Title: Space Applications in the Logistics Arena: An Analysis of Project COMBAT TRACK
Subject: This study provides an analysis, based on an existing prototype system, of the feasibility of using space assets to facilitate logistics processes, including supply, transportation and maintenance.
Author(s): Denise L Lengyel; Diane M Fischer (Faculty Advisor)
DTIC Keywords: AIR TRANSPORTATION, CARGO, CARGO HANDLING, MILITARY SATELLITES, MILITARY TRANSPORTATION, NATIONAL TRANSPORTATION SYSTEM, TRANSPORTATION
Operation Desert Shield was plagued by deficiencies in the transportation
command and control (C2) network. Although numerous systems attempt to alleviate
those C2 deficiencies, none exploit the near real-time capability of space
assets. Further, those systems require extensive manual data input, impeding
accuracy and timeliness.
COMBAT TRACK is a prototype system developed by the Space Warfare Center, Falcon Air Force Base (AFB), Colorado. Using space assets and evolutionary software, it provides near real-time, secure visibility of aircraft, cargo, and passengers worldwide. It also allows an almost complete hands-off approach to data collection and data transfer.
COMBAT TRACK is but one use of space-based assets, though it is among the first logistics applications within the Air Force. Unfortunately, it has not been tested during deployments on the scale of Desert Shield. As a result, questions concerning the utility of COMBAT TRACK and of space-based assets in the logistics arena remain.
Can systems employing space assets handle the enormous amount data logisticians require to forecast materiel and lift requirements? Can space-based assets improve the timeliness of data transfer, enhancing logistics C2? Can the use of space assets in the logistics arena reduce transportation C2 problems similar to those encountered in the Gulf War? Using historical analyses and expert interviews, this paper answers those questions, reviews COMBAT TRACK's successes and limitations, and provides a synopsis of potential applications of space assets in the logistics arena.