The Largest Security-Cleared Career Network for Defense and Intelligence Jobs - JOIN NOW


AN/ULQ-20 Battle Group Passive Horizon Extension System (BGPHES)

Dynamic naval operations require an ever increasing amount of command and control connectivity, intelligence collection, tactical support information and sensor data. The BGPHES tactical Signals Intelligence (SIGINT) system is designed to exploit electromagnetic emissions emanating from hostile or potentially hostile forces operating beyond the intercept range of the Battle Group (BG). It will accomplish the over-the-horizon intelligence mission by use of air sensor assets tethered to surface ship components via data link. It will fulfill selected information requirements of a BG, including combat surveillance, indications and warnings, airborne early warning, intelligence information, Communications Warfare Support Measures, and Counter-Communications, Command and Control (C3). BGPHES also supports Navy C3 initiatives to: gain real time access to sensor systems, exercise direct tactical control of those systems, and distribute the resulting information to the command and control and combat direction systems supporting tactical combat operations.

The BGPHES AN/ULQ-20 extends the Battle Group's line-of-sight radio horizon by controlling remote receivers in an aircraft sensor payload. Intercepted signals of interest are sent via the Common High Bandwidth Data Link (CHBDL) to the surface terminal (BGPHES-ST). The primary sensor carrying aircraft is the ES-3A; additionally, BGPHES is interoperable with USAF Direction Finding/Communication Intelligence (DF/COMINT), and can be expanded to provide Electronic Intelligence (ELINT) coverage.

The BGPHES end-to-end system (AN/ULQ-20) consists of three major component systems that are fully integrated. They are an aircraft (with the Airborne Receiving System, ARS, and CDL A/B), the Common High Bandwidth Data Link, CHBDL-ST, (AN/USQ-123(V)), and the BGPHES Acquisition Reciving System - Surface Terminal, ARS-ST, (AN/SRQ-6).

The ES-3A is the primary platform for the RS-6BN Airborne Receiving System (ARS), a remotely controlled receiver suite. The aircraft also houses the CDL A/B (AN/ARC-218), which is the airborne portion of the data link. The Mission Avionics System (MAS) aboard the aircraft will be accessible via the ARS. Initially, only navigation data, pilot voice, and the direction finding (DF) system data, will be accessible. Access to other MAS assets is option as a pre-planned product improvement (P3I). The CHBDL-ST provides a shipboard data link capability to extend the BG's passive detection range by multi-sensor coverage and to support tactical reconnaissance activities, including BGPHES and Joint Services.

The AN/USQ-123(V) Common High Bandwidth Data Link-Shipboard Terminal (CHBDL-ST) provides a wideband data link shipboard terminal for the receipt of signal and imagery intelligence data from Navy/Joint airborne sensor systems and the shipboard processors of national and tactical reconnaissance programs, and the transmission of link and sensor control data to airborne platforms. It is designed to communicate with the BGPHES, the Joint Services Imagery Processing System-Navy (JSIPS-N), and their associated airboard sensor systems. Signal intelligence data is received from the BGPHES Airborne Component (AC) and delivered to the BGPHES Shipboard Terminal. Imagery intelligence data is received from various tactical airborne reconnaissance systems and delivered to the Joint Service Imagery Processing System - Navy (JSIPS-N). CHBDL-ST benefits the fleet by providing a horizon extension for line-of-sight sensor systems for use in battle damage assessment or mission planning.

The AN/SRQ-6 Acquisition Reciving System - Surface Terminal [BGPHES-ST] provides the ability for cryptologic operators to monitor, record and analyze selected signals of interest. Reports can be prepared and information disseminated from the surface terminal via the Tactical Intelligence Information Exchange System (TACINTEL) or directly to the host ship's C4I network. BGPHES-ST will be located in LHD, LHA and CV/CVN Ships Signal Exploitation Space (SSES). The BGPHES-ST 5-position, 6-rack cryptologic control, analysis and reporting center uses Navy-standard DTC/TAC-N series workstations and integral local intercept receivers. The design downsizes and corrects deficiencies from the 14-rack AN/SLQ-50 (XN-1) model tested on USS EISENHOWER (CVN-69) during FY87 (factory verification completion in fall 1989). Development will proceed in two stages, first reducing risk by demonstrating operation with the ship's local receivers (the Ship's Signals Exploitation Equipment (SSEE) Upgrade)), then (timed to meet CHBDL-ST development) adding control and use of the remote airborne payload (RS-6BN).

The BGPHES Surface Terminal is synonymous with successful acquisition reform processes and innovation. The BGPHES Surface Terminal is a Command and Control Information Warfare System which gives operators on major afloat combatants the ability to monitor signals of interest far beyond the physical horizon. BGPHES-ST gives the carrier battle group a highly potent war fighting capability that it never had. This capability has been proven in War Games at the Naval War College to be truly decisive in the control of the Battle Space. No system has been so eagerly awaited by the Fleet. BGPHES-ST gives Navy operators the ability to remotely control the receivers onboard surveillance aircraft. All information is transferred between the operator and the airborne payload via a microwave link. The intercepted information is processed and disseminated to the rest of the Battle Group via the Joint Maritime Command Information System (JMCIS) Local Area Network. This provides the warfighter the most up to date information available in the Command and Control arena.

The Operational Requirements Document for the BGPHES-ST was signed on 17 September, 1981 and work had been ongoing to develop the system. Technical difficulties prevented the system from rapidly achieving success. The program had a long history of missed milestones and failure to perform.

The prime contractor suggested the reuse of components of an Air Force program developed to meet a similar operational requirement for real-time ground connectivity with airborne reconnaissance assets. The Program Manager embarked on a daring initiative to cancel the existing program's direction and move off in a totally new and revolutionary manner. This resulted in a revised program that delivered the system to the fleet in less than nine months and has become the vanguard of the Information Warfare acquisition process.

In November 1993, the program was redirected by the Program Manager (Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command, PMW-163) to make use of existing USAF software which was the core of the U-2 reconnaissance program's ground station. The USAF ground station performs a function similar to the one BGPHES-ST is intended to perform. This ground station software was translated to operate on standard Navy computers which exist on all major afloat combatants. The Air Force Tactical Ground Intercept Facility (TGIF) software was rehosted into the Navy's DTC-2/TAC-4 computers. The USAF software was successfully rehosted into a smaller marinized Navy system. The program reused over 400,000 lines of code (80% of the total) developed by another service for a fixed, ground-based system for use in a mobile shipboard environment. This approach allowed the Navy both to reuse existing code and to radically shorten the development cycle (and saved at least two more years of development time), thus ensuring deployment of current information technology capabilities. Use of this concept allowed the Navy to redirect the previously-unsuccessful 13-year effort to develop a customized system. A more robust and capable system was developed which required only nine months to adapt for a successful demonstration and saved the taxpayers more than $13 million. The use of this code provided a proven solution for accurate communications between BGPHES ARS-ST, the data link, and aircraft receivers. This resulted in immediate joint service interoperability with the Air Force U-2 (three years ahead of schedule).

In September 1994, the BGPHES-ST was moved to the Land Based Test Site (LBTS) in Patuxent, MD. The system was rigorously tested utilizing an ES-3A airplane. Land Based testing was successfully completed with a recommendation for limited fleet introduction by Commander, Operational Test and Evaluation Force. The current BGPHES not only met all Operational Requirement Document stipulations, but, it put the Navy in the forefront of Joint Interoperability. Three Joint Interoperability exercises were successfully completed utilizing the USAF U-2 airplane. These exercises conclusively demonstrated that the BGPHES-ST could control and utilize the significant sensor resources aboard the U-2. This interoperability was achieved three years ahead of schedule and gives the Joint Force Commander a tremendous advantage in a conflict. Additionally, due to the enormous success of the program, the US Army Guardrail program elected to emulate the Navy's acquisition process by developing through software reuse an interoperability segment for their ground stations. This permits Guardrail ground stations to receive information from either the Navy ES-3 or the USAF U-2 thus adding even more flexibility and power to the Joint Commander's Information Warfare arsenal.

The system was installed on USS Kennedy (CV 67) and successfully completed OPEVAL on March 18, 1996 with both an ES-3A and a U-2. BGPHES-ST completed its Milestone III acquisition decision on July 1, 1996 and received approval for full-rate production of 27 shipboard systems. The first production system was installed aboard the USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN-71) in third quarter FY98 and after Follow-On Test and Evaluation (FOT&E) reached Initial Operational Capability (IOC).

Beginning with the full-rate production effort in FY97, SSC Charleston assemblied the mostly-COTS system using E-Systems personnel as a technical resource as necessary. BGPHES P3I requirements are being used to encourage the contractor to retain the engineering team, to develop system improvements, to keep up with the changing threat, and to take advantage of improving commercial technologies. FY 1997-99 procured 14 BGPHES-ST systems, 13 CHBDL-ST systems, 2 CHBDL EDM upgrades and associated production support and production engineering required to integrate BGPHES on LCC/AGF class ships.

Join the mailing list

One Billion Americans: The Case for Thinking Bigger - by Matthew Yglesias

Page last modified: 28-07-2011 00:48:09 ZULU