Extending the tactical horizon networking aircraft to enable persistent surveillance and target development for SOF
Landreth, Kent A.
Glass, John C.
Netzer, David W.
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The NPS Tactical Horizon Extension Project objective is to define and demonstrate a concept by which task force-level commanders and below can obtain a persistent, over-the-horizon surveillance capability for the purpose of target development and other missions without tasking national or theater-level assets. Our goal is to increase the ISR capacity of units who normally would not rate the priority to task a Predator, Global Hawk, or U-2. There are two guiding tenets in developing this concept. First, the equipment and its control should be organic to the SOF unit or task force. Second, utilizing this capability should not require the soldier to carry any additional equipment into the field. Initial research led us to the idea of using networked unmanned aerial systems (UAS's) to generate an over-the-horizon surveillance capability for SOF. We demonstrated the concept by forming a network comprised of a forward ground team, an inexpensive, test-bed UAS equipped with an off-the-shelf video camera, a manned aircraft, and a tactical operations center (TOC). We attained connectivity through an ITT Mesh structure at 2.4 GHz, amplified to 1W. Researchers were from the Defense Analysis, Mechanical and Astronautical Engineering, and Information Sciences Departments. We conducted successful experiments through the USSOCOM-NPS Cooperative Field Experimentation Program.
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