Guardrail 2000 Launched
The lastest version of the Guardrail Common Sensor system represents the Army's first implementation of the Joint Avionics SIGINT Architecture.
The seventh generation of the US Army’s Guardrail system, dubbed Guardrail 2000, was recently rolled-out at Moffett Field, CA. This latest generation of the system is, according to program manager LTC Harold Greene, “both a quantitative and qualitative advance over its predecessors.” Guardrail 2000 also represents the Army’s first operational implementation of the Joint Avionics SIGINT [signals- intelligence] Architecture (JASA).
The Guardrail Common Sensor GR/CS, first introduced in 1971, is a corps-level airborne SIGINT collection/location system that integrates the Improved Guardrail V (IGR V), the Communication High Accuracy Airborne Location System (CHAALS) and the Advanced QUICKLOOK (AQL) into the same platform — the RC-12K/N/P/Q aircraft. Key features include integrated communications and radar reporting, enhanced signal classification and recognition, direction finding (DF), precision emitter location and an advanced, integrated aircraft cockpit. It collects selected low-, mid- and high-band radio signals; identifies/ classifies them; determines the locations of their sources; and provides near-real-time reporting to tactical commanders. The system uses an integrated-processing-facility (IPF) ground station that serves as the control, data-processing and message center for the overall system. Each system consists nominally of twelve aircraft, which normally perform operational missions in flights of three.
Unlike earlier generations of Guardrail, the latest system boasts five operating modes from which the commander may choose:
Direct Tether — allows each aircraft to talk to its own tracking operator via a datalink (as do all previous versions);
Extended Tether — allows the aircraft to talk to both the ground station and to the other two aircraft in the flight of three;
Untethered — records data while aloft for downloading after landing;
Repeater Operations — extended data-collection capability with downlink to a ground vehicle, which in turn retransmits the data to a satellite for global redirection where a downlink is available; and
Direct Air-to-Satellite Relay — allows all three aircraft to transmit directly to a satellite, which in turn relays to an IPF ground station that does not have to be in the operations area.
As Colonel Greene explained to JED in a 1999 interview, Guardrail 2000 — formally known as the Guardrail Common Sensor System II (GR/CS II) — is a “multi-intelligence system” that provides intelligence support for the ground-force commander (see “The Future of ISR,” JED, December 1999). The Army’s operational requirements call for the “full range of signals-intelligence coverage” — communications intelligence (COMINT) and electronics intelligence (ELINT), all with precision-location capabilities.
TRW serves as prime contractor for integration, software engineering and system testing for the Guardrail 2000 program. According to TRW’s Herman Redd, after its rollout at Moffett Field, the Guardrail 2000 aircraft immediately headed for Ft. Hood, TX, with field reassembly, testing and training to begin in April. This is expected to be completed by August, with fielding set to be with the 15th Military Intelligence Aerial Exploitation Battalion of III Corps in FY01.
While Guardrail 2000 has greatly increased flexibility, the challenge of continued success with Guardrail comes from its being a horizontal- insertion program (HIP). Each generation was built at a different time, by different contractors, and then inserted into the Guardrail Program. This means that until now, there was an ability for forward but not backward compatibility: Beechcraft/ Raytheon supplied the RC-12 aircraft; Lockheed Martin the CHAALS; SEI the Advanced Quick Look; and L3 Communications the datalinks. Guardrail 2000 incorporates a plan for increased interoperability among the different versions and greater upgrade capability. Key to the Guardrail 2000 Program is a plan to migrate Guardrail technology backward as well as forward while maintaining the desired operability of all existing Guardrail systems. “Guardrail 2000 not only takes advantage of improved technology developed since its last version,” Greene explained, “but it incorporates heightened operability specifically through improved frequency band manipulation and an increase in the signal set that can be captured.”
— K. Sherman
Contract Awarded for Prophet Ground Systems
The US Army Communications-Electronics Command (Ft. Monmouth, NJ) recently announced the selection of the Rockwell Collins (Cedar Rapids, IA) AN/USQ-146 command-and- control-warfare (C2W) system as the Prophet Ground solution. The company will provide 13 AN/USQ-146 systems, along with spares, under a $5-million contract. The systems now to be procured will replace the interim solution — the AN/PRD-13 signals-intelligence manpack (mounted on a HMMWV) — provided by Delfin Systems (Santa Clara, CA) under a $9.1-million contract (see “IEWCS Successor Takes Shape,” JED, November 1999).
