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September 30, 2003
For Immediate Release

Media Contact
Kristi Marren
Phone: 240-228-6268 or 443-778-6268

Demonstrations Show Satellites Extend Range of DoD Sensor Network Technology

The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) in Laurel, Md., successfully concluded the last of three proof-of-concept demonstrations showing that satellites extend the U.S. Navy's Cooperative Engagement Capability system's range for anti-aircraft warfare and ballistic missile defense applications. The tests were conducted jointly by APL and Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company, Sunnyvale, Calif., under the CEC space applications project funded by the Missile Defense Agency and managed by Naval Sea Systems Command.

The APL-conceived CEC system enhances a battle group's war-fighting capability by fusing measurements from a network of ship-, aircraft- and land-based sensor systems into a highly accurate and continuous air picture available to all ships and aircraft within the group. CEC significantly extends the range of countering air and missile threats, thus providing more time to engage difficult threat aircraft and cruise missiles.

During the final proof-of-concept demonstration, conducted late August through early September at Lockheed Martin, ballistic missile sensor netting capabilities—based on CEC's fusing of sensor measurements—were successfully demonstrated. The hardware-in-the-loop laboratory tests used two modified Aegis-configured CEC components and a new ballistic missile data fusion processor to successfully create a coherent, multiple-sensor-quality air picture of test scenarios. For each single-missile test scenario, composite tracks were successfully formed on the ballistic objects. In an offline analysis, simulated PAC-3 (Patriot Advanced Capability — 3) interceptors successfully engaged the ballistic threat using sensor measurements provided through the modified CEC components and data fusion processor. An emulation of DoD's Milstar MDR (medium data rate) satellite connected the sensor units.

"As these successful proof-of-concept demonstrations show, the sensor netting and integrated fire control capabilities that are provided by CEC can now be made available across long-range satellite networks with varying levels of service," says Conrad Grant, executive for the Laboratory's Air and Missile Defense Business Area and former APL CEC program manager. "These tests provide the foundation for advanced concepts that enable the next-generation of sensor-networking capabilities that are consistent with the DoD's plans for the Global Information Grid and the Navy's FORCEnet, two programs focused on creating a network-centric approach to future warfare."

APL-led teams conducted the first two satellite communications proof-of-concept demonstrations last year. For all three tests, APL provided Lockheed Martin with technical guidance and oversight as part of the Laboratory's role as Technical Direction Agent for the CEC program, which included evaluating enhancements to the system, helping the Navy determine its future vision, and working on advanced research.

For the third demonstration, APL also modified the CEC processor and simulation program, and created the simulated Aegis radar measurements used for tracking during the demonstration. APL also guided the quick-look data analysis and preparation of the test report for the Missile Defense Agency.

Previous Tests

During the first APL-led test in March 2002, air target data was successfully relayed for the first time by satellite (the commercial International Maritime Satellite) between distant CEC nodes, rather than through CEC's Data Distribution System now used to circulate information among battle group components. Using satellite-relayed data, CEC successfully formed composite tracks on more than 300 targets of opportunity and supported cued target acquisition by Aegis' SPY-1 radar during a simulated engagement involving an instrumented Learjet and CEC land sites at Wallops Island, Va., and Dam Neck, Va.

During the second proof-of-concept demonstration, conducted in September 2002, APL-led teams successfully relayed for the first time simulated air target data simultaneously by satellite and CEC's Data Distribution System among distant CEC nodes. Using DoD's Milstar MDR satellite system, researchers exchanged sensor measurements between CEC land sites at Wallops Island, Va., and Dahlgren, Va., while simultaneously exchanging data with the CEC land site at Dam Neck, Va., using the Data Distribution System. Test participants also successfully engaged virtual targets based on remote sensor measurements relayed by the satellite.

The Applied Physics Laboratory, a division of The Johns Hopkins University, meets critical national challenges through the innovative application of science and technology. For information, visit www.jhuapl.edu.