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In response to air power's growing ability to detect and defeat large ground forces in the open, enemy forces are becoming increasingly elusive, operating in smaller formations and using civilian motor traffic, built-up areas, and woods to hide their forces and activities. To help the United States Air Force (USAF) better understand and prepare for a world in which such targets predominate, this book seeks to identify concepts and technologies that could improve the USAF's capability to detect, classify, recognize, and defeat elusive targets, whether dispersed ground forces or mobile ballistic missiles. Emphasized is an integrated system of technologies, focused analysis, and streamlined control procedures that will enable the detect-classify-recognize-defeat cycle to occur in minutes rather than hours or days. Although new technologies (e.g., improved sensors, small unmanned aerial vehicles, hypersonic weapons, automatic target recognition software) are necessary, they alone cannot solve this problem. Rather, it is the combination of pre-battle analysis, new technologies, and streamlined control that offers the potential to dramatically improve U.S. capabilities against elusive targets. This book presents engagement concepts that bring together finders (assets required to identify and track enemy forces, as well as civilians who might be put at risk); controllers (who direct the actions of finders and strike aircraft, select worthwhile targets, and make decisions to engage); and strike assets (ground-to-ground or air-to-ground weapons used to attack the targets). Each concept for detecting and defeating elusive maneuver forces and mobile missiles focuses on attacking enemy vehicles rather than personnel to capitalize on unique signatures that can be detected by clusters of, for example, acoustic, seismic, and imaging sensors, or an integrated system of synthetic aperture, inverse synthetic aperture, and ground moving-target indicator radars. This book should be of interest to airmen serving in plans, operational, analytic, and R&D organizations, as well as the broader defense community.

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Table of Contents

  • Preface PDF

  • Figures PDF

  • Tables PDF

  • Summary PDF

  • Acknowledgements

    Acknowledgments PDF

  • Acronyms PDF

  • Chapter One

    Introduction PDF

  • Chapter Two

    The Kosovo Experience PDF

  • Chapter Three

    Concepts to Detect and Defeat Elusive Maneuver Forces PDF

  • Chapter Four

    New Concepts for Defeating Mobile Missiles PDF

  • Chapter Five

    Conclusion PDF

  • Appendix A

    Advanced Technologies and Systems PDF

  • Appendix B

    Supporting Calculations for China Scenario PDF

  • Bibliography PDF

Research conducted by

The research described in this report was performed under the auspices of RAND's Project AIR FORCE.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation monograph report series. The monograph/report was a product of the RAND Corporation from 1993 to 2003. RAND monograph/reports presented major research findings that addressed the challenges facing the public and private sectors. They included executive summaries, technical documentation, and synthesis pieces.

The RAND Corporation is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.