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Military Aircraft To Get All-Fiber Network Gear

timothy posted more than 3 years ago | from the network-coriolis-effect dept.

Networking 144

coondoggie writes "Looking to significantly reduce weight, improve on-board communications and make it easier to upgrade avionics, the US military is developing prototype phonic gear for use in all aircraft. Behind such a drastic shift is a Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency project with an ungainly moniker: Network Enabled by Wavelength division multiplexing Highly Integrated Photonics (NEW-HIP)."

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Horray (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34887642)

Now our military has more stuff, we might be able to stand a chance against another military for the first time in a long time!

Re:Horray (3, Funny)

DWMorse (1816016) | more than 3 years ago | (#34887686)

Hah. And here -I- was excited that fighter jet pilots would finally be able to watch YouTube and download torrents are amazingly high speeds with low latency, while doing those boring maneuvers.

Re:Horray (3, Insightful)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 3 years ago | (#34887766)

Hah. And here -I- was excited that fighter jet pilots would finally be able to watch YouTube and download torrents are amazingly high speeds with low latency, while doing those boring maneuvers.

Sounds likely since most of them will be flying UAVs.

Re:Horray (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34887912)

Not fighter jets, transport jets.

There was a transport flying with a fighter escort. After many hours, the fight pilot called over to the transport pilot and said, "Watch this!" and proceeded to do some acrobatics.

The transport pilot watched and then retorted, "Oh yeah! Watch this!"

So the fighter pilot sat and watched. And watched. And watched. Then after 20 minutes, the fighter pilot called over again and said, "I'm still waiting to see what you can do?"

The transport pilot said, "I did it. I got up, stretched my legs, went back for cup of coffee and talked to the flight engineer, went to the john -sitting down, grabbed another cup of coffee and walked back here."

A young boy tells his father, "Dad when I grow up, I want to be a fighter pilot!"

The father asks, "So, which is it?"

Highly Integrated Shark Photonics (0)

sanman2 (928866) | more than 3 years ago | (#34888184)

When the frickin hell are they going to really modernize?

Re:Horray (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34887718)

U.S. military won't be satisfied until it can weather an attack by all other nations on Earth, and come out unhurt and victorious.

Re:Horray (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 3 years ago | (#34887780)

But they can.

Re:Horray (2)

Cwix (1671282) | more than 3 years ago | (#34888478)

Ohh IDK about that.

If some of the other western countries who often have some high tech gear of their own teamed up with some of the countries that have massive amounts of troops and resources. (Think England and France for the western countries, and China and India for the population size) I think we might have a heck of a problem.

Not to say China doesnt have alot of high tech military gear, just that I think the sheer number of boots on the ground they could deploy is their big thing.

Re:Horray (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 3 years ago | (#34888528)

The US controls the high ground. They have the best orbital remote sensing and the best air force, by far. Their only limitation is their reluctance to slaughter civilians. Apart from a few lapses over the years it is still possible to beat them in a guerrilla campaign.

Re:Horray (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34889034)

You mean "the reluctance of most fighting men in the US armed forces", and may god (or whoever) bless them and keep them safe for being decent people.

Re:Horray (1)

zach_the_lizard (1317619) | more than 3 years ago | (#34889152)

The US already has committed atrocities during a guerrilla campaign (look at the Philippine-American war; the highest estimates put the number of civilian dead at around 1.4 million; resistance continued for at least a decade. The result? Delayed independence). You can even argue that they committed them in Vietnam (just look at those civilian death tolls), yet they still lost.

Re:Horray (2)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | more than 3 years ago | (#34889156)

China has nukes. The US has nukes. Any war would continue only so long as both sides believe they have a good chance of winning without the need to resort to such desperate measures. As soon as one or the other had a decisive advantage, the opposing side would feel nuclear force to be the only way to protect their own existance.

Re:Horray (1)

Cwix (1671282) | more than 3 years ago | (#34889210)

I chose not to pose the nuke question. If a nuke is involved then I dont think you could classify it as "winning" at all

Re:Horray (2)

timeOday (582209) | more than 3 years ago | (#34889394)

The US and China aren't going to be invading each other for a fight to the death any time soon. At minimum, there would be many decades of proxy wars in outlying areas first, and as yet there's no real reason to think even those will occur.

