FORT CARSON, Colo. -- The U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command/Army Forces Strategic Command field test with Colorado Army National Guard unit demonstrates prototype space-enabled communication and navigation jammer trainer Feb. 11.
SMDC/ARSTRAT G31 Training and Exercise Division, or TREX, hosted a proof of concept demonstration for the Direct Injection Jammer, a repurposed system based upon the now defunct Future Combat System, developed by the Program Executive Office for Simulation, Training and Instrumentation Threat System Management Office.
During the demonstration, G31 TREX conducted test and data collection activities during an event where the 220th Military Police Company, COARNG, performed basic MP mission essential tasks such as route reconnaissance and reporting. Performance of these tasks allowed G31 TREX to assess the utility of the Direct Injection Jammer, a prototype, closed-loop threat jamming simulator, and determine if the mitigation tactics, techniques, and procedures trained by the G31 TREX Army Space Training Initiative Branch were effective while using the device.
For more than a decade, U.S. forces primarily faced combat against significantly less sophisticated enemy forces in an asymmetric combat environment. With the increasing likelihood in the near-term that U.S. forces may face peer or near-peer opposition, U.S. forces, once assured of space and cyber dominance can no longer rely on those domains remaining non-contested. Additionally, over the last several decades the Army has become critically dependent on space enabled equipment, right down to the individual Soldier. Often, these Soldiers do not even realize the devices they are utilizing are space enabled.
Based on future potential adversarial capabilities and the need for training in a denied, degraded, disrupted space operational environment, SMDC/ARSTRAT was tasked by Headquarters, Department of the Army, to determine appropriate training systems to support this requirement. One of these systems, the Direct Injection Jammer, was selected as a possible candidate.
The reason that SMDC was chosen to lead this effort was due to its G31 TREX's function as the Army's Space Training Integration Branch, the requirements of which were spelled out in the command's 2013 Army Space Training Strategy.
"The Army has recognized its reliance on space and the need to train our Soldiers to operate in a contested space environment," said Brig. Gen. Gregory S. Bowen, SMDC deputy commanding general for operations. "SMDC/ARSTRAT is recognized by the Army for our space expertise, but our proactive, innovative people are what really make the difference. TSMO's Direct Injection Jammer is a perfect example of how some smart people can come up with an inexpensive solution that addresses a critical training need."
Joan Rousseau, chief, Army Space Training Integration Branch explained that the problem with Army units conducting this type of training for home-station training is the associated cost and severe training restrictions associated with open-air jamming.
"Currently, there are very few locations across the U.S. or other multi-national locations that can provide this open-air capability," she said. "Although home-station jammer training is available, the approval process can be extremely restricted and time consuming. The major advantage of system like the Direct Injection Jammer is that units will not require submission through this strenuous and time-consuming approval process to provide training effects of a system that replicates air GPS and satellite communication, radio enabled devices. The reason for this is that unlike open-broadcast jammers, the Direct Injection Jammer and systems like it broadcast benign, continuous wave, unmodulated tones into the radio frequency spectrum, potentially eliminating interference with civilian RF traffic.
"The Direct Injection Jammer, for example, is placed in-line between a vehicle's antenna and the communication and/or the navigation system and 'injects' a threat representative signal on top of the naturally received signal in a closed loop," she continued. "The system is 'triggered' by a host carrier frequency such as a Single Channel Ground and Airborne Radio System radio broadcast (other than the frequency the unit is using for their communications) and can be turned on and off at will at the unit's Tactical Operations Center as required or desired. The system is capable of being triggered by a number of devices across the RF spectrum, so long as they are within line of site, but the advantage to using equipment such as the SINCGARS is that it is organic to every Army unit, requiring no additional or specialized equipment."
During the Proof of Concept demonstration, Rousseau explained to visitors that the jammer also replicates a contested electronic warfare environment. The benefit to this capability is that the jammer could be used not only by the space community to satisfy its training requirements, but also by multiple communities across the Army to trigger the effects for individual unit training based on their own requirements.
Rousseau further explained that an advantage to working with the 220th as a National Guard unit is that it allowed SMDC to validate the jammer as useful across multiple components (active, Guard, Reserve) in the Army.
The demonstration gave personnel from Mitre Corporation; deputy director of Electronic Warfare, Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics; U.S. Forces Command; U.S. Training and Doctrine Command; 4th Infantry Division; 10th Special Forces Group and other visitors an opportunity to see the jammer in use by the 220th and the countermeasure tactics, techniques, and procedures they utilized in an attempt to mitigate the jammer's effect on their GPS and satellite communications radio enabled equipment.
"SMDC G31 TREX is currently pursuing acquisition of the jammers as a near-term bridging strategy pending the development of an Army-level program of record training device/solution," said Rousseau. "If approved and funded, SMDC will coordinate initial deployment of the jammer to the Joint Readiness Training Center, Fort Polk, Louisiana, and the Joint Multinational Readiness Center, Hohenfels, Germany. The jammer utilized at the Fort Carson event was a prototype model. If selected, PEO-STRI TSMO is tasked with developing a production model which will be significantly smaller than the prototype."