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FAS Project on Intelligence Reform

Semi-Automatic IMINT Processing Systems (SAIP)

The Semi-Automated IMINT Processing (SAIP) ACTD program is a DoD initiative to develop and field a set of integrated exploitation tools which will greatly increase the ability of imagery analysts (IAs) to exploit large amounts of imagery generated by sensors on the HAE UAVs, the U-2 Advanced Synthetic Aperture Radar System-2 (ASARS-2), and upgrades to ASARS-2. It will enable the IA to search imagery accurately and completely and to speed the process of exploiting point targets. The SAIP system will aid synoptic awareness of the battlefield through analysis and display of wide-area SAR images. The goal of the SAIP system is to provide the image analyst the necessary tools to analyze the imagery and generate reports to commanders and intelligence planners within a few minutes of the data being collected. This rapid response time makes the system particularly valuable in the search for time-critical targets, such as Transporter Erector Launcher (TELs), as well as for Ground-Order-of-Battle (GOB) vehicles in company-size deployments to large concentrations. The SAIP system will assist the IA in conducting exploitation tasks that support Indications and Warning (I&W), Intelligence Preparation of Battlefield (IPB), sensor cross-cueing of other surveillance and collection assets, near-real-time targeting by components, target development, situation development, and BDA.

The objective of the SAIP ACTD is to make imagery a responsive source to the in-theater commander in providing a dominant battlefield awareness by focusing on theater and tactical sensor exploitation, tactical surveillance, and site monitoring. The goal of the exploitation is to increase the IAs efficiency. The system will be evaluated based on its ability to improve the analyst's capability to detect and recognize isolated targets, minimize false alarms, recognize force structure (e.g., maneuvering battalions), and provide a closed loop cueing of spot mode from strip imagery.

Figure 3-15

Figure 3-15: SAIP CONOPS

Concept of Operations and Technical Approach

System Description

SAIP is designed to aid the IA in producing IMINT products derived from any or all U-2s and HAE UAVs. As part of the overall United States Imagery System (USIS) community of exploiters and producers, respective SAIP-capable locations will be afforded increased flexibility and capability in satisfying multiple time-sensitive user needs. SAIP will support the imagery analyst through:

SAIP will be an integrated system of technologies with a system architecture that will allow the subsequent insertion of other technologies and modules. The modules to be integrated include force structure analysis and terrain reasoning, detection and classification of equipment/vehicles, and site monitoring. The system will incorporate the following key technologies:

A laboratory working model of the image analyst tools and workstation components will be demonstrated in August 1996. The initial fielded system will be integrated into an SAIP van and delivered to a CONUS site in November 1996 to support initial evaluations. The CONUS deployment will be a nine-month shakeout and user evaluation phase. Military operators will provide evaluations of the interface, tools, and reporting capability. Major military training exercises, such as ROVING SANDS and Task Force XXI, will also be exploited to provide a real-time realistic evaluation. After the CONUS evaluation, the system will support OCONUS military operations as needed.

The SAIP program will make maximum use of commercial practices and standards and off-the-shelf technology. The technology base of the program comes from the three DARPA development programs-TOPSIGHT, Monitor, and RADIUS-and other DoD and intelligence community efforts.

Program Management

The DUSD(AT) will provide oversight. The DARPA Information Systems Office (ISO) will manage the ACTD and provide funding for technology, development, and integration. USACOM will be the principal user responsible for orchestrating demonstrations and evaluations with the operational units for both CONUS and OCONUS operations. They will develop the CONOPS, and ensure that all warfighters are represented, coordinate user demonstrations exercises, participate as a member of the oversight council, and represent the user in determining military utility. The Defense Airborne Reconnaissance Office will provide funding to support technology development and system engineering support. The ACTD management plan and associated Memoranda of Agreement (MOAs) will detail the specific extent of support requirements and agreements.

There are several key milestones for this ACTD: 1) August 1996 Laboratory demonstration of the Baseline SAIP system capabilities at Northrop Grumman Corporation; 2) January through February 1997 SAIP demonstration van is on-site at Edwards AFB, along with the US Army Enhanced Tactical Radar Correlator (ETRAC) conducting an engineering shakeout of the system using U-2 ASARS II data; 3) March 1997 The engineering shakeout of the SAIP capability will continue through the Operation Desert Capture 1997; 4) The SAIP demonstration system will deploy to Palmdale to continue the engineering shakeout of the system; 5) June 1997 begin operations with Lockheed Martin Flight Test Center at Palmdale; 6) September 1997, laboratory demonstration of the Enhanced SAIP system capabilities; 7) November 1997 SAIP demonstration system configured with the Enhanced capabilities will be demonstrated at Palmdale; 8) February participation in ACOM sponsored exercise, conducting military technical demonstration of the SAIP capabilities; 9) June 1998 CARS/DSG Mission Intelligence Segment Upgrade (MISU) insertion/demonstration; 10) ACOM operational military assessment demonstration of the SAIP capabilities; 11) June 1999 demonstration of all software upgrades and transition of SAIP capabilities accomplished.

Sources and Methods



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Created by John Pike
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Updated Saturday, June 21, 1997 11:14:49 AM