Re:Horray (1)

AHuxley (892839) | more than 3 years ago | (#34889502)

The CIA will play the long game. China will be messed with in Tibet, along its local trade routes, in Africa and back at home.
The smarter and more connected China becomes, the more the CIA can infect the next generation.
Young people in China at the top level study very hard and are kept away from many creative aspects of life. The CIA understands this and can pump in free music, fun books/movies, deep cults, free porn, drugs, a blend of green/freedom/faith based/independence spreading NGO's.
As for nukes read up on http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Andrew_Marshall_(foreign_policy_strategist) [wikipedia.org] . The US has some great new ideas :)

Re:Horray (1)

couchslug (175151) | more than 3 years ago | (#34889678)

That's a logical benchmark.

By the way, dear readers, ALL the current tech advantages we have cannot be presumed permanent.

Fiber flight control cables etc are much less vulnerable than copper wiring to EMP, and weigh less. Soon everyone will have UAVs and otherwise catch up with our current tech, and it is naive to think nation-state wars are over as it was to believe the League of Nations would bring peace to Europe.

Re:Horray (1)

timeOday (582209) | more than 3 years ago | (#34889458)

Now our military has more stuff, we might be able to stand a chance against another military for the first time in a long time!

Well, read the article... there is no claim of increasing lethality here, it is all about sustainability:

"Converting a fixed point-to-point cable infrastructure of tactical aircraft to a reconfigurable fiber-optic network that remains for the life of the air frame has the potential to save the Defense Department billions of dollars over the lifecycle of an aircraft fleet," said Adel Saleh, DARPA program manager in a statement.

The agency said modern military aircraft typically feature miles of heavily shielded copper wire cables that connect a multitude of components. "This cabling is heavy and subject to deterioration due to harsh environmental conditions encountered in normal flight operations. In addition, cables needed for carrying analog radio frequency signals are expensive, fragile and difficult to install and replace.

I think this is a good direction for us to take. We need to think about how to maintain our military strength as much as possible while diverting more of our resources to today's battlefield - the global economy (by which I really just mean cutting government expenses to reduce the tax/inflation burden).

Hm... (1)

atari2600a (1892574) | more than 3 years ago | (#34887680)

What weighs more...a thousand super-light CAT5e cables, or two-thousand optic modems + one thousand strands of fiber...

Re:Hm... (2)

wizardforce (1005805) | more than 3 years ago | (#34887824)

Current prototype digital integrated transmitters are designed to support tuning over 32 wavelength channels, each carrying 10 gigabit-per-second data rates. The associated digital receiver can support the selection of any combination of four simultaneous outputs from the 32 channels.

Assuming that a typical Cat5e cable can do about a Gbps, each of these cables are equivalent to about 30 cat5's. So unless these things weigh over 30 times what a cat5 does, they'll be significantly lighter.

Re:Hm... (1)

billyswong (1858858) | more than 3 years ago | (#34888270)

You are assuming the system can and will saturate 30 cat5 cables, which may or may not be true.

Re:Hm... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34890724)

Why are you people talking about cat5e. 1999 called and they want their cable back. Try Cat 6A http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/10GBASE-T#10GBASE-T .

Re:Hm... (4, Informative)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 3 years ago | (#34887830)

Don't forget that the copper cables need to be shielded against interference, while fibre is much more robust.

Re:Hm... (2)

thue (121682) | more than 3 years ago | (#34888588)

I would imagine that the shielding has to be especially robust in military equipment, as it should be EMP resistant.

Re:Hm... (1)

greyhueofdoubt (1159527) | more than 3 years ago | (#34889444)

Shielding the hundreds of miles of wire on a small fighter like the F-16 would add thousands of pounds to the unloaded weight of the aircraft, reducing available payload for fuel or ordnance. In aviation- and more specifically, military aviation- there is a constant struggle between weight and strength/redundancy. Panels are chemically milled to thin out areas with lower stress concentration, a process that saves only a few grams or ounces per panel. The airframe is built to be just strong enough to fly between 300-400 hours without disintegrating in midair, whereupon it must be taken apart and have many parts replaced. The manufacturer and the AF decided that it was worth the extra maintenance costs to have an airframe that can turn x degrees-per-second faster, or take off from a runway that is y feet shorter, than a stronger, heavier airframe.

The point is- these aircraft are not built like a long-haul commercial passenger fleet, nor are they built like the heavily defended flying fortresses of yesteryear. Modern fighters are built and equipped for very specific missions, and afaik none of those missions include surviving major emp. You can ask about nuclear warheads, but the simple answer is that the fighter fleet is not an 'anti-nuclear' force. An F-16 doesn't need to be nuclear hardened because an F-16 close enough to a nuke to have its circuits fried will almost certainly be a loss anyways. The base I work at was once a primary target for soviet ICBMs due to nearby silos and our nuclear munitions. It would be laughable to expect the planes on the ground to scramble after a nuclear detonation or hope to land on the glowing crater where the runway used to be.

tl;dr- non-rf cables aren't shielded except in areas of the aircraft where it is absolutely necessary.

-b

Re:Hm... (2)

vikisonline (1917814) | more than 3 years ago | (#34888846)

I dont know. Vibrations, fatigue? Unless they use some plastic fibers and not glass, Im not sure how well it would resist fracturing compared to metal wires. It will also raise costs like crazy. Although hey its the military. They dont have budget problems like NASA.

Prototype *phonic* gear?? (4, Funny)

Snorbert Xangox (10583) | more than 3 years ago | (#34887694)

From the summary: "prototype phonic gear" - are they going back to speaking tubes like the ones on old ships?

Re:Prototype *phonic* gear?? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34887736)

Yes, they meant photonic gear.

dom

Re:Prototype *phonic* gear?? (2)

wizardforce (1005805) | more than 3 years ago | (#34887774)

Yeah they pretty much just copy-pasted that right out of TFA without doing any editing. The summary even managed to misspell it despite it being part of the acronym in the summary its self.

Network Enabled by Wavelength division multiplexing Highly Integrated Photonics

Re:Prototype *phonic* gear?? (2)

countertrolling (1585477) | more than 3 years ago | (#34887786)

Yep, voice controlled [hookedonphonics.com] ..

Photonic swept away by a Simpson Tide ;-) (1)

D4C5CE (578304) | more than 3 years ago | (#34888200)

It's just like nucular [youtube.com] , you know. ;-)
But if they shoot well, who cares how they spell...

Fuckin A! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34887700)

Suck my big fat NIGGER COCK!!!

Will it cut down (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34887704)

on EMP susceptibility ?

Re:Will it cut down (1)

wizardforce (1005805) | more than 3 years ago | (#34887726)

Fiber optic cables in of themselves are immune to EMP but the equipment used to manipulate the data sent through the optical cables is not. That is, unless it is specifically shielded against EMP using twisted wires and proper grounding. This would probably be on the list of things that the military would be smart to insist upon in their aircraft.

Re:Will it cut down (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34887770)

> Fiber optic cables in of themselves are immune to EMP but the equipment used to manipulate the data sent through the optical cables is not. That is, unless it is specifically shielded against EMP using twisted wires and proper grounding. This would probably be on the list of things that the military would be smart to insist upon in their aircraft.

Especially the ones that drop nuclear bombs.

A better solution... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34887792)

Posting anon because of NDA...

Reminds me of the time I had to go to Bremerton early in the morning. I made a small pot of coffee, about 3 large mugs full, and drank all of it. Did my usual 3 S's, but the first S was small, like the neighbor's lap dog makes on my planting strip (which she NEVER PICKS UP BTW). I dress, get in the car and board the ferry.

Midway through the voyage the coffee begins to work. I have to GO. Now I hate sitting down on a public toilet, because usually the ninny that pisses in the stall doesn't lift the seat leaving a fine spray of urine all over it which I'm reluctant to sit in, even with a gasket between the seat and my ass. I figure I can wait.

Arrival in Bremerton. I get in my car and drive REALLY FAST to my destination just a short distance from the ferry terminal. By the time I get there I have a TURTLE HEAD poking out of my ass! I sprint to the toilet, a public toilet, brushing past a guy getting ready to enter the stall. Yes I know what you what you're thinking, but this was a MUCH cleaner bathroom, plus I was planning to wipe down the seat with spray cleaner which I had access to there. But I didn't have time. I didn't even have time to lay down a gasket!

"HEY!!!" yelled the guy. "Sorry", I yelled back. "This is an EMERGENCY!" I barely had time to undo my belt and whip my pants down. What came next was one of the great MUDSLIDES of my pooping career. The kind that makes you feel five pounds lighter after you're done. When your cornhole is so relaxed you just want to light a cigarette after your done; and not just to burn of the noxious brown cloud that surrounds you when you're done.

And THAT was one of the most memorable poops of my life; and it didn't even end up in my pants.

Re:A better solution... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34887898)

Thanks for sharing this crowning moment in your life.

Re:Will it cut down (1)

countertrolling (1585477) | more than 3 years ago | (#34887820)

With all its volume, the box is comparatively easy to shield

Oh they just called it that... (2)

JimboG (1467977) | more than 3 years ago | (#34887722)

Oh they just called it that so they could say: "This plane needs a HIP replacement!"

Re:Oh they just called it that... (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34887818)

If they had had more fiber in the first place, they wouldn't need new hips.

Great, phonics... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34887758)

First the government takes over our grammar, and now spelling too?

EMP immunity (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34887776)

Fiber cables running between Faraday cages perhaps? Fascinating idea.

I think you mean... (1)

m6ack (922653) | more than 3 years ago | (#34887788)

"photonic" -- not "phonic"

robust enough!?!?! (1)

wintermute000 (928348) | more than 3 years ago | (#34887806)

Given that fibre will fail even if say the cable is a kinked too much I have to say is it going to be robust enough?!?!?! Ditto with the transceivers, how many GBICs fail compare to good old ethernet ports (gigabit or 10BASET its all good).

Further what about repairs. You don't need complex equipment or training to splice copper together, but different story with fibre. Theres a reason why telco techs who work on fibre have to do special courses and use protective equipment.

Re:robust enough!?!?! (2)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 3 years ago | (#34887836)

Once your fibre cable is installed without kinks it should be okay. As for training I worked for our road transport agency where we ran our own fibre network for CCTV signals. We sent our techs away for training on how to handle splicing, etc and they handled it okay.

Re:robust enough!?!?! (1)

tyrione (134248) | more than 3 years ago | (#34887842)

Given that fibre will fail even if say the cable is a kinked too much I have to say is it going to be robust enough?!?!?! Ditto with the transceivers, how many GBICs fail compare to good old ethernet ports (gigabit or 10BASET its all good).

Further what about repairs. You don't need complex equipment or training to splice copper together, but different story with fibre. Theres a reason why telco techs who work on fibre have to do special courses and use protective equipment.

What make you think the material medium will be standard in today's fiber?

Re:robust enough!?!?! (1)

Wyatt Earp (1029) | more than 3 years ago | (#34887862)

Have you seen the tests they do on military hardware for the US DoD? The stuff doesn't cost a zillion dollars because of $300 hammers but because of testing and retesting.

Everyone that touches this equipment will have been trained, the stuff will be tested and all the bends will be measured just right.

You know Cat-5 fails from kinks and has minimum bends too right? And in many places (government, education, health care) you need a electrician to touch anything in the wall or at the patch panel.

I worked in a public school district and we weren't allowed to move any cable over 2 meters long, nothing in the dropped false ceiling, couldn't fix a cable, splice or crimp Cat-5 because of code.

Re:robust enough!?!?! (2, Insightful)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | more than 3 years ago | (#34887900)

"I worked in a public school district and we weren't allowed to move any cable over 2 meters long, nothing in the dropped false ceiling, couldn't fix a cable, splice or crimp Cat-5 because of code."

Which is precisely the kind of thing that so pisses off citizens and causes them to complain about the costs of schooling. You make it sound like a hardcore Union shop... which in a way it probably is.

Those kinds of rules are BS. Tenure is BS. Top-heavy administrations are BS. Federal interference in curriculum and school lunch programs is BS. The list goes on...

Re:robust enough!?!?! (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 3 years ago | (#34887934)

"I worked in a public school district and we weren't allowed to move any cable over 2 meters long, nothing in the dropped false ceiling, couldn't fix a cable, splice or crimp Cat-5 because of code."

Which is precisely the kind of thing that so pisses off citizens and causes them to complain about the costs of schooling. You make it sound like a hardcore Union shop... which in a way it probably is.

Those kinds of rules are BS.

Electrocution is not bullshit. A little bit of cable in isolation should be okay for an amateur to pull, but you have to combine it with power in the false ceiling, water pipes, different sorts of networks.

Say one amateur electrician shorts active to a metal strap and another tapes some CAT5 to it, then a child plugs it into a PC...

