A collaborative U.S. Air Force and United Kingdom Royal Air Force program is making it easier for the two services to share information collected via intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance systems.
The program, dubbed Project Crossbow and modeled on the U.S. Air Force’s Distributed Common Ground System, was recently fielded in the UK for direct support of coalition warfighters in Afghanistan.
The DCGS, a system of globally-networked ISR capabilities, produces intelligence information collected by platforms like the U-2, RQ-4 Global Hawk, MQ-9 Reaper and MQ-1 Predator.
Project Crossbow’s concept of operations calls for true interoperability between both the U.S Air Force and the RAF for distributed use of information from ISR collection assets.
“This capability is the result of a longstanding, mutual trust and relationship between the United States and our British allies,” said Maj. Gen. James Poss, the Air Force’s assistant deputy chief of staff for ISR. “Crossbow will enhance the future potential for leveraging synergies in distributed ISR operations, translating into additional capability to better support our joint forces commanders and warfighters engaged in combat operations in Afghanistan.”
The program also represents a significant capability to enable improved shared situational awareness at the coalition operational and tactical levels of command and better use of scarce imagery analyst resources, increasing the overall intelligence support to theatre without increasing the number of people in Afghanistan, the general said.