News 1998 Army Science and Technology Master Plan

4. Demonstration Programs

a. Science and Technology Objectives

The following technology programs are Science and Technology Objectives managed by the SMDC MDSTC that support the space technology arena.

Laser Communications. LASERCOM is an LOS, high data rate, antijam, low–probability–of–intercept, lightweight, communications technology being developed and demonstrated for use between satellites and among TMD and NMD communications networks both on the ground and in the air. As the Army’s designated manager for this STO, the STD in coordination with DoD and other government agencies continues to evaluate the potential of this high–data–rate wireless communication system to meet Force XXI warfighter requirements. The current program focus is on the ability to use a layered architecture consisting of a network of satellite–to–air–to–ground sensor platforms. The technology uses laser diodes for transmission, tracking, and alignment; low noise avalanche photodiodes for collecting data transmissions; and CCD arrays for tracking and alignment. Future advanced technology development will address high bandwidth potential (w10 Gbps) and other issues such as improving laser output power and maximizing link availability.

LASERCOM is particularly suited for those situations that require secure, high traffic, long range applications. Those applications include space–to–space, space–to–air, space–to–ground, air–to–air, air–to–ground, and ground–to–ground communications. Shorter range, low traffic links would rely on the use of RF communications.

LASERCOM’s advantages over RF can be primarily attributed to its capability to produce a highly focused beam of energy, enabling more signals to reach the receiver for a given amount of transmitted power. Current and projected performance of LASERCOM systems for different types of links, along with innovations needed to obtain projected performance, are described in Table D–21.

Table D–21.  Laser Communications Technology Plan

System Element


By 1999

Innovation Needed

Satellite–Satellite Max range: 2,500 km

Max data rate: 1.2 Gbps

Altitude: exoatmospheric weight, power, cost

Max range: 2,500 km

Max data rate: 12.0 Gbps size, weight, power, cost

Increased miniaturization of electronics
Ultra–stable laser sources weight, power, & cost
Increased single mode laser power
High bandwidth, high current laser drivers
Wide FOV acquisition & tracking
Novel beam steering
High bandwidth receiver
Increased detector sensitivity
Spatially incoherent transmitter arrays
Satellite–Ground Range: 800–1,800 km

Data rate: 155 Mbps to 1.2 Gbps

Altitude: LEO

  Software/hardware for atmospheric scintillation mitigation

Extremely high rated (10 Gbps) direct modulation detector systems

Eye safety

Aircraft–Aircraft Range: 50–500 km
Max data rate: 1.2 Gbps
Altitude: 40,000 feet
Aircraft–Ground Range: 11–14 miles
Data Rate: 1.2 Gbps
Altitude: 30,000 feet
Ground–Ground Stationary/Fixed

Range: 150 km
Data rate: 1.2 Gbps


Max range: 5 km
Max data rate: 100Kbps

Eye Safe

Portable ground terminal

Range: 25 km
Data rate: 1.2 Gbps



LLYNX–EYE (Laser Boresight). LLYNX–EYE is a laser system that is being designed to reduce the TLE of Defense Satellite Program (DSP) satellites and other defense satellites. LLYNX–EYE will operate in conjunction with JTAGS or with satellite control network stations. The LLYNX–EYE consists of an erbium yttrium aluminum garnet (Er: YAG) solid–state laser and automated laser pointing and alignment controls to permit remote use by JTAGS or satellite control operator personnel. It will provide a laser beacon to the DSP from a known location so that any error in DSP pointing accuracy may be reduced or removed. LLYNX–EYE must operate in a near autonomous mode to minimize impacts on operator personnel strength. This laser calibrator can support DSP, space–based infrared system (SBIRS), and other satellite programs. Improved GPS/IMU may be used in aircraft, UAVs, and missile systems. Improvements in pumping and cooling of Er: YAG solid–state laser has broad application to government and civilian user market.

Existing DSP satellites do not provide LPEs with sufficient accuracy for optimal TMD. LLYNX–EYE can improve the sensor pointing accuracy of existing DSP assets by improving satellite calibration. The technology developments needed to achieve performance goals by the year 2000 are presented in Table D–22.

