Information Warfare: October 28, 2000


The Pentagon is working on a new concept for attacking enemy air defenses. Dozens of sensors on aircraft would continually transmit information on signals they receive to a centralized computer system, which would evaluate all of the data and plot the location of enemy air defense units. This would allow those air defense units to be attacked by a number of different weapons (including long-range artillery or rockets, or air-launched stand-off weapons). Any aircraft in the theater (including tankers and transports that come nowhere near the front line) could carry the sensors. The sensors record not only that they received a signal and from which direction, but the precise time at which each wave of radar energy strikes them. The computer system can then track a specific pulse or wave of energy to the fraction of a second, giving better information on where the transmitter is located. The computers can even track the Doppler effects of aircraft which are flying toward, or away from, or across the field of each transmitter. This Advanced Tactical Targeting Technology is theoretically capable of locating an enemy transmitter within 50 feet. The system will require a new generation of radar detectors able to track the low-frequency waves (used to track stealth aircraft) which most current receivers ignore. It has yet to be decided if one computer would calculate target locations and transmit the target locations to other units, or if the information would be distributed to the entire network allowing any unit to calculate the location of any target. In its final form, the system would be completely dynamic, with mission planning being conducted in real time during the strike. As enemy radars begin transmitting, a mission commander could assign counter-radar aircraft (or unmanned combat air vehicles) to destroy them in order to clear a path to the target.--Stephen V Cole


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