Air Force’s Future War Network Doubles in Cost

Air Operations Center Weapon System (AOC WS). Photo: Northrop GrummanAir Operations Center Weapon System (AOC WS). Photo: Northrop Grumman

A critical network upgrade the U.S. Air Force will need to conduct air operations, and counterterrorism and humanitarian missions is more than three years overdue and has doubled in price, according to a report submitted to Congress last week.

Northrop Grumman Corp. is developing the so-called Air Operations Center Weapon System, or AOC 10.2, whose costs have surged from the original $374 million to $745 million, Bloomberg News’ Tony Capaccio first reported this week. The upgraded system in total could eventually climb to $3 billion, according to the report.

Officials now have three years to decide whether they will “fully deploy” the system — a decision originally planned for last July, the report stated.

The technology is designed to enhance battlefield command and control in part by converting “raw data into actionable information that is used to direct battlefield activities,” according to a press release from Northrop.

The Falls Church, Virginia-based company, working with the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center at Hanscom Air Force Base, Massachusetts, is under contract to develop “a secure, streamlined computing environment for legacy and stove-piped systems,” the release states.

“AOC modernization through a truly open systems approach will significantly reduce life cycle costs and enable the Air Force’s future operational concepts,” Mike Twyman, vice president and general manager of the Defense Systems division for Northrop Grumman Information Systems, said in 2013.

“Effective air, space and cyberspace operations depend on integrated effects across the joint force. The key is command and control, and the modernized AOC provides warfighters with the secure, flexible and agile [command and control] capabilities necessary for meeting the security challenges of the future,” he said.

About the Author

Oriana Pawlyk
Oriana Pawlyk is a reporter for Military.com. She can be reached at oriana.pawlyk@military.com. Follow her on Twitter at @Oriana0214.