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C4ISR for Future Naval Strike Groups 7 Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance 7.1 INTRODUCTION The principal function of the intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) component of command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (C4ISR) is to find, fix, and track both friendly and hostile forces, as well as to assess damage to hostile targets in an area of interest. In addition to sensing (collection), the function includes the tasking of sensors and the integration, interpretation, and exploitation of sensed information. The objectives of this chapter are to review the current and planned ISR capabilities of naval strike groups (Section 7.2); to point out ISR shortfalls in those capabilities (Section 7.3); to discuss key principles for a future ISR architecture for the Naval Services (Section 7.4); to show how these principles can be implemented in the tasking, collection, and exploitation of ISR for naval forces (Section 7.5); and to present the findings and recommendations of the committee (Section 7.6). 7.2 KEY CURRENT AND PLANNED ISR ASSETS The ISR capabilities of naval strike groups are provided by a host of naval, joint, and national sensor systems that can be space-based, airborne, on-the-surface, and subsurface platforms, and by a number of ground- and ship-based systems for the tasking of the sensors and exploitation of the sensor data. This section provides a brief overview of these systems and their applicability to naval missions.
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C4ISR for Future Naval Strike Groups 7.2.1 Current and Planned Space-Based ISR Systems The nation has powerful space-based image intelligence (IMINT), signals intelligence (SIGINT), and measurement and signatures intelligence (MASINT) collection systems and is in the process of developing even greater capabilities. It is essential that naval forces have access to data from these capabilities and that they be able to task the capabilities. National IMINT systems provide photographic coverage over denied territory that, through the science of stereophotogrammetry, enables precise geodetic positioning of targets on the ground. For decades these capabilities have provided the means for precision strike against fixed targets; as the speed of tasking, collection, and processing has increased, the same capabilities have begun to put relocatable targets at risk. New satellite constellations are in progress under the Future Imagery Architecture program of the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO). SIGINT systems have global coverage and provide geodetic positioning of platforms emitting at radio frequencies. Their product is quickly and widely broadcast to tactical forces afloat and in the field, where it is used for strike targeting and defense avoidance and suppression, among other purposes. Defense Support Program (DSP) satellites for decades served as sentinels for the early warning of the launch of strategic intercontinental ballistic missiles. In recent years the infrared-based MASINT data from these satellites have been exploited to cue systems defending against shorter-range tactical ballistic missiles. In addition, the DSP ability to estimate launch points enables counterattack against elusive Transportable Erector Launchers (TELs). New, more capable systems denoted Space-Based Infrared Systems (SBIRS) High and Low are under development. Defense Meteorological Support Program (DMSP) satellites and related space, atmospheric, and surface observations are used by the Fleet Numerical Meteorological and Ocean Center (FNMOC) to make now-casts and forecasts of a wide variety of oceanographic and atmospheric variables. Such surface wind and wave forecasts are of the utmost importance in naval operations as well as in planning ISR observations. FNMOC forecasts are especially valuable over ocean areas where other meteorological forecasting services do not provide the information necessary for effective naval air and surface operations. 7.2.2 Current and Planned Airborne ISR Systems The Navy and the Department of Defense (DOD) are developing impressive improvements to airborne surveillance capabilities. The new Multimission Maritime Aircraft, Broad Area Maritime Surveillance Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV), and Aerial Common Sensor, together with upgrades to the Global Hawk and Predator UAVs and E-2C aircraft, will provide information to enhance sig-
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C4ISR for Future Naval Strike Groups nificantly the air, ground, sea-surface, and subsurface pictures. It appears to the committee that aviation budgets will be strained in future years to pay for the development and production of these assets and for the simultaneous production of multiple tactical aircraft. The C4ISR capabilities need to be protected from budget cuts. Also, naval strike groups need better access to data from existing highly capable Air Force and joint airborne assets such as the Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS), Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System (JSTARS), and the U-2 aircraft. Table 7.1 summarizes key current and planned airborne ISR platforms, compares some of their important kinematic capabilities, lists the primary sensors that they carry, and identifies the principal missions that they support. Section D.1 in Appendix D presents a more detailed discussion of the status and capabilities of these platforms. 7.2.3 Current and Planned Surface-Ship ISR Systems As discussed in Chapter 2, previously clear distinctions between C4ISR and combat systems are blurring; this trend is likely to increase with the advent of network-centric operations. Sensors onboard Navy surface ships are often integral parts of combat systems, but data shared with other units can cue other sensors and can fuse with other data to create a more complete picture or add to a commander’s situational awareness. Air defense radars (e.g., SPY-1, SPS-48, SPS-49) on Aegis cruisers and destroyers, networked via cooperative engagement capability (CEC), are prominent contributors to the Joint Force Commander’s air picture in littoral operations. New air defense radars are being developed as part of the next-generation, multimission destroyer (DDX) program. A dual-band (L and X) capability is planned to provide horizon and volume search. The Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) under development is planned to have modules with various capabilities, including ASW and mine warfare. These modules are yet to be defined. Surface-ship antisubmarine warfare (ASW) systems are discussed in more detail in Section 7.2.5. 7.2.4 Current and Planned Submarine ISR Systems Attack submarines (nuclear propulsion) (SSNs) are often employed for ISR in coastal regions—for their SIGINT capabilities, for the deployment of Special Operations Forces, and in general, to take advantage of their covert nature. Attack submarine ASW systems are described in Section 7.2.5. The nuclear-powered, guided-missile submarine (SSGN) under development will have special capabilities for deploying Special Operations Forces.
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C4ISR for Future Naval Strike Groups TABLE 7.1 Summary of Key Current and Planned Airborne ISR Platforms Name Lead Service Basing Rangea or Endurance (nmi) Speed Ceiling (thousand ft) Primary ISR Sensors Carried Principal Missions Supported E-2C Hawkeye USN Carrier 1,500 260 ktb 325 ktc 37 Radar TAMD P-8A Multimission Maritime Aircraft (MMA) USN Land 4 hr at 1,200 nmi 490 kt 41 SAR, ISAR, surface radar, EO, IR, MAD, sonobuoys ASW, ASuW, Strike Aerial Common Sensor (ACS) USA Land >2,500 >400 ktc >35 SIGINT, IMINT, MASINT Strike F/A-18C/D Hornet USN Carrier Land 1,089d >1.7NMa >50 Radar, ATARS Strike F/A-18E/F Super Hornet USN Carrier 1,275d >1.8NMa >50 Radar, SAR, GMTI, FLIR, SHARP, IMINT Strike F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) USAF USN Land Carrier >1,200e,* >900f,* Supersonic 35 Radar, SAR, GMTI, IR, EO Strike SH-60 Seahawk (LAMPS) Helicopter USN Ship 380* 180 kt 19 Radar, sonobuoys, dipping sonar and EO, FLIR, MAD ASW, ASuW E-8C JSTARS USAF Land 9 hr* 390 to 510 kt 42 SAR, GMTI Strike
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C4ISR for Future Naval Strike Groups E-3 Sentry (AWACS) USAF Land >8 hr* 310 ktb >29 Radar TAMD U-2S/TU-25 Surveillance and Reconnaissance Aircraft USAF Land >6,090 >410 kt >70 IMINT, EO, IR, radar, SIGINT, SAR Strike, Maneuver, BMD RC-135V/W Rivet Joint USAF Land 3,400* >435 kt 30 SIGINT Strike E-10 Multi-Sensor Command and Control Aircraft USAF Land TBD TBD TBD GMTI, AMTI Strike, Cruise Missile Defense Global Hawk UAV USAF Land 12,000 340 kt 65 SAR, GMTI, EO, IR, SIGINT Strike Broad Area Maritime Surveillance UAV USN Land >8 hr at 2,000 nmi TBD TBD Radar, SAR, ISAR, EO, IR ASuW, ASW, Strike MQ-1/9 Predator UAV USAF Land 24 hr at 400 nmi 70 ktb 117 ktc 25 EO, IR, SAR Strike Fire Scout VTUAV USN Ship 200 125 kt 20 EO, IR Strike, Naval Fire Support Eagle Eye USN Ship Land 3 hr at 100 nmi 185 kt 20 EO, IR Strike, Maneuver, Naval Fire Support
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C4ISR for Future Naval Strike Groups Name Lead Service Basing Rangea or Endurance (nmi) Speed Ceiling (thousand ft) Primary ISR Sensors Carried Principal Missions Supported Scan Eagle USN Ship Land >15 hr 50 kt >16 EO, IR Strike, Maneuver, Naval Fire Support J-UCAS USAF USN Carrier Land 2 hr at 1,000 nmi TBD TBD ELINT, EO, IR, radar SEAD, Strike NOTE: An asterisk (*) indicates those platforms that are capable of in-flight refueling. a Unrefueled range. b Cruise. c Maximum. d Clean with two AIM-9s. e Conventional takeoff and landing, F-35A and F-35C. f Short takeoff and vertical landing (STOVL), F-35B. AMTI, airborne moving target indicator; ASuW, antisurface warfare; ASW, antisubmarine warfare; ATARS, Advanced Tactical Air Rec onnaissance System; AWACS, Airborne Warning and Control System; BMD, ballistic missile defense; ELINT, electronic intelligence; EO, electro-optical; FLIR, forward-looking radar; GMTI, ground moving target indicator; IMINT, image intelligence; IR, infrared; ISAR, inverse synthetic aperture radar; JSTARS, Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System; J-UCAS, Joint-Unmanned Combat Air System; kt, knot; LAMPS, Light Airborne Multipurpose System; MAD, magnetic anomaly detection; MASINT, measurement and signatures intelligence; NMa, Mach number; SAR, synthetic aperture radar; SEAD, suppression of enemy air defenses; SIGINT, signals intelligence; TAMD, Theater Air and Missile Defense; TBD, to be determined; UAV, unmanned aerial vehicle; VTUAV, VTOL tactical unmanned aerial vehicle (Fire Scout); VTOL, vertical takeoff and landing.
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C4ISR for Future Naval Strike Groups 7.2.5 Current and Planned Antisubmarine Warfare ISR Systems The Naval Services must bear primary responsibility in the DOD for undersea ISR. Given the current state of affairs in ASW and its relevance to the Naval Services, this subsection briefly summarizes current and planned ASW systems. Departing somewhat from the format in Section 7.2 thus far, this subsection addresses ASW systems in all platforms and basing modes. Future ASW may involve a network of sensors of all types. For a discussion of mine warfare systems, see the 2001 Naval Studies Board report Naval Mine Warfare.1 The ASW mission today involves ship, submarine, and airborne sensors, together with arrays of sonar sensors deployed on the ocean floor. Surface combatant ships and attack submarines carry hull-mounted sonars and towed arrays. Fixed-wing aircraft and helicopters carry magnetic anomaly detection (MAD) sensors; traditional electro-optical (EO), infrared (IR), SIGINT, and radar systems; sensors optimized for detecting periscopes in sea clutter; and dipping sonars. A class of noncombatant ships keeps station in specific ocean areas and tows sonar arrays. Several types of deployed sonar arrays exist or are under development. The arrays send raw acoustic data over connecting cables to shore sites or, in the future, to the LCS. Section D.2 in Appendix D provides more detail on current and planned ASW sensors using a mix of connectivity. 7.2.6 Current and Planned Systems for Tasking and Exploitation Current Systems Naval strike groups today rely on a large number of disparate systems, sometimes with overlapping capabilities, for tasking and exploitation. The Tactical Control System was a DOD attempt to achieve a common system for controlling UAVs and receiving data from them, but as new UAVs have been introduced, the number of separate control systems has been increasing. Similarly, the DOD directed the development of a common Joint Service Imagery Processing System (JSIPS), but only the Navy version, JSIPS-N, came to fruition. The Naval Air Systems Command developed JSIPS-N and later the Precision Targeting Workstation (PTW) for using imagery to derive geodetic targeting coordinates for the Tomahawk cruise missile and tactical aircraft. The Army developed the Tactical Exploitation System (TES) and interested the Naval Sea Systems Command in using a naval variant (TES-N) on surface combatant ships. The two systems (JSIPS-N and TES-N) have overlapping capabilities and produce somewhat different results. A conflict arose that led the Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Research, Development, and Acquisition (ASN[RDA]) to 1 Naval Studies Board, National Research Council. 2001. Naval Mine Warfare: Operational and Technical Challenges for Naval Forces, National Academy Press, Washington, D.C.
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C4ISR for Future Naval Strike Groups appoint a Direct Reporting Program Manager for the two systems. Similar conflict among the Navy, Army, Air Force, and Marine Corps led the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics (USD[AT&L]) to direct that the Services cooperate in developing the Distributed Common Ground Station, discussed below. Distributed Common Ground Station The Distributed Common Ground Station (DCGS) is the cooperative effort of the Services and agencies for tasking, processing, exploitation, and dissemination (TPED) of information from collection platforms. The DCGS will greatly enhance future U.S. strike operations. It combines command-and-control systems, ground stations for UAVs and manned aircraft, IMINT and SIGINT dissemination and processing capabilities, and targeting systems into an architecture that can be scaled up to support major commands and scaled down for installation on tactical platforms. To ensure interoperability, the U.S. Air Force (USAF) is developing a DCGS Integrated Backbone (architecture, standards, tools, and documentation) that it will provide to the other Services as they develop their variants. The DCGS creates a shared-information environment by incorporating all sensors and ground stations on a common network. It will greatly improve the flow of timely intelligence, enhancing the joint and combined warfighters’ capabilities as well as providing common exploitation, information management, and tools for network management and security. The Navy’s concept of operations for its DCGS variant is shown in Figure 7.1. Three tiers are planned, to provide scaled, distributed capabilities. The DCGS-N will be fielded in a spiral development that will ultimately integrate a large number of legacy and new capabilities into one system. There will be interdependencies with Global Command and Control System-Maritime (GCCS-M) (discussed in Chapter 4). Figure 7.2 portrays top-level plans for the integration of various legacy and new capabilities into DCGS-N. The column of capabilities to the right in this figure represents the DCGS Integrated Backbone to be provided by the USAF. Note the incorporation of JSIPS-N and TES-N capabilities and the unified UAV service. DCGS-N is the logical host for new concepts for tasking, processing, and exploitation, such as those discussed in Section 7.5. 7.3 ISR SHORTFALLS WITH CURRENT AND PLANNED SYSTEMS This section points out shortfalls that the committee sees with current and planned Navy ISR systems. The major shortfalls for Sea Shield in Major Combat Operations (Table 7.2) center on undersea warfare, but there are significant limitations in other Sea Shield missions as well. For Sea Strike in Major Combat
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C4ISR for Future Naval Strike Groups FIGURE 7.1 Concept of operations for the naval variant of the Distributed Common Ground Station (DCGS-N). NOTE: NTM, National Technical Means; SIGINT, signals intelligence; UAV, unmanned aerial vehicle; CV/CVN, aircraft carrier, nuclear-powered aircraft carrier; GIG, Global Information Grid; AMPHIB, amphibious class of ships; LCAC, landing craft, air-cushioned; Tier I, Ashore/Numbered Fleet; Tier II, Fleet (expeditionary strike group/carrier strike group); Tier III, Unit/Tactical Level (surface, subsurface, airborne, and Special Operations Forces platforms). SOURCE: Lorraine Wilson, Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Research, Development, and Acquisition, “DCGS-N Perspective,” presentation to the committee, October 21, 2004. Operations (Table 7.3), the major shortfalls are in persistent wide-area surveillance and sensor-data exploitation, but again there are limitations in other ISR functions. These shortfalls are discussed below at greater length, together with some potential solutions. Section 7.5 amplifies on the solutions. 7.3.1 ISR Shortfalls in Antisubmarine Warfare and Potential Solutions ASW is moving toward greater reliance on distributed and off-board sensors and vehicles because of the limited search rates possible with organic sensors on manned platforms, particularly in adverse littoral environments against small, quiet diesel electric submarines. There are not enough manned platforms available to conduct ASW early in most contingencies. Required situational awareness and force-protection capabilities will only be possible by distributing sensors rather than manned warships (surface combatants and submarines).
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C4ISR for Future Naval Strike Groups FIGURE 7.2 Levels of integration in the DCGS-N. NOTE: NITF, National Imagery Transmission Format; GIS, Geospatial Imagery System; SIGINT, signals intelligence; GCCS, Global Command and Control System; COMINT, communications intelligence; CSI, common scene imagery; MTI, moving target indicator; MIDB, multi-intelligence database; X-INT, arbitrary intelligence source. SOURCE: Lorraine Wilson, Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Research, Development, and Acquisition, “DCGS-N Perspective,” presentation to the committee, October 21, 2004.
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C4ISR for Future Naval Strike Groups TABLE 7.2 Key Sea Shield ISR Shortfalls in Major Combat Operations Mission Required Capabilities Key ISR Shortfall Theater Air and Overland air and missile defense Target identification and target Missile Defense detection and tracking over rough terrain (blockage) Joint operations Lack of a single, integrated air picture owing to a lack of interoperability among CEC, Link 11, Link 16, and other links Undersea Warfare Self defense against subsurface threats Area coverage to detect and identify diesels and torpedoes Offensive operations against subsurface threats Area coverage to detect and identify diesels Countering of minefields in deep or shallow water Detection and identification of low-signature mines Breaching of minefields and barriers in very shallow water or on the beach Detection and identification of low-signature mines Surface Warfare Self defense against surface threats Persistent area coverage to detect and identify surface threats; inability to track individual craft Offensive operations against surface threats Persistent wide-area coverage Force Protection Protection against Special Operations Forces and terrorist threats Persistent area coverage for detection and identification Mitigating effects of CBRNE Area coverage Network protection Intrusion detection NOTE: CBRNE, chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear, and enhanced conventional weapon. TABLE 7.3 Key Sea Strike ISR Shortfalls in Major Combat Operations Mission Required Capabilities Key ISR Shortfalls Strike Hitting time-critical relocatable ground targets Persistent surveillance and timely data exploitation Special operations Embedded coverage and analysis Offensive information operations Assessment of network attacks Naval Fire Support and Maneuver Precision fires Persistent coverage with timely, precise targeting Extended-range fires Persistent coverage Hitting moving ground targets Persistent coverage and precision tracking, tightly integrated with weapons delivery
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C4ISR for Future Naval Strike Groups combat radius, 2 hours’ persistence at 1,000 nmi, and 4,500 lb of weapons and payload capacity. These vehicles will more closely represent the envisioned operational systems, to include two full weapons bays and the incorporation of low-observable technologies. Currently under design, the X-45C and X-47B demonstrators are scheduled to commence an operational assessment in the last quarter of calendar year 2007 that extends to the end of the current decade and beyond, depending on development progress and feedback from the operational community. VTOL or STOVL Concepts for ESGs. The advent of manned V-22 tilt-rotor VTOL and F-35 STOVL aircraft in expeditionary strike groups (ESGs) suggests the possibility of the future development of unmanned vertical-takeoff-and-landing (VTOL) and short-takeoff-and-vertical landing (STOVL) craft to provide airborne ISR for ESGs. The committee is not aware of any flight vehicles, even in a prototype stage, that can meet the endurance and inland-reach requirements that the committee believes are necessary. The Bell Eagle Eye tilt-rotor VTOL tactical unmanned aerial vehicle (VTUAV) perhaps comes closest to meeting other requirements, but it falls short of the needed range and endurance. Ultralong-Endurance Airborne ISR Collectors As discussed earlier in this chapter, the value of persistence for providing information on continuity of movement and contributing to the understanding of an enemy situation cannot be overstated. For surface-based sensors, persistence has been regularly employed in surveillance-system architectures, and the ability to replay a sequence of images or measurements has provided critical cues to help unfold “ground truth.” Until recently, the technical ability to achieve that level of persistence for airborne and space-based systems has been impossible or unaffordable. Today, the emerging technology of hydrogen-powered aircraft and airships, new lighter and stronger materials, and the ever-shrinking size, weight, and power required for the surveillance payloads enabled by the evolution of Moore’s law and microelectronic systems now make these persistent surveillance systems a possibility. A few key applications that would benefit from a persistent high-altitude or “sky hook” platform able to carry capable sensor payloads to provide timely and accurate information on an adversary’s current actions are as follows: Picket fence or trip-wire surveillance of a key area at sea or on land to alert and then focus surveillance to track changes, Ballistic-missile-state vector (position, velocity, and heading) determination at rocket motor burnout to enable an Aegis radar to acquire the missile and guide an interceptor to it, and Tracking ships at sea carrying weapons of mass destruction (WMD).
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C4ISR for Future Naval Strike Groups These critical surveillance applications can provide high-leverage knowledge that acts as a force multiplier for both defensive and offensive missions. Today, there are three competing approaches to achieving ultralong-endurance persistent surveillance: satellites; high-altitude, low-endurance unmanned aerial vehicles (HALE UAVs); and high-altitude airships. The first two have a proven track record, but current systems suffer in some key areas of performance. LEO satellites provide the core capability in many key metrics, but they are constrained in achieving long periods of dwell time or contiguous coverage owing to their Keplerian orbits, which only allow approximately 5 to 10 minutes of coverage per orbital pass. Depending on orbital altitude, constellations of 10 or more satellites are needed to achieve reasonable continuity, and the development and acquisition costs are large. Satellites have demonstrated greater than 10 to 15 year mission life,10 and their resultant life-cycle costs can now be made attractive with the right combination of architecture, technology, and concepts of operation. UAVs, by contrast, cost less for development and acquisition but require airbases near the regions of interest and have high operational costs. In recent years, several defense companies have been exploring HALE airships as an alternative with the promise of lower cost.11 High-Altitude, Long-Endurance UAVs. New opportunities in ultralong endurance, defined as longer than 5 days, will enable new levels of performance in the airborne segment. Today, the Global Hawk offers up to 30 hours of endurance; it is most effective when its airbases are within 500 nmi of the region of interest. Multiple orbits of Global Hawks using three Global Hawks per orbit can provide coverage 24 hours per day, 7 days per week at a rate of 40,000 nmi2 per day at 1 meter resolution. Nearly the entire land area of Earth can be covered from just one airbase using two UAVs with 10 day endurance. Long-endurance airships can show similar benefits owing to their promised endurance but will suffer longer deployment times because of slow velocity. Next-generation, ultra-HALE UAVs currently on the drawing boards promise to achieve 7 to 14 days’ endurance, carrying payloads comparable to that of today’s Global Hawk. Ultra-HALE UAVs require a very efficient power plant and weight-efficient fuel. One approach is a hydrogen-powered internal combustion engine with a liquid hydrogen fuel tank. Ultra-HALE UAVs were pioneered by DARPA’s Condor UAV, which achieved the altitude endurance record in the mid-1980s. A prototypical ultra-HALE UAV can be characterized by its very long (200 ft or greater) wings. 10 GPS, however, is designed for 7 years. Solar activity makes a systematic difference. 11 Andrew Koch. 2004. “US Army Calls for Use of Airships in ‘Near Space’,” Jane’s Defence Weekly, December 22, p. 10.
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C4ISR for Future Naval Strike Groups An important consideration in motivating next-generation UAV development is the life-cycle costs associated with a UAV, driven largely by the operational costs once the UAV is fielded. It is estimated that, compared to a 30 hour endurance UAV, a 10 day endurance UAV could reduce this cost by a factor of six. Lighter-Than-Air Stratospheric Platforms. Several ideas are emerging for near-space platforms that are lighter than air (LTA) and may be able to maintain position in the stratosphere, at 65,000 to 100,000 ft altitude. Having platforms in the stratosphere would allow for wider coverage than can be achieved by lower-elevation winged aircraft, better resolution than can be provided by satellites in geosynchronous orbit, and much longer persistence than is possible with lower-orbiting spacecraft, especially if the LTA craft could be deployed in numbers for coverage overlap with station-keeping over days or weeks. A challenge for this class of systems is that of overcoming winds at northern latitudes in the winter months and being available a sufficiently high percentage of the time (e.g., 98 percent). Lockheed Martin was developing a large inhabited airship for 70,000 ft altitude for MDA to detect imminent launches and to provide targeting for boost-phase interception12 until the program was recently canceled as an Advanced Concept Technology Demonstration because of the immaturity of the technology. New Mexico State University has originated a flying-wing concept that maneuvers through upper-atmospheric wind currents to keep on station. A recent Aviation Week and Space Technology article discloses a JHU/APL concept called High Altitude Reconnaissance Vehicle (HARVe)—the HARVe could be launched in a packed state in a Tomahawk missile airframe from a ship or aircraft and within hours deploy into an LTA propeller-driven platform at 70,000 to 100,000 ft.13 This would allow a Navy strike group to carry its own deployable (and expendable or recoverable) ISR platforms in numbers to complement organic and national winged airborne ISR assets. It is clear that there are many technological challenges to be overcome before this technology can be fielded and proven useful, but the idea of having a long-endurance sky hook is motivating.14 12 Andrew Koch. 2004. “US Army Calls for Use of Airships in ‘Near Space’,” Jane’s Defence Weekly, December 22, p. 10. 13 William B. Scott. 2005. “Vehicles Roaming the Edge of Earth’s Atmosphere Offer Military Potential,” Aviation Week and Space Technology, Vol. 167, No. 7, February 14, pp. 71-72. 14 For historical background, see Thomas P. Erhard, 2003, “Unmanned Aerial Vehicles in the U.S. Armed Services,” Ph.D. dissertation paper, Johns Hopkins University, Washington, D.C., June, pp. 105ff.
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C4ISR for Future Naval Strike Groups 7.5.4 Space-Based Radar and Its Potential Application to Naval ISR During the Cold War, the Navy had a strong interest in active space-based radar (SBR) systems for the surveillance and targeting of Soviet combatant ships. It developed several concepts such as Clipper Bow and the Integrated Tactical Surveillance System. None of these was fielded, however. The committee believes that SBR systems today may present the Navy with a new opportunity. Technology now permits SBR systems capable of SAR imagery and GMTI surveillance, making them useful for a variety of land and maritime surveillance roles and therefore making them of interest to all the Services. The role that an SBR system can fill in an integrated system-of-systems surveillance system is both broad and critical. SBR systems can provide unrestricted access to every corner of the globe, at any time of day and in any weather. With good system design, a constellation of SBR satellites can provide a high level of persistence over a significant portion of any theater of engagement. This system’s unique bird’s-eye view is unparalleled in both reach and in diversity of viewing geometry. One such design, based on a LEO constellation of affordable satellites (estimated by DARPA at $100 million per satellite), called Discoverer II, was under R&D in the late 1990s. Congress canceled the Discoverer II project in 2000. However, it gave $30 million to the National Reconnaissance Office to pursue enabling technologies for the concept. The measure of any wide-area surveillance system is its ability to survey a large region quickly and to uncover clues to an adversary’s forces and intent. Section 7.4 discussed the trade-off between coverage and resolution. SBR achieves the needed balance through the use of different modes. Figure 7.10 shows the relative collection area for a space-based radar system. It can be seen that wide-area collection requires either very low resolution (>6 m) or a mode that employs target motion as the prefilter to focus further attention. SBR has a unique ability to track objects on the ground through their move-stop-move cycle, using GMTI while the object is in motion and SAR when it is not. Figure 7.11 shows the future potential of coherent change detection technology applied to SBR. Figure 7.12 examines a scenario of maritime surveillance and tracking of ships in the Persian Gulf and compares SBR performance with that of manned surveillance assets (e.g., JSTARS) and unmanned airborne systems (e.g., Global Hawk). The analytical results show SBR’s utility in the metrics of time to survey an entire area and the number of assets needed to track a single ship. The committee believes that the Navy should investigate the potential applicability of SBR in a robust ISR architecture for naval strike groups.15 15 National Research Council. 2005. Navy’s Needs in Space for Providing Future Capabilities, The National Academies Press, Washington, D.C.
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C4ISR for Future Naval Strike Groups FIGURE 7.10 Twenty-four-satellite area coverage per hour per theater: comparison of the coverage area of several space-based radar sensor modes and resolutions. NOTE: HRR-MTI, high-range-resolution moving target indicator; SAR, synthetic aperture radar; Hi-Res, high resolution. SOURCE: Courtesy of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency. 7.6 FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS The ISR capabilities of naval strike groups are provided by a host of naval, joint, and national sensor systems in space-based, airborne, surface, and subsurface platforms, and by a number of ground- and ship-based systems for the tasking of sensors and exploitation of sensor data. Finding: The current ISR capabilities of naval strike groups have a shortfall in persistent ground and sea-surface surveillance. Navy and DOD programs in progress will improve these capabilities significantly but will still leave gaps.
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C4ISR for Future Naval Strike Groups FIGURE 7.11 Coherent change detection (CCD) map with original reference synthetic aperture radar (SAR) pre- and post-activity activity. The CCD map was taken a short time after the reference image. Note the detection and progression of human footprints and mower activity (Ku band, 4 in. resolution). Future space-based radar imagery could provide new capabilities through CCD to monitor an adversary’s activity with new levels of sensitivity. SOURCE: Courtesy of Sandia National Laboratories. The nation’s ground surveillance collection capability today is constituted primarily of space-based and airborne IMINT, SIGINT, and radar (SAR/MTI), with specific platforms ranging from national assets through manned airborne platform (e.g., JSTARS) and UAV (e.g., Predator) sensors. With these sensors, the military has demonstrated the capability to strike fixed ground targets reliably, precisely, and with little risk to U.S. or allied forces. The nation’s adversaries have recognized the vulnerability of their fixed assets, and so today it is relocatable, hiding, and moving targets that challenge the nation’s strike capabilities in major combat operations.
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C4ISR for Future Naval Strike Groups FIGURE 7.12 Maritime surveillance, tracking, and targeting: modeling of maritime surveillance for a space-based radar system and contrasting performance of Global Hawk unmanned aerial vehicle and Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System (JSTARS). SOURCE: Courtesy of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency. The Naval Services contribute significantly to the nation’s strike capability, and their ability to sustain presence in-theater is an advantage. However, the relatively few collection platforms organic to naval strike groups, especially ESGs, and the shortfalls in the groups’ abilities to connect to and process data from joint and national systems limit the effectiveness of ESGs against relocatable, hiding, and moving targets. Recommendation: The Chief of Naval Operations and the Commandant of the Marine Corps, should (1) continue their support of planned ISR programs, (2) increase investment in the development of unmanned air platforms, (3) leverage the Space-Based Radar program, and (4) tap the potential of networked strike aircraft for ISR. The Naval Services should continue their development of DCGS-N as a means to improve their access to joint and national systems and leverage the nation’s planned investments in the Future Imagery Architecture and future SIGINT improvements, as well as Global Hawk and Predator UAVs. The Navy should continue its plans to develop the Broad Area Maritime Surveillance (BAMS) UAV, Multimission Maritime Aircraft, and Aerial Common Sensor. These platforms will provide information to enhance ground and
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C4ISR for Future Naval Strike Groups sea-surface pictures significantly. Airborne ISR investments should be protected as aviation budgets are strained in future years to pay for the simultaneous production of multiple tactical aircraft. The Navy should increase its investment in organic unmanned air platforms for naval strike groups. The Navy should prepare to transition into development a carrier-based unmanned combat air vehicle (UCAV) from the current J-UCAS demonstration program, and it should explore STOVL or VTOL UAV options for use in an ESG. The Navy should conduct research and experimentation on innovative concepts for ground-launched airborne platforms for persistent surveillance, such as ultra-HALE UAVs and LTA airships. A space-based radar (SBR) can contribute to both the single integrated land picture needed by all the Services and the single integrated sea-surface picture that the Naval Services uniquely require. The Navy should participate very actively in the DOD’s SBR program, ensuring that naval requirements for land and sea surveillance are factored into the program’s cost-effectiveness design trade-offs. Naval and joint strike aircraft that penetrate defenses and deliver weapons represent an important resource for ISR. Their AESA radars and EO/IR sensors could provide close-in images of the target area; when networked together, these radars and sensors may provide a unique and valuable perspective of the battlefield. MOVINT tracks enemy movement from one place to another and exploits change on the battlefield to provide important indications of an enemy’s activity. The Navy should assess the potential benefits of using a sensor mix with significant airborne and space-based radar capability (including MTI), together with automated exploitation systems for vehicle tracking and change detection, to implement the MOVINT concept. Finding: Current ISR capabilities of naval strike groups have a shortfall in sensor tasking and data exploitation. The DCGS-N now under development will improve this capability significantly; it is the natural host in the future for additional needed improvements over and above the current program, particularly improvements involving automated data processing and interpretation. To distribute its strike groups more widely around the globe, the Navy will have to rely more frequently on reach-back, which DCGS-N will also facilitate. Today, the time required for sensors to respond to a commander’s tasking is typically too long for tactical utility, and the commander has few tools for recognizing deficiencies in the tactical picture. Also, ISR systems today produce a collection of information products from a disparate set of uncoordinated national, theater, and naval sensors. The potential knowledge to be gained from these sensors is rarely achieved. Tactical commanders and their staffs have neither the numbers, the skills, nor the tools to recognize the relevance of these reports and interpret them. The DCGS-N will greatly enhance future naval strike operations. It com-
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C4ISR for Future Naval Strike Groups bines C2 systems, ground stations for UAVs and manned aircraft, IMINT and SIGINT dissemination and processing capabilities, and targeting systems in an architecture that can be scaled up to support major commands and scaled down for installation on tactical platforms. Over and above what the current DCGS-N program will bring, a greater degree of automation will be required in the future to improve the tactical commander’s ability to task sensors and exploit their data. Naval strike groups spread more widely over the globe will find it necessary to rely more frequently on reach-back to help commanders cope with the flood of information available from current sensors and systems under development. The DCGS-N is the natural place in which to incorporate new capabilities and to facilitate reach-back. Recommendation: The ASN(RDA), CNO, and CMC should initiate programs for improving tasking and exploitation that (1) implement a closed-loop ISR capability, (2) fuse multisource data, (3) optimize ISR platform and sensor use, (4) assist in target recognition, and (5) reside in DCGS-N with reach-back to other DCGS nodes. The committee recommends that the Navy and Marine Corps develop a closed-loop tasking-exploitation-tasking ISR information system that learns from accumulating data over multiple observations, accruing and assessing evidence to determine if further tasking is needed. The system would give commanders a stronger degree of control over ISR collection, tools to assess ISR adequacy, and a fused, multisource ISR product that provides greater and more timely situational understanding. The system should apply automated upstream fusion of data from national assets to allow earlier association of emitting and non-emitting target signatures. It should optimize the positioning of ISR platforms and real-time sensor pointing to maximize the probability of target detection and identification. It should also feature automated image processing (highly detailed template matching) at optical, infrared, and SAR wavelengths to allow cueing of image analysts to make a final decision. Finally, the DCGS-N implementation should incorporate the above features but should also facilitate reach-back to well-equipped and well-staffed central facilities for tasking and exploitation support. Finding: Current ISR capabilities of naval strike groups have a shortfall in the detection and tracking of quiet submarines in littoral waters. Navy and DOD programs in progress will improve these capabilities somewhat but will still leave significant gaps. Antisubmarine warfare is moving toward greater reliance on distributed off-board sensors and vehicles owing to the limited search rates possible with organic sensors on manned platforms, particularly in adverse littoral environments against small, quiet diesel electric submarines. A network of distributed autonomous
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C4ISR for Future Naval Strike Groups underwater sensors has the advantages of large-area coverage, covert operation, and tolerance of individual node failures. Such a sensor network allows passive acoustic surveillance, distributed active surveillance, and multistatic operation with other collection assets. Today’s distributed sensor arrays rely on passive acoustics and fiber-optic cable to send information back to operators for detection and classification. But reliance on cable makes it difficult to deploy the surveillance arrays rapidly and covertly on the ocean bottom. Furthermore, long cables connecting to shore are subject to trawling and other human-made measures that can limit their survivability. New methods of deployment and connectivity are needed.16 Recommendation: The Chief of Naval Research should conduct research and experimentation on (1) concepts for distributed, networked autonomous underwater sensors and (2) the concept of using the Long Range Mine Reconnaissance System (LMRS) unmanned undersea vehicle to deploy a network of autonomous underwater sensors and to serve as a gateway for their data. The Office of Naval Research (ONR) should also conduct research and experimentation on other concepts for autonomous underwater sensor networks, exploring the trade-off between in-array processing and communicating data for humans to interpret, balancing the burden of performance between the array’s automated detection and classification capabilities and its communication link. It may be possible to use the LMRS as the critical infrastructure element to deploy the sensors precisely and covertly, provide any routine maintenance, and connect the sensor network to the outside world. In the envisioned system, the sensors would be linked by optical fibers to each other and to the LMRS when it was in the vicinity. The LMRS would be able to connect to and disconnect from the array. In the absence of the LMRS, the array could collect and store data, or sleep, waiting for the LMRS to return. 16 The National Research Council, under the auspices of the Naval Studies Board, is currently conducting a study on Distributed Remote Sensing for Naval Undersea Warfare. See <http://webapp/cp/projectview.aspx?key=304>.
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Representative terms from entire chapter: