The Advanced Battle Management System (ABMS) is supposed to be the U.S. Air Force’s version of the One Ring from the Lord of the Rings saga, which had the power to find, bring, bind, and rule all other rings. As initially envisioned, ABMS is supposed to connect the entire Air Force, find all its sensors and weapons, and bind them together with a continuous stream of actionable intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) data. But as the Fellowship of the Ring found, controlling the One Ring proved to be highly problematic. The same is true for ABMS. The Air Force has struggled to define what ABMS is and the path to deploying real capabilities. In the meantime, the Air Force needs to replace its aging ISR and C2 capabilities, particularly the E-3 Sentry Airborne Warning and Control System. It cannot wait for all the moving parts of ABMS to come together. A low-risk, real capability that could replace the E-3 in the near term is the E-7 Wedgetail, which is based on the widely operated Boeing 737 airframe with an advanced electronically steered radar array. A fleet of Air Force E-7 Wedgetails, which is already flying with the RAF and Australian Air Force, could be an effective bridge to a more robust, distributed ABMS. I have written more on this subject here.
Find Archived Articles: