Situational Awareness

Situational awareness provides the squad with current information on the threat environment. Threats include dismounts approaching the squad or leaving the vicinity, vehicles in proximity to the squad, CBRN and explosive emplacements, weapons caches, and blockaded routes. Dismounts may be combatants or the general populace, in the open or behind cover, and carrying weapons or unarmed. The complexities of the operational environment make gathering SA a challenge: clutter environments can appear extremely heterogeneous; multiple, potential targets may occupy the search space; complete SA may require propagation through anisotropic media (e.g., layered or mixed building materials with air gaps); urban or mountainous settings can create severe multipath scenarios and obscuration; users inadvertently interact with the sensor, or the sensor platform requires specialized motion compensation techniques; and intentional or unintentional interference degrades sensor performance.

From the squad’s perspective, the ability to provide SA for a diameter of 900 meters centered on the squad is highly desirable. Limiting the SA window minimizes the amount of information deluging the squad. Providing the right information is critical. SA may be divided into a secondary sector of interest, perhaps out to 1,800 meters with focus on specific threats (e.g., vehicles only) that might enter the 900 meter inner region. In addition to the typical ground threats engaging the squad, future threats may include unmanned aerial systems (UASs), helicopters, and other small aircraft. Intelligence forecasts of the threat environment are essential in the SA sensor acquisition process.

Anticipated threats where superior SA will greatly enhance the squad’s performance include these:

•    Dismounts;

•    Ground vehicles, including trucks, cars, and motorcycles;

•    Obscured targets (dismounts, weapons, and weapons caches) within buildings or natural structures or under foliage;

•    Concealed weapons carried on dismounts; and

•    Detection, characterization, and location of emitters.

Additional SA missions include navigation in GPS-denied environments and life signs monitoring. SA against small airborne threats, specifically UASs, may prove an important mission in the near future. Table G-2 summarizes the SA sensor missions.

Dismount and vehicle detection can involve radar, FMV, and IRST sensors. Radar has the widest field of view and is generally preferred for larger area search and quicker responses. Additionally, radar encodes target presence and motion on the amplitude and phase variation of the radiofrequency signal; automated radar signal processing methods to detect targets in strong clutter and interference environments continue to show significant advancement with corresponding improvements in sensor (e.g., multichannel arrays and waveform

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine
500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001

Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement