Jan 1, 2001
Summary of "Aerospace Operations Against Elusive Ground Targets" (MR-1398-AF), which seeks to identify concepts and technologies that could improve the United States Air Force's (USAF) 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. "Aerospace Operations Against Elusive Ground Targets" 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 research brief and "Aerospace Operations Against Elusive Ground Targets" should be of interest to airmen serving in plans, operational, analytic, and R&D organizations, as well as the broader defense community.