Information Papers

Expanding Persistent Surveillance Capabilities

What is it?
Persistent Surveillance requires the synchronization and integration of networked sensors and analysts across the force. Maneuver forces must be able to detect, identify, locate, and track targets in near-real-time in order to warn friendly forces, develop the situation prior to contact, and take advantage of fleeting opportunities. This requires fielding of advanced Reconnaissance, Surveillance, Targeting, and Acquisition/intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (RSTA/ISR) capabilities.

What has the Army done?
The Army is expanding its persistent surveillance capability through both manned and unmanned systems, including “Shadow” Tactical Unmanned Aerial Systems (TUAS) and MQ-1C “Sky Warrior” Extended Range/Multi-Purpose (ER/MP) UAS; modernized Guardrail Common Sensor and Airborne Reconnaissance-Low manned fixed-wing sensor platforms; advanced ground-based systems such as the Prophet family of SIGINT systems, advanced Measurement and Signature Intelligence (MASINT) systems, and sophisticated Biometrics capabilities. The Army’s “Shadow” TUAS program provides dedicated, responsive surveillance and targeting support to BCT and BN forces out to a range of 125 kilometers. The MQ-1C “Sky Warrior” ER/MP UAS fielding began in 2007 to provide long-dwell, day/night, multi-sensor reconnaissance surveillance, and target acquisition support to maneuver commanders out to 300 kilometers. Additionally, the Army has fielded three ground MASINT sensors in Afghanistan and Iraq to enhance Soldier situational awareness and cue other RSTA/ISR systems to enemy presence and activity for positive identification and action. Biometrics systems are assisting in efforts to separate the enemy from the population by establishing positive identification of individuals. The Army has fielded over 2,500 Biometric Automated Toolsets and more than 6,000 Handheld Interagency Identification Detection Equipment devices in response to warfighter requirements. Together all these systems provide dedicated, downward-focused, and responsive RSTA/ISR capability to warfighting units.

What continued efforts does the Army have planned for the future?
Army will continue to integrate lessons learned from operational experiences in Afghanistan, Iraq, Korea, and elsewhere into this critical Army Intelligence Transformation initiative. Aerial Common Sensor (ACS) is the Army’s next-generation manned, multidiscipline, multi-sensor airborne RSTA/ISR collection system, capable of fusing data collected by ER/MP and other RSTA/ISR platforms in near real-time and providing cueing necessary for effective manned-unmanned teaming while supporting sensor to shooter and shooter to sensor operations. With the first operational aircraft planned for FY 2015, ACS will be capable of receiving data from non-Army ISR platforms and performing on-board fusion analysis with Distributed Common Ground System-Army (DCGS-A) in direct support of ground tactical Commanders.

Why is this important to the Army?
RSTA/ISR is an Army core competency as identified in the Army Campaign Plan and listed within the Army’s Roles and Missions in the FY08 Quadrennial Roles and Missions Review/Quadrennial Defense Review. RSTA/ISR enhances Army Intelligence readiness, leverages joint/national capabilities, and integrates with Battle Command at all levels to generate “actionable intelligence”.