Expanding the Use of Time/Frequency Difference of Arrival Geolocation in the Department of Defense

by Kimberly N. Hale

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Abstract

The U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) faces a tightening budget in the coming years. Despite the lean budget years, unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) are expected to be a priority. Due to their usefulness for intelligence collection in irregular warfare (IW) and counterinsurgency (COIN), UAS were quickly fielded and sent to theater without analysis of how their intelligence sensors complemented each other. There are ways for DoD to improve the methods of employment and the integration of multi-intelligence capabilities on assets to better leverage the systems it currently owns.

The general aim of this research is to explore an area in which DoD can operate "smarter" with its proliferating UAS fleet. Specifically, this research investigates how DoD can better leverage UAS and improve multi-intelligence capabilities by expanding its geolocation capacity through the use of time/frequency-difference-of-arrival (T/FDOA) geolocation on UAS. The research sheds light on important questions that need to be answered before investing in T/FDOA-capable UAS. It first demonstrates the potential of T/FDOA geolocation in the context of how we use UAS today. It then shows what some of the "costs" of adding a T/FDOA geolocation capability to UAS might be. Finally, it explores how T/FDOA geolocation could improve multi-intelligence operations.

Table of Contents

  • Chapter One

    Introduction

  • Chapter Two

    T/FDOA Accuracy Estimation Model

  • Chapter Three

    When Is T/FDOA Geolocation Useful?

  • Chapter Four

    What Is Needed to Use T/FDOA Geolocation?

  • Chapter Five

    How Can T/FDOA Be Leveraged in Multi-Intelligence Operations?

  • Chapter Six

    Conclusions and Recommendations

  • Appendix A

    Direction Finding Model

  • Appendix B

    Orbit Geometry Results

  • Appendix C

    CAP Allocation Model

  • Appendix D

    Manpower Calculations

Research conducted by

This document was submitted as a dissertation in September 2012 in partial fulfillment of the requirements of the doctoral degree in public policy analysis at the Pardee RAND Graduate School. The faculty committee that supervised and approved the dissertation consisted of Brien Alkire (Chair), Carl Rhodes, and Sherrill Lingel.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation dissertation series. PRGS dissertations are produced by graduate fellows of the Pardee RAND Graduate School, the world's leading producer of Ph.D.'s in policy analysis. The dissertations are supervised, reviewed, and approved by a PRGS faculty committee overseeing each dissertation.

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