Find a Security Clearance Job!


Enhanced Tactical Radar Corelator (ETRAC)
Tactical Radar Corelator (TRAC)

Enhanced Tactical Radar Corelator (ETRAC) mission is to provide Army corps commander with accurate, reliable and timely imagery-based battlefield intelligence derived from the all-weather, day and night real-time high resolution, Advanced Synthetic Aperture Radar System-2 (ASARS-2) carried aboard the Air Force's U-2 aircraft. To accomplish its mission the ETRAC, from the Westinghouse Space Division, provides the following:

  • Direct receipt of ASARS-2 (SAR) data
  • Near-real-time processing of SAR data into digital imagery
  • Softcopy display of imagery
  • Limited exploitation of imagery into intelligence products
  • Ensured dissemination of products to the user

To perform these tasks in a worldwide tactical environment, the ETRAC is mobile. Air mobility requires no special loading/unloading equipment. It has its own electrical power source and can be self-sufficient for extended periods of time. The ETRAC provides comprehensive mission planning and robust communications.

It is capable of receiving, processing, exploiting, and disseminating theater imagery intelligence data to the All Source Analysis System (ASAS) via area communications networks and exchange data with other intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) ground stations. ETRAC is inter-operable with all of the other services' intelligence architectures. Imagery intelligence is disseminated to supported units in the form of annotated imagery (SIDS), text reports/messages (IPIRs), or voice reports. ETRAC is composed of state-of-the-art commercial processors, a wide band common data link (CDL), exploitation work stations and a robust communications capability, all, packaged into a tactical 31 foot van. ETRAC is designed for rapid deployment; to move with the Corps or JTF.

The Tactical Radar Correlator (TRAC) system was previously developed by the Army Topographic Engineering Center [TEC] in support of the Army Space Program Office [ASPO]. The TRAC was successfully deployed in support of Operations Desert Shield/Storm as well as an operation in April 1993. TRAC remains a V Corps asset in Germany at present.

In addition to improved performance, increased mobility and improved transportability over the TRAC system, the ETRAC also will provide the user with the option of performing limited exploitation in the ETRAC in addition to or in lieu of sending imagery to an exploitation component (MIES). The ETRAC advanced development mobile synthetic aperture radar (SAR) processor receives direct down-linked radar phase history data, collected by the ASAR-2 SAR system on board the U2R aircraft. The ETRAC converts the radar phase history data into imagery, which is passed to either the IPDS or MIES for subsequent exploitation and dissemination of imagery products to consumers. The ETRAC has an organic exploitation capability for stand-alone operations. The ETRAC communications equipment includes the SUCCESS radio, TENCAP communications system processor, STU-III and digital subscriber voice terminal, providing a robust communications capability.

ETRAC products include--

  • Annotated SIDs products.
  • Intelligence reports.
  • Hard-copy prints and imagery.
  • Hasty map product.

The ETRACs functions and capabilities as a test bed have been demonstrated in the field. Because the ETRAC is mostly COTS hardware and software, with an open computer network architecture and industry standard inter-faces, it can be efficiently upgraded to perform new functions or networked with other systems. This flexibility makes ETRAC a prime system for prototyping and testing new technologies and concepts for TES. In 1997 ETRAC 1 participated in 6 exercises/tests interfacing with or demonstrating 9 new capabilities and has operated in support of each service. In March, while at Edwards AFB, the ETRAC received down linked ASARS imagery from a U-2R, and later, an SR-71. ETRAC operators re-tasked the sensor on the U-2, in real time, in response to changes in the collection requirements. The ETRAC processed the data to provide complex imagery to the Semi Automated IMINT Processing (SAIP) Advanced Concepts Technology Demonstration (ACTD) for advanced Aided Target Recognition (ATR) research. Other down linked data was passed to Guardrail for non-imagery analysis. Exploited imagery products were disseminated over classified LAN (SIPRNET) to: the Corps ACE during TASK FORCE XXI, the Pacific Fleet during a PACOM JTFX, and the Marines during HUNTER WARRIOR. IMINT derived data was disseminated over the TF-BS broadcast network.

Future down link sources include Global Hawk, Dark Star, U-2 SYERS, U-2 AIP and F- 18 ATARS.

