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FAS Project on Intelligence Reform

Tactical SIGINT Technology Adaptive Recognizer (TSTAR)

The objective of the Tactical SIGINT Technology Adaptive Recognizer (TSTAR) is to develop a recognizer "trainable" by an operator which will result in signal recognition using modularized software. It is intended to be integrated into Combat Direction Finding (CDF) along with FRIAR, the Army TST Project which will provide operator tools for signal analysis.

The TSTAR is an Adaptive Recognizer and a Navy TST-developed system that offers software based, near real-time signal recognition. Additionally, if signal activity is intercepted and a match cannot be made to existing signal types, the TSTAR functions in a "training mode" where external signal characteristics are "learned". Also the TSTAR provides tools that allow the operator to identify internal bit patterns. TSTAR uses this information to add a new signal type to its Signal Of Interest (SOI) Data Base, and future intercepts of this new signal type will be identified as such. Furthermore, the TSTAR software architecture utilizes the concept of Object Oriented Programming (OOP), and the recognizer flow control code is kept separate from its signal processing functions. This allows the recognizer to flow through different possible decision functions in the process of identifying a signal. This decision path can move as the signal is deduced, and even back up if an incorrect path was taken. A new signal processing, decision making function may be written by an engineer and used in an otherwise unmodified TSTAR providing the new module uses the proper "encapsulation" required by TSTAR. This is useful if, for example, a new type of modulation needs to be detected after the system has been deployed.

The TSTAR system currently consists of a Human-Machine Interface (HMI) portion, a Receiver Tasking portion, and a Core Recognizer portion with an Analog Interface. The HMI presently runs on a SUN Microsystems SPARC2, but a Unified Build (UB) Optional Application Tape (OAT) must execute on a TAC-3. TSTAR is coded in ANSI standard Unix C and its HMI is created with X Windows. UB requires its OATS to be coded in these standards, but requires the Motif widget set instead of the Open Windows tools used by TSTAR. Finally, for the TSTAR system to be able to function as the recognizer in the ADAS and SSEE Phase II systems, it must contain multiple "channels" since these systems contain multiple receivers.

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http://www.fas.org/irp/program/process/tstar.htm
Created by John Pike
Maintained by Steven Aftergood

Updated Saturday, December 05, 1998 6:33:09 PM