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Tactical Air Intelligence will face a crisis of relevance in conflicts of the future. In these postmodern battlespaces warfighters will receive an abundance of information from the network of sensors around them, negating the trickle of descriptive Intelligence provided by their Intelligence staff. The future is not without its challenges.
This thesis examines the challenges facing a particular group of warfighters of the future - the pilots of multi-role fighter aircraft such as the F/A-18 Hornet and the Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) - and how Intelligence may be best delivered to them to aid in their use of the material and to minimise its interference with other information. A large part of this work concerns itself with the nature of the challenges facing the fighter pilot. The argument is that changes in the strategic environment combined with the evolution of military technology is giving rise to a number of new operating doctrines intended to deal with uncertainty such as Effects-Based Operations (EBO), Network Centric Warfare (NCW) and Australia's Multidimensional Manoeuvre. These operating doctrines in turn generate further imperatives for the use of air power and commensurate demands on the fighter pilot. The rest of the work develops the argument that in order to deal with the volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous battlespace of the future, intelligence processes will need to be used by everybody in the battlespace and this will require an improved degree of knowledge. At the same time, RAAF Intelligence at the tactical level risks losing relevance due to the availability of near real-time Intelligence directly into the cockpit.
The solution provided to these parallel challenges is that tactical air Intelligence will focus more on building knowledge than simply providing information. In this way aircrew will be better equipped to deal with the emerging battlespace.