Re:robust enough!?!?! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34887968)

Yeah, I can see how it's worth writing thousands of pages of regulations to cover something that has probably happened more or less zero times in the history of electricity.

Re:robust enough!?!?! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34888584)

I wouldn't be so sure on that. Some of the first "wire jerkers" were plumbers, because cables were run in conduits (pipes) and plumbers were the only people allowed to run pipes in housing. There's your stupid government regulations for you.

Re:robust enough!?!?! (1)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | more than 3 years ago | (#34888060)

If power is run improperly or unsafely in the ceiling, then it is indeed the fault of the electrician. If an electrician shorted hot to a metal strap, then the pipe or ceiling fixture attached to that strap is electrified, an inherently unsafe condition. That has next to nothing to do with pulling low-voltage cable.

Re:robust enough!?!?! (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 3 years ago | (#34888088)

If power is run improperly or unsafely in the ceiling, then it is indeed the fault of the electrician. If an electrician shorted hot to a metal strap, then the pipe or ceiling fixture attached to that strap is electrified, an inherently unsafe condition. That has next to nothing to do with pulling low-voltage cable.

It does because lots of different services have to coexist.

Re:robust enough!?!?! (1)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | more than 3 years ago | (#34888106)

If the electrician improperly grounded a hot wire, then those services are NOT co-existing! No matter who pulls the cable.

Re:robust enough!?!?! (1)

Wyatt Earp (1029) | more than 3 years ago | (#34887940)

It wasn't about the Union, it was because of updated state code for a school in a earthquake area.

Tenure is crap, there are too many administrators, but curriculums need to be standardized and poor kids need a school lunch program.

The Local and State school organizations shouldn't get any say in curriculum other than what books they are going to to buy to meet Federal requirement. A standardized curriculum is the only thing that's going to end the asshattery of the Creationists and shore up standards so American Public Schools can compete with the EU and Asia.

Re:robust enough!?!?! (1)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | more than 3 years ago | (#34888084)

I didn't say it was union, I said it was like a Union shop.

I don't agree that curricula need to be standardized on the Federal level. In fact, in my opinion, that is one of the problems with schools today. Same with lunches. States and municipalities are capable of doing those on their own. Will that cause discrepancies in education? Yes. Of course it will. It's just that I don't see that as necessarily a bad thing. I agree that lunches should be adequate but I very much do NOT believe it takes a Federal government to do that properly.

"The Local and State school organizations shouldn't get any say in curriculum other than what books they are going to to buy to meet Federal requirement. A standardized curriculum is the only thing that's going to end the asshattery of the Creationists and shore up standards so American Public Schools can compete with the EU and Asia."

Again, I disagree very much. Don't misunderstand: I do agree that there is a great deal of asshattery, but as it stands states are still in charge of curricula, except for a few Federal standards. These Federal rules been in place a while now and have not removed, or even slowed down, the influences of the ass- and tinfoil-hat crowds.

Our goals are similar, we just disagree on the solution. Personally, I believe letting local (state, county, whatever) school systems handle their own affairs will foster competition, eventually resulting in the schools run by the asshats failing, with resulting economic hardship, while the others thrive. Which is how, IMHO, things should be.

Re:robust enough!?!?! (2)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | more than 3 years ago | (#34888096)

To put my point a different way: one of the big problems I see today is the refusal of the Federal government to just let failures fail. Look at the bailouts if you want examples.

As long as the companies -- and schools -- that are failing are propped up by the efforts and money of those that aren't, the failures will never stop failing, and the overall quality will continue to go down.

Re:robust enough!?!?! (1)

Wyatt Earp (1029) | more than 3 years ago | (#34890480)

The bailouts that have turned into a profit for the United States Government were a failure? By what metric?

So School District X is a failure, what is the government to do? Only thing I can see is end all the contracts of teachers and administration at the end of the year, have an out of state Ed Department come in and accept applications and do complete staff rehires.

Re:robust enough!?!?! (1)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | more than 3 years ago | (#34891714)

Ah... nice. Profit. For government. While businesses who had friends in government were propped up, and others (some in better financial shape) were not.

The government may have profited, but the taxpayers did not. They paid, and will keep paying, big time. Need I remind you that taxpayers (citizens) are the only reason for the government to exist at all? Government debt has skyrocketed, government borrowing from the Fed has skyrocketed, which will in the long run eventually make inflation go up. The government may count its returns as "profit", but none of those indirect costs to society and taxpayers are counted in that "profit".

Again, I don't agree that government -- especially Federal government -- is the solution to problems such as the school situation you mention. If school district X is a failure, then that community, maybe that state, will lose economically, big time. That is a lesson they need to learn: good schooling is an investment in the future. I assert, once more, that if they don't learn that lesson, quality of education will continue to erode. People will move to the states that have good education. That's the way things work.

Yes, it means temporary disaster for some. But if that's the only way they'll learn, then let it be so.

Re:robust enough!?!?! (2)

aaarrrgggh (9205) | more than 3 years ago | (#34889598)

Speaking as a licensed electrical engineer that did the network cabling for my office, a matures shouldn't be doing it above the ceiling.

Code issues: You need proper, dedicated support wires for the cables. Do you have Powder activated anchor gun... and proper training? Are you using plenum cables in the ceiling? Are you keeping the cables off the ceiling tiles?

Practical issues: Are you pulling against any MC cable that you could pierce the armor and insulation with enough force? Are you going to cut yourself on any sharp metal? Are you wearing a hard hat and safety glasses above the ceiling so you don't get stabbed by other anchor wires? Can you spot asbestos?

There are even simpler things... do you know how to safely use a ladder?

Unfortunately, between workman's comp, risk of a lawsuit, and even general good practice, it doesn't really make good sense to have non-professionals pull cables. Now, if it wasn't for warranty issues, having your own tech do the terminations would be fine... but then how do you hold the other guy accountable for a pinched cable?

There are rational limits, but those are hard to define at an organization level.

Re:robust enough!?!?! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34890636)

"I worked in a public school district and we weren't allowed to move any cable over 2 meters long, nothing in the dropped false ceiling, couldn't fix a cable, splice or crimp Cat-5 because of code."

Which is precisely the kind of thing that so pisses off citizens and causes them to complain about the costs of schooling. You make it sound like a hardcore Union shop... which in a way it probably is.

Those kinds of rules are BS. Tenure is BS. Top-heavy administrations are BS. Federal interference in curriculum and school lunch programs is BS. The list goes on...

I have re-cabled an entire school district where the staff has run their own cable. They had run cable through fire dampers, cut pathways through fire and smoke walls without resealing them and violated numerous other codes that are in place to protect the children and teachers. If there had been a fire in one of those schools it would have been devastating. If you can't afford to do something right the first time, especially when it comes to safety, don't do it at all.

Re:robust enough!?!?! (1)

eL-gring0 (1950736) | more than 3 years ago | (#34887928)

I know nothing of what the military specifies for their aircraft or these types of equipment, I'll assume it's of a higher grade than I need in my corporate LAN.

Regardless, fiber is tough enough to run through conduit, can be bent around corners (not right-angle turns, perhaps) and for my use, can be spliced together in the field with a piece of plastic worth about a dollar and some inexpensive tools. The military can afford to wrap the fiber in something protective to prevent kinks or breaks if they wanted, and maybe even design connectors and transceivers that will stand up to more shock or abuse than your typical switch/router patch cables and transceivers. Point being, it's a robust technology that's been in use for a fairly long time (relative to computer tech).

From TFA, it sounds like they're multiplexing a lot of logical connections into a few single physical connections. How many different systems are required for an F22 to fly at combat readiness? How many of those systems have interconnected parts requiring their own communications? Running entire systems' electronic conversations over (relatively) few fiber cables sounds incredibly more scalable, and if the initiative works, reliable than point-to-point or -multipoint copper for each device. I suppose "a lot" is an understatement.

How'd you like to see the book of checklists for a system that has miles of potentially faulty copper? You can troubleshoot that one, I'll do the one with a bundle of fiber I can count the number of strands on. :)

Re:robust enough!?!?! (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 3 years ago | (#34888624)

Yes, forget about repairs. They will simply replace the piece of fiber. We're talking about multi-million (in some cases -billion) aircraft here. A new nut for mounting the turbine wheel comes individually wrapped in bubble wrap and its own cardboard box.

EMP be gone! (1)

PacRim Jim (812876) | more than 3 years ago | (#34887832)

Immune to EMP?

Re:EMP be gone! (2)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 3 years ago | (#34887852)

Not immune to visible light (which is also electromagnetic) but if the light is strong enough to scramble your data I suspect the crew may have more pressing problems.

Re:EMP be gone! (1)

Dolphinzilla (199489) | more than 3 years ago | (#34888702)

the network cables might be but none of the other stuff is - EMP hardening is a long gone requirement left over from the cold war - EMP requirements are rarely seen anymore !

Re:EMP be gone! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34888974)

There are non-nuclear EMP weapons. See EMP weapons [wikipedia.org] on wikipedia.

Re:EMP be gone! (1)

Dolphinzilla (199489) | more than 3 years ago | (#34889288)

that is true but they are so limited in range and hard to build that they are of little concern to weapons systems designers - there are still some EMP hardened designs but they are only uses on the most high end and expensive systems

A little deeper in is this tibit. (1)

countertrolling (1585477) | more than 3 years ago | (#34887838)

The research is part of DARPA's Information in a Photon program which is looking to discover and take advantage of the basic information content carrying capabilities of a photon and exploit this information capacity for imaging/sensing and communications applications, the agency stated.

I'm thinking, Oh great, they're rediscovering daylight, pen and paper.

No NEW-HYPE? (1)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | more than 3 years ago | (#34887870)

Surely, they could have been more creative, and backronymed whatever that they are doing into NEW-HYPE instead of NEW-HIP.

Reduce weight on an airplane? I'd start with the passengers. The last few times I have flown anywhere, I have been amazed how many people are overweight. But I guess military folks are in better shape then the general population.

Re:No NEW-HYPE? (1)

jlar (584848) | more than 3 years ago | (#34887918)

And I guess future combat aircraft won't even have pilots onboard.

Agent Smith: Never send a human to do a machine's job.

Re:No NEW-HYPE? (1)

mfnickster (182520) | more than 3 years ago | (#34889790)

And I guess future combat aircraft won't even have pilots onboard.

Nope, they'll have holographic autopilots!

(points to F-35) "NEW HIPness..."

(points to F-14) "Old and busted."

Re:No NEW-HYPE? (1)

CitizenCain (1209428) | more than 3 years ago | (#34887970)

>Reduce weight on an airplane? I'd start with the passengers. The military's done this already. UAVs.

And the predictions are that the next generation of fighter jets (like the F-35s - jets currently in the pipeline, but not in production) are going to be the last ones flown by people sitting inside them. We've reached the point where the pilot is the limiting factor on how fast we can accelerate or alter a jet's flight path (too many G's, the pilot passes out), and it shouldn't be hard to figure out what an advantage one side would have in aerial combat if their jets can execute a 180 degree turn on a dime and accelerate at 20 Gs, and the other side can't. Not to mention who'd have the cooler airshows. :D

phonics (1)

djlemma (1053860) | more than 3 years ago | (#34887932)

Huked awn fonix wurked four me!

Fiber is vulnerable (1)

Iffie (1410897) | more than 3 years ago | (#34887936)

optic fiber becomes opague when there is a nuclear explosion nearby. So these planes build in a major vulnerability to tactical nukes on the battlefield..Its just the military wanting to make more money..

Re:Fiber is vulnerable (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34888048)

So what you're saying is that they shouldn't use fiber because it makes the planes more vulnerable to nuclear attack? More vulnerable than what, "OHSHI-"?

Re:Fiber is vulnerable (1)

Zorpheus (857617) | more than 3 years ago | (#34888598)

Darkening of glass comes from ionization. I have no idea at what radiation levels this will become a problem for data transmission though, and if the pilot would have a chance to still be alive at these levels.
I agree that this is probably just for getting more money. Wavelength multiplexing, to transmit multiple analog and digital data streams in parallel? What is wrong with a classical network structure doing serial transfers? why dont they build that one first, with fibres?

NEW-HIP? Really? Realllly??? (1)

CitizenCain (1209428) | more than 3 years ago | (#34887954)

Who ever it was who decided that every bill, program and project the government undertakes has to have its title mangled into some moronic acronym needs to be taken out back and and shot to death, starting at the toes and working up from there.

And what a dumb acronym this is too, making the data channels in our military jets conjure up images of feeble old ladies who fall down in the shower and need bone replacements. Gah.

Re:NEW-HIP? Really? Realllly??? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34890938)

Nah, it's the new hip-hoppin' cool, bro.

Why optical over single-copper? (3, Informative)

Anonymous Freak (16973) | more than 3 years ago | (#34888054)

The F-22 and F-35 already use IEEE-1394 (aka "FireWire") as their primary data carriers between parts of the aircraft, over shielded copper wires. Is optical cabling really that much lighter that this matters?

Re:Why optical over single-copper? (2)

maroberts (15852) | more than 3 years ago | (#34888130)

Copper is more expensive than glass and degrades. A case can be made for fiber being more reliable and (probably) you need less cables.

Re:Why optical over single-copper? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34888148)

Oh yes.
Small plastic fibre vs. multiple foiled/shielded twisted copper pairs.

Re:Why optical over single-copper? (2)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 3 years ago | (#34888614)

A wire is an antenna. A piece of copper isn't. Military electronics are hardened and then you attach a big antenna to them that can carry noise into your device. This is at least as much about protecting against anti-vehicle electronics as it is about saving weight.

Re:Why optical over single-copper? (1)

Gleapsite (713682) | more than 3 years ago | (#34889926)

both a wire and a piece of copper are antennas. maybe not good ones, but still it'll pick up much more EM waves than a strand of fibre.

Re:Why optical over single-copper? (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 3 years ago | (#34890948)

Er, you caught me failing, I meant to say "a piece of fiber."

Re:Why optical over single-copper? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34888726)

If they replaced each wire one to one with a fiber, probably not a lot of weight saved. However, they are talking about replacing multiple cables with a single fiber (that's the wave division multiplexing), which does offer the potential saving of a lot of weight and a lot of cost.

Re:Why optical over single-copper? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34889176)

The F-22 and F-35 already use IEEE-1394 (aka "FireWire") as their primary data carriers between parts of the aircraft, over shielded copper wires. Is optical cabling really that much lighter that this matters?

TFA said that there were "miles" of cable, so I guess so. Each one has to be fairly well shielded as well, which probably makes it heavier than your standard PC FW cable. FireWire is also the entire stack, and the upper layers don't care what medium the bits travel over. Currently they're working on "IEEE 1394d" which would allow define a physical interface over single-mode fibre.

Re:Why optical over single-copper? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34889266)

The F-35 Uses a fiber optic variant of IEEE-1394. This helps with shielding, vibration, and weight.

Captain! (1)

mindwhip (894744) | more than 3 years ago | (#34888422)

We are taking damage! The ODN relays on deck 8 have overloaded!

Possible attack (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34888592)

I guess this now means that 'imma firin ma lazor' will become a real attack against modern aircraft.

Photonic? (1)

scdeimos (632778) | more than 3 years ago | (#34888618)

The grandparent article is titled "Star Trek anyone? US sets out to build photon-based optical networks."

Shouldn't they be building bio-neural networks then?

I've seen it (1)

Dolphinzilla (199489) | more than 3 years ago | (#34888710)

its going to be a long time before it is cost effective for your everyday UAV's and fighters - right now the technology is quite complex and costly, someday maybe - it is hard to beat the low cost of wire and the weight savings is less than you think - fiber is pretty fragile and has to be protected quite well (meaning heavy jacketing and such)

Light Peak? (1)

Henriok (6762) | more than 3 years ago | (#34888770)

10 Gbps over some new optical bus sounds like Light Peak to me.

Say that five times fast... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34888920)

Network Enabled by Wavelength division multiplexing Highly Integrated Photonics

1553 to NEW-HIP adapters.... (2)

gatkinso (15975) | more than 3 years ago | (#34889054)

Seems like a huge market out there.

Because they sure as hell aren't going to redesign existing avionics.

Been done before! (1)

Runacta Munac (1901022) | more than 3 years ago | (#34889282)

Doesn't Chuck Yeager have a new hip? Wait ... maybe that's different ...

making fun of /. editors is almost too easy (1)

sribe (304414) | more than 3 years ago | (#34889576)

phonic |fänik|
adjective
of or relating to speech sounds.
  of or relating to phonics : the English language presents difficulties if a purely phonic approach is attempted.

So... Fighter jets will be like the ship's bridge in old movies, the pilot will pull out some air-tube thingy and shout commands into it? Will there be speech recognition? Or will there be a person hunched up in cramped quarters down in the engine room?

EMP fix? (1)

AlleyTrotte (1842702) | more than 3 years ago | (#34890338)

Could this be the fix for nuclear EMP. No wires to act as antenna. john
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