Rockwell Collins’ AN/USQ-146 — a derivative of the Sanders (Nashua, NH) AN/USQ-113 communications jammer, which forms part of the Block-89A upgrade for the EA-6B Prowler — is a commercial, off-the-shelf transceiver that provides AM/FM voice and data communications, multiband surveillance, target detection, identification and analysis, as well as multiwaveform jamming of targeted signals in the frequency range of 20-2,500 MHz. The Army had been hoping to acquire systems which would improve upon the 20- to 88-MHz frequency range of existing AN/TLQ-17 systems — perhaps to extend as high as 500 MHz. The AN/USQ-146, thus, extends coverage of the Prophet Ground system far beyond the Army’s expectations.
These systems, according to a source at Rockwell Collins, will play a part in the Light Advanced Warfighting Experiment (AWE) to be held later this year at Ft. Huachuca, AZ. The AWE will provide an opportunity to evaluate the AN/USQ-146 prior to a production decision, which is expected by the end of this year.
This award follows closely on the heels of the Army’s Program Budget Decision 745, which restructured the airborne element of the Prophet program (see “Prophet Air Restructured,” JED, April 2000).
Late last year, the US Marine Corps also tapped Rockwell Collins for the provision of the very same system for insertion into the light armored vehicle (LAV) employed by the service’s Mobile Electronic Warfare Support System (see “USMC Selects C2W System for MEWSS,” JED, November 1999). — B. Rivers
USAF IRCM Expendables Budget Continues to Dwindle
The USAF slashed its budget for expendable IRCM rounds, such as those employed by the F-15. (Boeing photo)
The recently released projections of US Air Force (USAF) expenditures for expendable infrared-countermeasures (IRCM) rounds are causing alarm among the three remaining US producers of these rounds. The 1999 budget for such devices as the M206, the MJU-7A/B, -10/B and -23/B was some $28 million. This year the projections are even worse, falling to under $13 million for these units. The units are used on the A-10, the F-16 and F-15, respectively, and are ejected from AN/ALE-40, -45 or -47 dispensers.
This calls into question if such a small potential market can support the only three US firms who are authorized bidders for expendable-IRCM programs: the Killgore Flares unit of Alliant Techsystems (Toone, TN), Martin Electronics (Perry, FL) and BAE Systems (formerly Tracor of Austin, TX). Production of these flares involves an extremely hazardous process since the powdered magnesium/Teflon material as been known to explode with fatal results at these production facilities. To ensure a continuing competitive source of supply, the USAF in past years would invariably compete its annual procurement, awarding a 60/40-percent split to the two lower bidders. In light of this year’s budget, the companies must now look to overseas markets if they are to continue to remain in the business. — H. Gershanoff
ACS “Concept” Finalists to be Announced
The ACS is slated to replace the Guardrail Common Sensor and the Airborne Reconnaissaince Low System (shown here). (California Microwave photo)
Selected finalists are about to begin a 15- to 18-month concept-definition phase for the Airborne Common Sensor (ACS) program. This phase will include recommending the aircraft, the ground unit and sensors. “As part of this phase, they will also be expected to deliver testing and cost models,” notes LTC Harold Greene, Project Manager for the Guardrail 2000/ACS program at the Army Communications-Electronics Command (Ft. Monmouth, NJ). “The vendors for the concept exploration will be announced in May.” Competitors include Lockheed Martin, Raytheon and the team of Northrop Grumman and TRW.