Table D–22.  LLYNX–EYE Technology Plan

System Element

By 2000

Innovations Needed

Er:YAG Solid–State Laser Develop software/hardware to compensate for scintillation observed as random noise by satellite operators which limits DSP satellite accuracy Atmospheric scintillation compensation
  Improve power output by 25%

Reduce laser weight by 75%

Improved laser pumping & cooling


Develop gimbaled mirror system to enable single laser to point to & calibrate multiple satellites to reduce hardware fielding requirements by 75%

Laser optics & pointing

Automated Satellite Location Reduce existing GPS/IMU size, weight & power needs to enable fielding of suitcase sized LLYNX–EYE hardware with the ground location and celestial pointing accuracy’s required by LLYNX–EYE Compact GPS/IMU that performs as well as existing units onboard aircraft
  Use current state of the art hardware & software to develop controller to interface JTAGs with LLYNX–EYE to allow automated calibration of satellites LLYNX–EYE controller
  Develop LLYNX–JTAGs intercommunications using standard telephone or radio communication links LLYNX–JTAGs intercommunications

Battlefield Ordnance Awareness (BOA). The BOA program focuses on providing the warfighter near–real–time identification and location of battlefield ordnance events. These events include artillery fire, rocket launches, and explosions. The BOA will utilize a multitiered sensor system to achieve the sensitivity, accuracy, and area coverage objectives. Space–based sensors will provide broad area coverage, while airborne elements will provide accurate position information and will be more sensitive to lower signature events (see Figure D–8).

Figure D-8. Battlefield Ordnance Awareness

BOA will increase the control of battlefield information by providing the warfighter with near–real–time reporting of ordnance events (within t30 seconds), identifying both location (within <100m) and type of ordnance. Shooters will have targeting data on enemy artillery and missile launch sites within 10 seconds with a direct link and with a position error of less than 50 meters using UAV stationed sensors. Early warning of enemy missile launches (within 30 seconds of burnout) and impact point predictions accurate to within 3kilometers will be provided by space–based sensors. BOA will also provide battle damage assessment to the battlefield commander.

While systems exist to locate and track vehicle traffic and radio frequency transmitters for intelligence preparation of the battlefield, no system currently exists that reports type, time, and sightings of either red or blue ordnance. The BOA capability will identify the ordnances by type and provide position information for counterfire opportunities, as well as battle damage assessment, blue forces ordnance inventory, information for dispatch of logistical and medical support, and search and rescue. It also has the potential to type and classify launch systems using time domain intensity information in specific spectral bands. Advanced processor technology will be used with state–of–the–art staring focal plane arrays to provide this critical information to battlefield commanders (see Table D–23).

Overhead Passive Sensor Technology for Battlefield Awareness. This program is developing a passive optical sensor for overhead platforms that uses hyperspectral, polarimetric, and on–FPA processing to support battlefield awareness with wide area, near–real–time target detection, discrimination, identification, and location. This sensor will be able to detect camouflaged and concealed threats, such as tactical vehicles and aircraft, with target location accuracies that are comparable to those obtained from airborne synthetic aperture radar. The program will use sensor and processing technologies to reduce requirements on communication links and ground processing while providing near–real–time targeting data to support the warfighter.

Table D–23.  Battlefield Ordnance Awareness Technology Plan

System Element


By 2002

Innovation Needed

Sensor Laboratory sensor

Poor geolocation

Ruggedized sensor

Few meter geolocation

Improved sensitivity and processing rate with on–FPA processing

Added GPS and star tracker

Processor Ground processing in minutes Near–real–time onboard processing Fast algorithms for reduced processing time
Ordnance Data Some ordnance data (intensity/time) Complete red/blue ordnance database No technology innovations.

Targets of opportunity required

This sensor provides a significant advancement over current sensors in detecting, discriminating, identifying, and locating masked or concealed targets as well as low signature targets such as cruise missiles. By providing this new battlefield information in near–real–time, this program responds to the need for better situation awareness, while at the same time significantly reducing the communication bandwidth requirements with on–focal plane processing.

