The Boeing Company [NYSE: BA] recently demonstrated the automatic interception of signals and intelligence as well as the ability to track potential terrorists during a multi-site, real-time network collections demonstration to U.S. Department of Defense and Intelligence customers.
For the first time, signal intelligence receivers proved that they could automatically identify the target -- a mock terrorist -- and trigger airborne surveillance assets to track the target on the ground, while capturing full-motion imagery and broadcasting it instantly to analysts several hundred miles away.
Boeing used a mobile mesh-net satellite communications network to broadcast live video and command and control information from two different unmanned aircraft systems simultaneously to the East and West coasts.
"Boeing recognizes the increasing importance of integrating organic and national systems for our customers," said Dan Jones, director of the Advanced Information Systems unit of Boeing Space and Intelligence Systems. "Customers are asking for instant collection capabilities, and our ability to creatively integrate technology from Boeing, our customers and our valued partners provides them with near-term focused capabilities that make the promise of network-centric operations real."
Boeing describes this concept as part of the traditional intelligence cycle of Tasking, Processing, Exploitation and Dissemination (TPED), but adding the concept of "collection" to form TCPED, which emphasizes the growing importance of organic collection systems in generating actionable intelligence for the warfighter.
"The challenge with imagery sensors employed on unmanned aircraft systems is knowing where to point the camera in a time-critical mission such as counterterrorism," said Jim Cummiskey, director of the Tactical Systems unit of Advanced Information Systems. "Adding a signal intelligence collection capability, whether it is integrated into a national satellite, a manned airborne platform or an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), allows the warfighter to get his eyes on the enemy as quickly as possible."
The demonstrations featured several Boeing-developed systems, including unmanned airborne systems, tactical communications systems and other best-of-industry technology. The Unmanned Little Bird helicopter technology demonstrator and a ScanEagle UAV provided continuous video surveillance of the operations area. Boeing also demonstrated the system-level interoperability of the Tactical Operations Mobile C4ISR Applications Toolkit, based on Boeing's commercial visualization technology Battlescape, with the Future Combat System's System of Systems Common Operating Environment. Other Boeing software systems included Datamaster, supporting large file imagery, text retrieval and storage, and the Advanced Miniaturization Data Acquisition System, currently part of the U.S. Army's Tactical Exploitation System.