The ACS is the follow-on to Guardrail 2000, which was recently rolled-out at Moffett Field, CA (see “Guardrail 2000 Launched,” also in this month’s “EC Monitor”). The ACS will merge in one system the capabilities of Guardrail and the Airborne Reconnaissance Low (ARL) system, combining the Guardrail’s communications- and electronics-intelligence with the capabilities currently provided by the ARL system: a synthetic-aperture radar, a moving-target indicator, and electro-optical/infrared sensors (see “NEW ISR System to Replace Guardrail, ARL,” JED, September 1999). Per the RFP of January 2000, the concept-exploration phase will create operational and engineering models to satisfy the ground-component commander’s information needs with signals-, imagery- and, eventually, measurement-intelligence capabilities. Airframe-selection recommendations will also be made and an airframe-sensitivity analysis designed.
The ACS and subsequent programs will use what, for the Department of Defense (DOD), is a departure from traditional design and acquisition philosophy. The Army’s intent is to approach the development of the ACS for the long term: 15-20 years out, which is a major change from the significantly shorter timeline set in the past for such projects developed within the DOD. Further, the ACS program will seek to integrate commercial, off-the-shelf cards and will be designed around open-architecture solutions where possible. The goal is to work toward commercially available (i.e., less expensive and more readily available) hardware, while keeping the distinct capabilities secure in the proprietary software. “In this new approach, both risk and reward are shared by the Army and contractor alike to best leverage the capabilities of private industry,” Colonel Greene explained.
The ACS program is valued at $2 billion, and full operational capability is targeted for FY07. — K. Sherman
Israeli SAR Evaluated Aboard USAF F-16
An Israeli SAR flown recently aboard a USAF F-16 could reduce the service's current dependence on signals intelligence for the targeting of enemy ground assets. (file photo)
Industry sources have indicated that test flights were conducted last month in which an IAI/Elta (Ashdod, Israel) EL/M-2060 synthetic-aperture-radar (SAR) reconnaissance pod (on loan from the Israeli Air Force) was flown aboard an F-16 with sensor data down linked to the Pentagon in real time. The 1,300-lb. pod, used in conjunction with a ground-based exploitation system, provides high-resolution radar images of the ground in either strip-, spot- or moving-target-indicator modes. The Israeli company already has extensive working relationships with Lockheed Martin (Ft. Worth, TX) as a result of the Elta-supplied avionics and electronics subsystems on existing Israeli Air Force (IAF) F-16s and additional IAF aircraft under contract. The SAR pod has already been integrated aboard IAF F-16s.
It is believed that any USAF interest in such a system would depart considerably from the current IAF configuration with the insistence that the SAR be an internal rather than pod-mounted configuration and that the system provide real-time precise targeting of enemy ground assets to reduce dependence on signals-intelligence for that purpose. — H. Gershanoff
Army Orders Infrared Sights
The Abrams M1A2 Main Battle Tank is among the Army vehicles that will receive new second-generation, forward-looking, infrared sighting systems. (General Dynamics Land Systems photo).
The US Army has awarded DRS Technologies, Inc. (Parsippany, NJ), a $67-million contract for an undisclosed number of Second-Generation Forward-Looking Infrared (SGF) sighting systems. The SGF systems will support the Army’s Horizontal Technology Integration (HTI) initiative for the Abrams M1A2 Main Battle Tank System Enhancement Package (SEP), the Bradley M2A3 Infantry Fighting vehicles and the M1025 High-Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicles (HMMWV).
The HTI SGF system consists of a common electronics unit and optomechanical assemblies, known as the B-Kit. The B-Kit is incorporated into the Bradley M2A3’s Improved Acquisition System (IBAS) sight. The M1A2 SEP also uses the same B-Kit for the tank’s upgraded Thermal Imaging System, also produced by DRS. The Thermal Imaging System is mounted in the tank gunner’s sight.
The company’s HTI components are also used in the HMMWV’s Long-Range Advanced Scout Surveillance System, produced by Raytheon (McKinney, TX). Raytheon was recently awarded a $30.4-million contract for the production of 407 Long-Range Scout Surveillance Systems. That contract contains options for an additional 223 units, with a total potential contract value of $338.2 million. — S. Mallegol
Software Technology to Enhance EW Capabilities
Sanders, A Lockheed Martin Company (Nashua, NH), is leading a team in the development of an adaptive scan scheduler under a $4.2-million, 42-month contract. SRI International and Northeastern University (NU) are subcontracting on the award made by the US Air Force Research Laboratory (Rome, NY) and funded by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency.