The timely information provided by this sensor system will support a wide range of programs such as TMD, ATACMS, forward area air defense system, combat close assault weapon system, and line–of–sight antitank and the battle laboratories including Early Entry Lethality and Survivability, Depth and Simultaneous Attack, Maneuver Support, Dismounted Battlespace, Space and Missile Defense, and Battle Command. The sensor and processing capabilities being developed under this program will have utility for many other programs that need fast, wide area detection of hard–to–locate targets such as reconnaissance, intelligence, and terrain analysis. These markets include military, government, and civilian areas.

Specific technologies that will be exploited include approaches to improve passive spatial resolution; signal processing techniques to exploit temporal signatures; polarimetry to achieve high performance autocueing; hyperspectral, spatial, and temporal signature processing; on–chip FPA motion detection; wide FOV, high resolution imagery; and opponent color vision analog focal plane processing. These sensor technologies will provide wide area coverage of the battlefield, robust detection, and targeting data while remaining within current Army C4I data rates. Current and projected performance of the overhead sensor technology, along with innovations needed to obtain projected performance, are described in Table D–24.

Table D–24.  Overhead Sensor Technology Plan

System Element


By 2002

Innovation Needed

Adaptive Spectral Mechanical selection of spectral content Extend AOTF technology to MWIR (2.6–3.5 m m) Tuneable filter for discrete waveband selection
Polarimetry Cannot detect zero targets Detection of zero targets Near–real–time algorithm development and processing
On–FPA Processing Typical transmission rates without on–FPA processing = 1,000 Mbps Typical transmission rates with on–FPA processing = 100 Mbps FPAs with integrated processing electronics


b. Advanced Concept Technology Demonstrations

Tactical High–Energy Laser (THEL). The THEL weapon system concept is a mobile, high–energy laser weapon that uses proven laser beam generation technologies, proven beam pointing technologies, and existing sensors and communications networks to provide a bold new active defense capability in counterair missions against current threats that are proliferating throughout the world. The THEL can be integrated into the short– to medium–range air defense architecture to provide an innovative solution not offered by other systems or technologies for the acquisition and close–in engagement problems associated with these types of threats, thereby significantly enhancing the defense coverage to combat forces and theater–level assets (see Figure D–9). The THEL low–cost–per–kill (a few thousand dollars or less per kill) will also provide a very cost–effective defense against low cost air threats.

Figure D-9. Tactical High Energy Laser

Approximately 21 months is required to design and build the system, followed by 12–18 months of field testing at the HELSTF and in Israel. This program will deliver a THEL demonstrator with limited operational capability to defend against short–range rockets. [POC: Dick Bradshaw, (205) 955–3643, e–mail:]

THEL protects the force theater level assets against multiple, low signature, maneuvering, low–cost threats. It also provides low–cost–per–kill, rapid–fire engagement on late detection threats, compact and transportable, common C3I utilization, and multimission capability.

c. Other Demonstrations

Joint Land Attack Cruise Missile Defense Elevated Netted Sensor System (JLENS) Program. The Army tasked the SMDC to set up a joint service project office to develop DoD’s first priority element for defense against land attack cruise missiles. The JLENS Project Management Office for Cruise Missile Defense was set up in February 1996 by SMDC MDSTC to develop a JLENS that could provide both surveillance and fire control for defense systems such as the Army’s PAC–3 and the Navy’s SM–2 missile that can shoot down cruise missiles. Its mission is to provide OTH surveillance and precision tracking data to enhance battlespace against land attack cruise missiles, and to provide battlefield visualization of both air and ground targets in support of the battlefield.

JLENS is a large, unpowered elevated sensor moored to the ground by a long cable (see Figure D–10). From its position above the battlefield, the elevated sensors will allow incoming cruise missiles to be detected, tracked, and engaged by surface–based air defense systems even before the targets can be seen by the systems. The elevated sensors have several characteristics, which may make them especially suited to CMD. They are less expensive to buy and operate than comparable fixed–wing aircraft. This makes them the most affordable alternative for achieving a near–term CMD. The elevated sensors can stay aloft up to 30 days at a time providing 24–hour per day coverage over extended areas.

