These New Upgrades Help the V-22 Stay in the Fight
Digital Interoperability upgrades improve the command and control system of the Osprey and allow it to network with other assets during flight.
The V-22 Osprey tiltrotor was first introduced in 2007, yet the platform continues to be refined, upgraded, and improved so it can serve for many years to come.
Adjustments to the aircraft include routine maintenance, replacements of electronics, avionics, and communication equipment. Innovative new technologies have also been implemented.
One of the most impactful innovations is the integration of a new command and control system called Digital Interoperability (DI). This enhancement integrates new datalinks, radio networking, and an Iridium antenna to offer key intelligence data to Osprey crews while in-flight.
This adjustment is crucial to sensor-to-shooter time and real-time information exchange. Osprey crews and traveling Marines can receive intelligence updates while en route to an objective and make critical adjustments.
It is also quite likely that the DI innovation will incorporate breakthroughs achieved from the Future Vertical Lift program such as lightweight composite materials, new sensors, software enhancements, or even new ωɛλρσɳs and targeting technologies.
Given that the airframes themselves are likely to hold up for many years, V-22s will benefit from upgrades to electronics, computing, and software upgrades. This one reason why the Navy is extending its maintenance and sustainment contract with Bell-Boeing for the Osprey.
DI helps the Osprey fit into the Pentagon’s Joint All-Domain Command and Control effort as it enables the Osprey to operate as a combat node within a larger, interconnected, multi-domain network.
The Osprey could send targeting specifics of enemy surface ships, aircraft, or incoming ballistic missiles to ship-based command and control, nearby fighter jets, or ground assets. Digital connectivity supports the goal of decreasing sensor to shooter time to enable a high-speed kill “web” ahead of an enemy decision cycle.
In yet another scenario, an approaching DI-enabled Osprey carrying Marines can learn of shifting enemy movements while en route to a mission in time to change targeting details or landing information.
This kind of technological ability could be crucial in Mounted Vertical Maneuver missions in which Marines are brought into hostile territory behind enemy lines to conduct clandestine attack and resupply missions, MEDEVAC, reconnaissance operations, or ωɛλρσɳs delivery.