Current electronic-countermeasures systems detect and counter hostile missile threats by using sensors controlled by fixed scan schedules. The length of time a sensor looks at an emitter (dwell time) and the time between observations (revisit time) defines the scan schedule. With a rotating radar antenna, the scan schedule is basically defined by the antenna beam width and the mechanical rotational rate, variations in which are difficult, if not impossible, to achieve. An adaptive scheduler can automatically change dwell and revisit time depending on the threat environment. This flexibility increases the probability of identification by allowing longer dwell times and more frequent revisits. Radar survival can also be enhanced by minimizing or eliminating time spent illuminating sectors that may contain hostile countermeasure assets such as anti-radiation missiles.
The project will make extensive use of adaptive software technologies and a computing model called Autonomous Negotiating Team (ANT). ANT-based computing systems are both intuitive and adaptive — that is, they learn from their past experience to make future decisions and can adjust the process they execute based on the current operating environment.
Sanders will lead the ANT effort and will serve as the focal point for software development and analysis and advanced digital-processing techniques. SRI will be responsible for software tools and evaluation mechanisms, while NU will develop control-theory-based adaptive and composable software-component technologies. With composable software, program modules may be rapidly interchanged so as to produce an optimum response to changes in environment. The advantages of ANT-based adaptive scan schedules will be demonstrated by integrating the techniques into current programs both within Sanders and in the EW community. Work is scheduled to be completed by February 2003. — D. Herskovitz
“Artificial Eyelid” Affords Laser Protection
Researchers at the University of Florida (Gainesville, FL) and MCNC, a North Carolina technology institute, have invented a microchip device with a surface that can shield the eye or electronic sensors from potentially blinding lasers. Test prototypes of the device, an example of the burgeoning microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) or nanotechnology field, can turn a window from transparent to opaque in about 100 microseconds.
The device consists of a surface covered by tiny shutters, ranging in size from about a millimeter to 50 micrometers, depending upon design. In the transparent state, the shutters stand upright, almost vertically, like an open venetian blind. When a sensor detects light, the shutters quickly snap closed and present an opaque surface. The shutter assembly can be fabricated upon a silicon base, ideal for infrared applications, or upon glass or quartz, useful for optical sensors.
The primary application of the “artificial eyelid” is to protect military pilots and equipment from disabling laser attacks. With many defense systems relying upon overhead satellites equipped with high-power, high-resolution cameras, attack by a ground-based laser becomes a possibility. When deployed on a satellite camera, for instance, a tiny sensor would detect the laser, shut down the apertures and protect the camera. The work is being conducted for the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) and the US Army Research Office. DARPA has provided about $500,000 for the research. Consumer applications ranging from programmable sunglasses to better cameras may follow. — D. Herskovitz
Research Continues on the Hit Avoidance ATD
The hit-avoidance system now under development at the Tank Automotive Research Development and Engineering Center (TARDEC, Detroit Arsenal, MI) demonstrates the continuing pursuit of the goal embodied by the mantra “Don’t Be Seen” (see “Don’t Be Killed...Armored Vehicle Survival,” JED, October 1999).
As noted by Ronald M. Yannone in his recently released Status on the Development of Integrated Hit Avoidance Systems for the U.S. Army’s Ground Combat Vehicles, “the number of non-U.S. aircraft delivered high performance munitions (ADHPMs) will grow by more than 500% and the number of anti-tank guided missiles (ATGMs) by more than 50% over the next ten years...the integrated HA system must use information from multiple sensors to classify threats and decide the best quick response.”
According to Steven Caito of the Hit Avoidance Team (HAT), part of the Combat Vehicle Survivability Group at TARDEC, a key part of this is the development is a Hit Avoidance Advanced Technical Demonstrator (HAATD), which combines detection and avoidance functions in a system called the Commander’s Decision Aid (CDA). A compilation of algorithms that process sensor data to get an incoming weapon’s track, determine the type of weapon and respond to defeat it before impact, the CDA is a computer simulation developed by Sanders, A Lockheed Martin Company (Nashua, NH), which uses a laser- and missile-warning subsystem with terrain-contour-matching-type countermeasures in a Program Support Environment (PSE) for providing analyses to determine potential hardware and software systems. Both the Tank Automotive and Armaments Command (Warren, MI) and private vendors are now testing different hit-avoidance systems.