ETRAC #2 (302ND MI BN, V Corps) conducted a Deployment Exercise from 23 to 25 June 1998. The exercise covered system pack-up, a 26-mile road march, set-up at a temporary location, tear-down, and return to the deployed site on the Tesar, Hungary airfield. Upon returning to the site at on the 25th, ETRAC received a request from the Air Force to run a U-2 mission. In the short time available the crew successfully set up the system and received the mission. ETRAC #2 has been providing imagery support to Task Force Eagle for nearly two years from its current location. The unit plans to conduct semi-annual DEPLOY-EXs to maintain proficiency.

ETRAC Support Concept

 O&M_pic.jpg The ETRAC support concept includes provisions for hardware maintenance, software maintenance, spares replenishment, configuration management, training, and manning.  O&M_pic.jpg

Hardware maintenance follows a basic three-level concept with organizational, intermediate, and depot levels. Organization maintenance includes preventive, fault isolation, removal and replacement of LRU’s and repair verification. Military maintenance personnel do this. Military maintenance personnel also perform some intermediate level activities to include on-site repair of failed LRUs or removal of defective LRUs for shipment. Specific companies with direct government contracts perform depot-level maintenance. The ETRAC contractor operates and maintains an Operational Support Facility (OSF) to serve as a maintenance facility and a testbed for technology insertion efforts.

Software maintenance and support is the responsibility of the developing contractor to include software version updates and fixes for software anomalies. The OSF will recreate the problem in the laboratory, develop a fix, and if approved, send the updated software to the field. If on-site service representative cannot install the fix, OSF personnel will travel to the site to implement the change. No other software maintenance is performed on-site.

Spares are replenished through procurement coordinated by ASPO through the OSF. An initial set of spares for the ETRAC PME including OSF support was provided by ASPO. This level will be maintained through repair of defective components or through resupply of spares when required.

Training is initially performed by the prime contractor. It is focused on the areas of operations and maintenance in a field environment. Training manuals are provided to the users as a reference. Sustainment training is the unit’s responsibility however, additional assistance can be coordinated through ASPO.

Manning requirements are determined by TO&E and the Army will fill slots based upon current regulations and guidelines.

Configuration Management is a process of coordinating changes in hardware or software configuration. The Executive Secretary (ES) of the CMWG is a person designated by ASPO to manage the day to day matters and concerns regarding Configuration Management of the IEW system. This person performs the following functions:

  • The focal point for ETRAC and Follow-On system CM issues
  • Facilitates information Flow
  • Maintain Electronic Database
  • Tracks and Reports Progress (feedback)
  • Creates and generates reports
  • Audits and verifies as required
  • Closes out actions (feedback)

The first steps in the process are to identify the need and define the issue. Mostly the users at the unit level identify the need by maintaining frequent contact with ASPO. The primary way to accomplish this is for the users to report deficiencies or new ideas to ASPO by filling out a Change Request/Discrepancy Report CR/DR form. The CR/DR Form is a single form that is easy to use and designed for use with an ACCESS database. The fields are compatible with CCB database and provide sufficient detail to support initial decisions. This form is submitted via e-mail and entered automatically into a database. The ES then defines the issue by reviewing the submitted forms, gathers any additional information and assigns a tracking number. The Program Manager reviews the form and provides an initial judgement:

  • Kill Immediately
  • Forward to IPT (Integrated Product Team)
  • Forward directly to contractor if a safety issue or inoperative system

This information is then sent via e-mail back to the submitter. If the CR/DR is forwarded to the IPT they have to make the following considerations;

  • Operational need
  • Doctrine
  • Technical Aspects
  • Contractor’s ability
  • Alternatives

Then develop a response. A Government team (ASPO migration board if follow-on is affected) then reviews this response. They perform the following functions:

  • Risk Assessment
  • Effect on Roadmap
  • Accept, reject, revise response
  • Develop Request for Comment (RFC) items

Once the government completes this portion of the process it then goes into the contractors Configuration Management (CM) Process. This includes:

  • Assigning an internal control number
  • Performing an engineering CCB which includes a technical feasibility (technology insertion & technology transfer), schedule and cost.
  • Recommendation (Product Change Request (PCR)

The contractor then implements the change, documents and archives the work as well as keeping ASPO informed on the progress. Once the contractor has completed the work, the Government team verifies it then the initial CR/DR is closed out with feedback provided to the initiator.


