution SAR/MTI and optical tracking from long-range, long endurance P-3s, detailed tactical reconnaissance of the battlefield from F-14s and F-18s, and an explicit electronic order of battle from ES-3s, EP-3s, and EA-6Bs. Aircraft sensors and communications systems extend the field of view for the Joint Force Commander hundreds of miles beyond the horizon while providing direct connectivity to both the Joint Force Air Component Commander and the MAGTF ashore. Two examples of key elements embedded in our current C4/ISR system include the Cooperative Engagement Capability (CEC) and Link 16/Joint Tactical Information Distribution System (JTIDS). CEC significantly improves battle force anti-air warfare capability by integrating the sensor data of multiple ships and aircraft into a single, real-time, fire-control quality composite track picture. Operating under the direction of a designated commander, CEC will enable a battle group or Joint Task Force to act as a single defensive combat system. Link 16/JTIDS is a high-capacity, digital information distribution system that provides rapid, secure, and jam resistant communications, navigation and identification capabilities for naval tactical aircraft.

Advanced technologies also allow Naval Aviation to monitor and protect the world's critical sea lines of communication. The Navy maintains a worldwide Maritime Command/Surveillance Tactical Support Center (TSC) network. TSCs serve as nodes in the Joint Maritime Command Information System (JMCIS), an integrated C4I system that provides commanders afloat and on shore with a comprehensive picture of friendly, hostile, and neutral forces on land, at sea, or in the air. The TSCs are supplemented by Mobile Operations Command Centers; ground communication and control stations that can be quickly transported by P-3C Orion aircraft to remote locations.

In the area of preflight mission planning, Naval Aviation is relying increasingly upon systems such as the Tactical Automated Mission Planning System (TAMPS). TAMPS allows tactical data to be loaded quickly and efficiently into aircraft computers and software, improving the overall ability of our aircrews to employ their aircraft and weapons. It also includes broader, force level decision-support features, and it is compatible with JMCIS and other joint systems.

Naval Aviation's leveraging of information will continue to expand in the future. Ultimately, its C4/ISR architecture must have the ability to support airborne strike packages and other airborne assets with real-time intelligence, fused together from a wide array of sources and systems. It also will have the ability to send this imagery, video, and other information to strike and support aircraft via data link.

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