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Title: Space Force Enhancement
Voice: Space force enhancement operations is another way of saying “direct space support” to the warfighter. These five key support functions multiply the effectiveness of joint forces: precision navigation; space-based weather; ballistic missile warning; communications; and environmental sensing and intelligence. Each of the functions is linked to additional information.
Action: Present the following list as links to thier own pages:
Ballistic Missile Warning
Environmental Sening & Intelligence
Precision Navigation: The Global Positioning System is a constellation of satellites
(currently 24) that provides precise 3-dimensional location (typical 5-meter accuracy) and timing
(typical 6.4 nano-second accuracy) information. This provides for accurate navigation, weapons delivery,
and communications systems synchronization.
The Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM) is an inexpensive ($21,000) tail-kit that uses GPS to convert free-fall bombs into guided smart weapons. Useful in all weather, JDAM is designed for a 13-meter circular-error-probable (CEP).
The Hook-112 and follow-on Combat Survivor/Evader Locator (CSEL) are survival radio systems that use GPS and secure, low-probability-of-detection transmissions to establish the precise location of downed aircrew. CSEL will use OTH satellite communication systems to communicate with joint search and rescue centers.
Space-Based Weather: Accurate weather forecasts are crucial to mission planning as
the weather affects everything from routing to weapon selection and employment details. During ALLIED
FORCE, the cloud cover was 50% or more, over 70% of the time. In spite of this exceptionally bad weather,
air operations proved to be decisive.
Two Defense Meteorological Satellite Program (DMSP) satellites are in sun-synchronous polar orbits at all times. The primary weather sensor on DMSP provides continuous visual and infrared imagery of cloud cover. Additional sensors measure atmospheric vertical profiles of moisture and temperature. The DMSP satellites also measure local charged particles and electromagnetic fields to assess the impact of the ionosphere on ballistic-missile early warning systems and long-range communications. Additionally, these data are used to monitor global auroral activity and to predict the effects of the space environment on military satellite operations.
Tracking stations at New Boston Air Force Station, N.H., Thule Air Base, Greenland, and Kaena Point, Hawaii, receive DMSP data and electronically transfer them to the military weather center at Offutt Air Force Base, Neb. Tactical units with special equipment can also receive data directly from the satellites.
Ballistic Missile Warning: Defense Support Program (DSP) satellites have provided strategic warning of missile attacks against the US since the early 1970’s. From geosynchronous orbits, the satellites use infrared sensors to detect missile launches, other space lift launches, and nuclear detonations. Improvements in sensors and onboard and ground station data processing now allow tactical warning of theater ballistic missile launches. The Space Based Infrared System (SBIRS) combines DSP data with other source data to provide warnings to theater users. The Joint Tactical Ground Station ( JTAGS) is a transportable system that can provide customized in-theater processing of warning indicators for even faster reaction.
Communications: Communication is a central activity of all space systems – transmitting data is something all satellites do. With increases of available bandwidth, certain tactical events can be sent to users worldwide, even into a cockpit, in near real time. The event itself might actually originate in a cockpit or unmanned aerial vehicle. Such advances provide current warfighters unprecedented situational awareness.
Two important information dissemination systems that use SATCOM are the Global Broadcast System (GBS)
and the Tactical Information Broadcast System (TIBS).
Regional SATCOM Support Center (RSSC) - currently provides the joint warfighter with a single focal point for satellite communications use within a region. RSSCs are located at Wheeler Army Airfield, HI; Patch Barracks, Germany; and Tampa, FL for focused support to combatant commanders. In the future, the RSSCs will be the one-stop-shop for all SATCOM requirements; no matter whether it is Extremely High Frequency, Super High Frequency, Ultra High Frequency, or commercial.
Increased Demand – Increased Vulnerability? – During Desert Storm, 90% of inter-theater communications were via SATCOM, of which 20-50% were on commercial links. During Enduring Freedom, 60% of SATCOM was commercially provided. While the commercial bandwidth greatly increases our capabilities, be aware that commercial systems do not employ the defensive counterspace measures employed by MILSATCOM.
Environmental Sensing & Intelligence: Environmental sensing grew out of the
concern for monitoring industrial pollution. A satellite with sensors in the ultraviolet and infrared
spectra (multi-spectral) can be used to classify soil types, vegetation types, pollution coverage, etc.
An early important application of the LANDSAT satellites was tracking the extent of corn blight and
making crop yield predictions. LANDSAT data is commercially available through the Earth Resources
Observation Systems (EROS) Data Center. Another source of multi-spectral imagery is the SPOT satellite
operated by the French space agency.
Military uses of multi-spectral imagery include camouflage detection and trafficability studies. Camouflage is effective in the visible spectrum but when imaged in the near infrared it usually fails. Live vegetation reflects infrared differently than the artificial materials usually used for camouflage. Combining multi-spectral data with elevation data, analysts can decide whether terrain is suitable for operations by tracked or wheeled vehicles. Finding paths through the desert and lowlands near the rivers was a major challenge for ground forces during Desert Storm.
The National Imagery and Mapping Agency (NIMA) handles all DOD requests for commercial imagery such as LANDSAT. For Air Force users, requests should go through the 480th Intelligence Group at Langley AFB, VA.
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