The Army's two ETRACs are fielded to the XVIII Airborne Corps at Fort Bragg (ETRAC 1) in June 1995 and the V Corps in Germany (ETRAC 2) in February 1996. The V Corps' ETRAC has been deployed to Tazar, Hungrary since May 96 in support of operation Joint Endeavor. ETRAC 1, at Fort Bragg, serves as the poor man's operational test bed.

Under the provisions of the Dayton Peace Agreement, the signing parties agreed to withdraw their heavy weapons to cantonment areas for storage. The task of monitoring the withdrawal and storage was asigned to NATO, including the U. S. With the reduction of NATO troops on the ground the necessity to rapidly and accurately monitor cantonoment areas using remote means increased. The Bosnian Cantonment Area Monitoring System (BCAMS) is a tactical site monitoring toolkit used to aid image analysts in monitoring military vehicles in cantonment areas using imagery derived from the all-weather, day and night high resolution, Advanced Synthetic Aperture Radar System-2 (ASARS-2) carried aboard the U-2 aircraft. BCAMS was developed by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) Information Systems Office (ISO), in response to a request from the Office of the Secretary of Defense for technological help to aid the multi-national peace-keeping mission in Bosnia.

BCAMS operates in conjunction with the U. S. Army's Enhanced Tactical RAdar Correlator (ETRAC) system. The ETRAC system features the DOD common SAR processor, which allows it to provide real time image data. This system provides for the receipt, processing, exploitation, storage, and dissemination of imagery intelligence from national and selected theater sources. The Army Space Programs Office (ASPO) actively supported and promoted the development of BCAMS and facilitated its insertion as an advanced technology demonstration into the Army's tactical operations at Taszár Air Base, Hungary. A data stream from the U-2 ASARS-2 is sent to BCAMS via a fiber optic network connection to ETRAC. The BCAMS workstations then exploits imagery simultaneously with the IA workstation. BCAMS provides an integrated set of tools especially designed for fixed site monitoring in these situations. The tools within BCAMS provide an easy way to locate a site within an image; rapidly determine any changes since a previous collection; format standard text reports/messages (IPIRs), from exploitation annotations on the image; generate secondary imagery dissemination (SIDS); and many other functions.

The ETRAC remained deployed in the Bosnia AOR until 31 August 1998. The 27-month deployment was the first operational deployment of the system in support of real world operations. ETRAC conducted 171 missions producing over 6,000 imagery products to Task Force Eagle and the Theater. On four separate occasions the ETRAC assumed full sensor control and served as the only Theater imagery asset. These four missions served to strengthen the Joint ties between the US Air Force and the Army. The ETRAC redeployed via a single C-17 aircraft to Wiesbaden Army Airfield validating this Corps ETRAC's rapid deployability from the Central region if it should be needed again.

Deploymed Units


  • · Near-real-time
  • · IMINT
    • Receipt
    • Exploitation
    • Dissemination
  • · Supports Cdr at:
    • EAC
    • Corps
    • Division
    • Maneuver brigade
    • SOF
  • · Multiple operations shelters
  • · Air deployable via: C130, C141, C5
  • · Near-real time IMINT to the Cdr
  • · Precise Positioning

This system will migrate to the IESS standard by 1998, and subsequently converge to the ESS configuration by 2001. The Exploitation Support System (ESS) will be the community's common imagery exploitation support system. Both the National Imagery and Mapping Agency (NIMA) Exploitation System (NES) and IESS will migrate to ESS by the end of FY01. Agency Program: The DoD is in the process of establishing a simplified baseline of the best, common information systems across the business functions of the Department. These migration systems represent a stage of process improvement designed at achieving a common set of automated processes and practices in DoD.

IESS 3.0 BETA VERSION was fielded in ETRAC during February 1998. CIP was integrated into ETRAC by 28 May 1998, without being flown (no testing). ETRAC will be de-fielded 1999-2005 and those components used for TES.

Related Programs

Tactical Radar Corelator (TRAC)

Enhanced Tactical Radar Corelator (ETRAC)

Join the mailing list

Unconventional Threat podcast - Threats Foreign and Domestic: 'In Episode One of Unconventional Threat, we identify and examine a range of threats, both foreign and domestic, that are endangering the integrity of our democracy'

Page last modified: 28-07-2011 00:49:05 ZULU