Figure D-10. JLENS

The internal pressure of JLENS is about the same as the exterior pressure. This makes them extremely difficult to shoot down. These elevated sensors can absorb lots of punctures before they lose altitude. When they do, they come down so slowly that they can be reeled in, repaired easily, and sent right back up. In the long term, JLENS would complement fixed–wing aircraft performing a similar mission, and this will provide the U.S. more robust and flexible CMDs. Mooring systems for large JLENSs covering major portions of a theater of operations would probably be relatively permanent. For short or medium range surveillance and fire control, JLENSs would be smaller and the mooring systems could be transportable or ground–mobile. Currently, the program plans to issue multiple concept definition contracts and then downselect to a single contractor for development. In parallel to the concept studies, an Army JLENS testbed has been established at Fort Bliss, Texas, using off–the–shelf equipment.

Kinetic Energy Antisatellite (ASAT) Program. The most important application of a U.S. ASAT capability would be to ensure that hostile satellites are not used against U.S. and allied forces to provide an enemy important information derived from space–based surveillance and targeting. A secondary application would be to deny an adversary the use of low earth–orbit satellites for any purpose including battlefield communications, terrain mapping, weather data collection, and any other purpose that may have military application.

The U.S. Army’s kinetic energy antisatellite (KE ASAT) program will provide the United States with the capability to interdict hostile satellites, preventing enemy space–based surveillance and targeting of U.S. battlefield assets. The KE ASAT consists of missile and weapon control subsystems. The major components of the missile subsystem are the booster, kill vehicle, shroud, and launch support system. The weapon control subsystem is composed of a battery control center and a mission controls element, which performs readiness and engagement planning, command, and control.

To date, two KE ASAT prototype KVs have been integrated—one has been test fired, and two prototype weapon control systems (WCSs) have been built and successfully tested. Booster specifications have been developed and completed. All DEM/VAL phase exit criteria, as approved by the Defense Acquisition Board, have been met and demonstrated.

The plan is to complete demonstration testing of the KV by conducting a full–up, free flight hover test of the integrated vehicle. During the test, the KV vehicle will use its onboard seeker to acquire and track a simulated target while hovering using its onboard propulsion system. This test will demonstrate the closed loop capability of the kill vehicle to acquire, track, and guide on targets. Also, preparations for continued demonstration testing of the system will be initiated for two flight tests of the KV. The WCS will be updated and placed at ARSPACE for interface and testing in the existing Command in Chief, Space architecture.

Army Space Exploitation Demonstration Program (ASEDP). The Army’s use of space–based capabilities and products continues to increase their value added to the warfighter. This has been proven again and again in actual conflict, peace related operations, and field exercises. The Army ASEDP was established in 1986 and became an SMDBL function in 1997 when the battle laboratory was activated. Through ASEDP, the SMDBL is working to keep the Army in the forefront of technology design and development to maintain a preeminent position in tactical space support to the warfighter. It supports continued technology advancements, documents requirements, and subsequent materiel developments.

Past ASEDP successes include use of the small lightweight global positioning receiver in Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm; the Gun Laying and Positioning System, which uses GPS to increase field artillery pointing accuracy; and the Tracking Command, Control, and Communications demonstration using GPS and commercial satellite communications to enhance logistics tracking capabilities.

Initiatives for FY98 include:

Army Battle Command Systems enhancements
Low–Earth Orbit Mobile Data Communications
Global Broadcast Systems
Meteorological Automated Sensor and Transceiver
Direct Broadcast Communications
Joint In–Theater Injection
Deployable Weather Satellite Workstation
Battlefield Ordnance Awareness
Camouflage, Concealment, and Deception (CCD)
Tactical Data Relay Systems
Force Warning Systems
Orbital Mapping Software
GPS Mapping
Eagle Vision II
Project Antenna
Multiple Path Beyond Line of Sight
Clark and Lewis
Hyperspectral Imagery.

Space support to the warfighter continues to be the ASEDP’s driving force. As the Army space policy states: "Army access to space capabilities and products is essential to successful operations."

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