DARPA Invites Proposals for Innovative Electronic Warfare Technologies

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has released two solicitations for creative approaches to develop and demonstrate low powered, distributed radio frequency spectrum-monitoring technologies.

The program, known as "WolfPack" and valued at more than $40 M, is aimed at developing technologies that will enable radio frequency spectrum dominance against advanced communications and radar in the tactical battlespace. DARPA expects that advanced radar systems and future tactical communications systems using frequency-agile, low power, packet-networked technologies will challenge traditional stand-off electronic warfare approaches. The WolfPack program intends to develop technologies and architecture for ground-based, close-proximity, distributed, network systems that will augment existing electronic warfare systems.

Areas of interest for WolfPack technology development include, among others: high efficiency, sub-resonant antenna design (20MHz to 2.5GHz); low power, wideband signal collection (300 GHz/sec at 40W average power); and ad-hoc networking solutions (no fixed infrastructure or base stations). The WolfPack concept envisions portable and handheld applications; the program is particularly interested in approaches minimizing size, weight, power and cost.

The latest solicitation is for the program's second and third phases. In a fourth and final phase starting in FY03, one or two phase three contractor teams will develop and test a prototype WolfPack system.

Total C3 I Market to Exceed $82 B Over the Next 10 Years

In its annual C3 I Market Overview, Forecast International/DMS predicts that the worldwide Command, Control, Communications and Intelligence (C3 I) market will generate more than $82.7 B in sales over the next 10 years.

According to the report, which covers the years 2001 through 2010, current C3 I sales are predominantly from large scale production of developed systems, production which is expected to slowly drop off after several years. By the end of the forecast period, Forecast International expects the funds lost from production will be replaced by those directed to the research and development of systems to replace those in current production.

Over the 10 years, C3 I's market value will range between $8.1 B in 2001 to $6.6 B in 2010. Funds will increase through 2003 to a peak of $8.8 B and decrease through 2004 as production runs end. A significant increase is forecast beginning in 2005 with new procurement and R&D spending expected to increase sales to a peak of $9.4 B in 2006. Thereafter, spending will again be reduced as the next round of future technology matures.

The market is being influenced strongly by the need for interoperability as the move from global to regional conflicts demands interoperability among the nations on a team. The report expects growing use of COTS technology to link and integrate the C3 I systems of the sometimes hastily formed coalition forces.

Delivery of C3 I at the individual soldier level is also an important element of the market's size during the coming 10 years. Systems such as helmet-mounted displays, advanced and modified weapons and weapon sight, radios, navigational systems, etc. are all directed at providing the individual soldier with the information needed to perform his mission. Among the nations focusing on the development of individual soldier systems are The Netherlands, France, UK, US, Germany, Canada and Australia. Satellite-based and connected systems are also playing an ever-more extensive role in delivering information. They afford field forces the ability to receive information at the same time as it is available to commanders and will transfer information at the highest rates within the shortest times.

The report suggests that successful C3 I products will offer a high performance/cost ratio, they will be modular to adapt to changing requirements and they will not be so sophisticated that the training of military personnel in their use becomes too expensive and time consuming. The universal move to digitize militaries is expected to make the C3 I portion of the overall world defense market as active as any sector of that market over the next 10 years. For additional information, contact: Richard Sterk, Forecast International Inc. (203) 426-0800.

Affordable Moving Surface Target Engagement Program Proceeds

The second phase of a research program to significantly increase the ability to target moving ground targets will begin this fall under the guidance of the Air Force Research Laboratory Information Directorate. The Affordable Moving Surface Target Engagement (AMSTE) program, funded by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), is designed to investigate and develop technologies to affordably engage moving surface targets such as tanks, tactical ballistic missile transporters and small boats.

The program's initial phase explored technologies to network Ground Moving Target Indication sensors to provide fire-control-quality tracks of sufficient accuracy to direct inexpensive munitions against moving surface targets. AMSTE II efforts will consist of a series of experiments to investigate critical technologies, explore performance boundaries and demonstrate potential operational utility. The program focuses on the development of a new capability to strike moving surface threats at long ranges and in all weather conditions with precision.

Ground Moving Target Indication radar, with its ability to detect moving targets at long range, is a key element of the program. Initial studies investigated the feasibility of precision engagement of moving ground targets using advance sensor systems such as those proposed for the next generation of fighters and surveillance aircraft. While it was possible to achieve high accuracy in this manner, the real challenge was in maintaining the location of the target during the battle management process. The dynamics in a ground target's performance pose significant challenges to present weapon systems. Idle vehicles can accelerate to 60 mph in less than 10 seconds and stop in shorter periods of time. While military vehicles are usually not as agile, the fact that they tend to travel with other vehicles in groups or convoys, start and stop often and use terrain to block their detection make it very difficult to maintain accurate tracks.

The FY2001 experiment will feature an airborne experiment demonstrating precision fire control and weapon delivery with limited target association challenges. The FY02 experiment will feature airborne experimentation demonstrating integrated high reliability track maintenance and precision fire control. AMSTE II will conclude in FY03 with an end-to-end field demonstration of AMSTE engagement capabilities.

Navy Awards LRIP IDECM RFCM Contract

The US Navy has awarded a $59 M contract to BAE Systems for Low Rate Initial Production (LRIP) of the Integrated Defensive Electronic Countermeasures (IDECM) Radio Frequency Countermeasures (RFCM) system. The system incorporates high sensitivity receivers and off-board countermeasures to provide EW defense for current US military aircraft against current and future missile threats.

Under Phase 1 of the LRIP, the Information & Electronic Systems (IEWS) business unit of BAE Systems North America will deliver six onboard systems, 30 fiber optic towed decoys (FOTDs) and spares. An option for LRIP Phase 2 would provide an additional 14 onboard systems and 30 FOTDs and spares. Total value of the contract with options could reach $145 M.

The IDECM RFCM uses an onboard receiver and processing system developed and manufactured by ITT Industries' Avionics division. The off-board countermeasures, including the FOTD and high power canister, were developed by BAE Systems. The systems will be deployed initially on Navy F/A-18E/F aircraft and later on US Air Force B-1B and F-15 aircraft. *