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Communications Networks to Support Integrated Intelligence, Surveillance, Reconnaissance, and Strike Operations

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U.S. military operations in the 21st century rely heavily on receiving and distributing information to and from the field of operation. Immense amounts of data must be collected, processed, and fused into knowledge via high-capacity networks. The required high capacity in a hostile environment introduces significant challenges and conflicting requirements to the communications network for a variety of reasons. The research in this report focuses on combat systems operating at medium and low altitudes, which pose different challenges from the challenges of intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance ISR platforms operating at high altitudes 1 Medium- and low-altitude airborne platforms, such as fighters and bombers, are closer to jammers and signals intelligence SIGINT receivers hence, the adversary systems may require less sensitivity to intercept those signals and less power to jam them 2 the low observability of the platforms can potentially be compromised by transmitting large amounts of data and 3 during transmission of large amounts of data, platforms at lower altitudes are at a higher risk of being detected. To fully understand the issues and challenges, the author considered two types of threats mobile jammers and SIGINT receivers able to detect and locate user transmitters. Such jammers and SIGINT receivers are hard to locate and engage. He first discusses data requirements and threats and examines current communications programs and shortfalls. He then analyzes a variety of options in terms of frequencies, waveforms, and antenna types, and makes suggestions for improving the current communications program based on altitude, range, data rate, and threat. The development of new systems, together with required platform modifications and new designs, raise technology and cost issues that are not addressed here but that need to be carefully examined.

Subject Categories:

  • Military Intelligence
  • Countermeasures
  • Radiofrequency Wave Propagation
  • Telemetry

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