The CDA was created specifically for the HAATD and is, in turn, incorporated into the Suite of Survivability Enhancements System (SSES). The SSES involves the installation of an HAS in a Bradley M2A3. This project is being run by the Ground Systems Integration Program Manager for the Ground Combat Systems Support Executive Office (Picatinny Arsenal, NJ). The SSES aims to incorporate the CDA with a laser warner for real-world testing on Bradley vehicles. The CDA, as installed on the Bradley, is a plug-in board connected to the laser warner that is integral to the particular Bradley being used. Pre-HAATD work concluded in 1997 with the test of a precursor system, which demonstrated it ability to successfully defeat ATGMs using different countermeasures to pre- detonate incoming rounds at a distance at which the rounds did little damage to the M-48 test vehicle.
TARDEC, the Armament Research Development and Engineering Center (Picatinny Arsenal, NJ) and the Army Research Lab (Aberdeen Proving Ground, MD) are all involved in the HAS development. The goal is a universal active countermeasures system for use by all US armored vehicles, with deployment planned for FY12 as part of the Future Combat System (FCS). If successful, the HAS that emerges will offer a reduction in total armored-vehicle weight of half or more, as most of the present-day armor will not be needed. The FCS with hit-avoidance technology incorporated is envisioned as providing high vehicle survivability at a total weight of 20-30 tons, versus the 60-plus tons carried by today’s conventionally armored M1A1 tank. — K. Sherman
The graphic to the right, which ran on the first page of last month's Product Survey (see "A Sampling of Microwave Amplifiers and Oscillators," JED, April 2000), was credited incorrectly. It was in fact, rendered and provided by Raytheon's EW Operations (Goleta, CA). JED apologizes for the error.
Condor Systems, Inc. (San Jose, CA), named Kent Hutchinson president, CEO and chairman of the board. Hutchinson previously served as president of Norden Systems (Norwalk, CT) and executive vice president of Kaman Aerospace Corp. (Bloomfield, CT)....Dornier GmbH (Friedrichshafen, Germany) has also announced a few changes in preparation for the formation of the European Aeronautic Defence and Space Company (EADS). Dr. Stefan Zoller, currently corporate secretary and chief of staff to the president and CEO of Dornier parent corporation DaimlerChrysler Aerospace (DASA, Munich, Germany), will succeed Werner Heinzmann as chairman of the executive board of Dornier. Heinzmann will become head of EADS Defence Electronics and Telecommunications. Dr. Thomas Enders will head DASA’s Defense and Civil Systems unit and, after EADS has been founded, the Defense and Civil Systems unit of that company. Bernhard Gerwert was named to head the newly-created Electronic Systems operating unit within DASA’s Defense and Civil Systems unit. Johann Heitzmann was appointed leader of Defense Technology....Dr. Ian Prescott was appointed managing director of the newly-formed Thomson-CSF Naval Systems Ltd. (London, UK). Prescott will lead the company’s effort to win the Royal Navy’s future carrier program....Linda A. Mills was appointed vice president of information systems and processes for TRW Systems & Information Technology Group (Reston, VA). In other TRW news, Darryl Fraser was named vice president of communications for TRW Aerospace & Information Systems Group (Reston, VA)....Northrop Grumman Electronic Sensors and Systems Sector (Baltimore, MD) has named James J. Martin director of marketing and business development. George Perkins was named vice president of Space Systems. James L. Armitage was appointed vice president of engineering for the sector’s Baltimore operations....Teledyne Technologies, Inc. (Los Angeles, CA), appointed Robert J. Steenberge chief technology officer....Joseph Garone was appointed director of Engineering for Northrop Grumman Corp. Airborne Early Warning (AEW) and Electronic Warfare Systems (Bethpage, NY). Garone will lead the AEW vehicle, avionics, systems, software and test and evaluation efforts, along with working on the AEW radar-modernization program for the E-2C Hawkeye aircraft....Wide Band Systems, Inc., Defense Systems Division (Neshanic Station, NJ), was established recently to develop advanced electronic-warfare (EW) systems using the company’s patented receiver technology. Rick Ianieri was named vice president and general manager of the new division. Ianieri then named M. Kirk Nelson as program manager for EW systems.
Raytheon Co. Electronic Systems (El Segundo, CA) received a $26.5-million contract to produce and deliver six FireFinder AN/TPQ-36(V)9 radar systems for Egypt. Work is to be completed by June 2003....The Naval Air Systems Command (Patuxent River, MD) has awarded two contracts to Northrop Grumman Corp. (Bethpage, NY). The first is a $17.8-million contract for the conversion of two E-2C aircraft to the Hawkeye 2000 upgrade configuration. Work is to be completed by October 2001. The second, a $14.5-million contract, is for the upgrade of six EA-6B Block-82 aircraft to the Block-89 configuration and four EA-6B Block-89 aircraft to the Block-89A configuration. Work is to be completed by July 2001....Raytheon Co. (Los Angeles, CA) was awarded a $40.1-million contract for 24 Sentinel radar systems and spares. Work is to be completed by August 2002....The Air Force Research Laboratory Information Directorate (Rome, NY) awarded a $1.8-million contract to Synectics Corp. (Fairfax, VA) for the provision of software to allow secure access and retrieval of information involving the Broadsword system, a secure information infrastructure serving the US Department of Defense intelligence community worldwide....Lockheed Martin Naval Electronics and Surveillance Systems (St. Paul, MN) was tasked by the Naval Air Systems Command (Patuxent River, MD) to provide technical and engineering services in support of the P-3 Sensor Integration Data Fusion Efforts. Work on the $15-million contract is to be completed by March 2001....In an effort to expand air-combat-training capabilities at the Air National Guard’s Combat Readiness Training Center (Alpena, MI), Cubic Defense Systems, Inc. (San Diego, CA), was awarded a $3-million contract to provide ten rangeless aircraft combat training pods. The pods are to be delivered by May 2000. The company has delivered fifteen of these pods during a previous contract....Raytheon Sensors and Electronic Systems (El Segundo, CA) was awarded a $10.6-million contract for seven radar receivers and eight radar data processors in support of the AN/APG-73 radar used on F/A-18 aircraft. The work was let by the Naval Inventory Control Point (Philadelphia, PA)....Comptek Research, Inc. (Buffalo, NY), was awarded a $1.4- million contract for 124 stereoscopic PC-based RainDrop systems. The RainDrop system is a computer-based stereo image-exploitation tool used in the location and precise measurement of three- dimensional terrain-feature images acquired by aerial photography....Raytheon Co. (Sudbury, MA) received a $10-million contract from the Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center (Charleston, SC) for the Relocatable-Over-The-Horizon-Radar program. The contract contains four one-year options which, if exercised, will bring the total contract value to $45.4 million....CPU Technology, Inc. (Pleasanton, CA), received a $6-million contract to develop a prototype modernization kit for the array processor of the AN/APG-68 fire-control radar found on the F-16 aircraft. Let by the Ogden Air Logistics Center (Hill AFB, UT), the work is to be completed by October 2001....The Marine Corps Systems Command (Quantico, VA) awarded Lockheed Martin Naval Electronics and Surveillance Systems (Syracuse, NY) a $7.4-million contract for AN/TPS-59(V)3 radar life-cycle system acquisition and support. Work is to be completed by March 2001....Mercury Computer Systems, Inc. (Chelmsford, MA), has received a contract to supply its RACE(r) signal processing systems to Ericsson Microwave Systems AB (Molndal, Sweden), for use in that company’s Erieye Airborne Early Warning and Command radar system. This system is to be supplied to the Greek Air Force for installation on their fleet of four EMB-145 jet aircraft....The Naval Sea Systems Command (Arlington, VA) has tasked Lockheed Martin Integrated Systems, Inc. (Syracuse, NY), with a $6.4-million contract to provide five TB-29A/BQ towed array low rate initial production systems. Work is to be completed by March 2002.