Hey, Let’s Integrate All Airborne Systems

A U.S military jet flies over Vilnius during the Lithuanian

A U.S military jet flies over Vilnius during the Lithuanian Mindaugas Kulbis/AP

Call me a realist or a cynic, but I'm not sure this DARPA plan will work.

That’s the idea behind a new project announced by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency focused on integration of all kinds of manned and unmanned aircraft gizmos.

The System of Systems Integration Technology and Experimentation – or SoSite – project will help “maintain U.S. air superiority in contested environments, demonstrate rapid integration of mission systems into architectures, and demonstrate the combat effectiveness and robustness of those architectures,” DARPA says.

SoSite will use Open Mission Systems – or OMS – architecture that’s being developed by the Air Force to add new radar, electronic warfare and weapon systems to aircraft in a plug-and-play fashion.

Call me a realist or a cynic, but I have a feeling that this has about as much chance of taking off as a dodo bird. History has proven that time after time when the Defense Department tries to develop truly complex systems they fail miserably.

Case in point: The Defense Integrated Military Human Resources System planned to integrate 90 military personnel and pay systems and canceled in 2010 after churning its way through more than $500 million. 

Robert Gates, then Defense secretary, told Congress, "Many of the programs that I have made decisions to cut have been controversial within the Department of Defense. This one was not. I would say that what we've gotten for a half billion dollars is an unpronounceable acronym.”