Multi-Source Tactical System [MSTS]
The Multi-Source Tactical System (MSTS) runs on Silicon Graphics Inc. workstations, which receive and process signals intelligence, electronics intelligence and reconnaissance imagery from satellites in real time over four UHF satellite channels. Location and position information is fed into digital map databases to plot an aircraft's course and correlate threat information. The Multi-Source Tactical System provides a six-layered picture of the operational theater for aircrews. It combines tactical, intelligence, and digital mapping information with near real-time Airborne Warning and Control System information to update flight crews en route to their targets or drop zones.
As of early 1996, the Air Force had 14 MSTS systems but all McDonnell Douglas C-17 cargo planes equipped with wiring pre-installed to allow easy plug-in of MSTS, and only minutes are required to switch the system from one aircraft to another.
The Multi-Source Tactical System-Army (MSTS-A) is a system designed to receive, process, correlate and display near real-time ELINT; real-time GPS locations and AWACS data. These data are automatically overlaid onto imagery, ADRG or WDBII map background data. The ELINT symbology depicts radar surveillance and weapon system ranges in 2-D and 3-D. These capabilities are intended to provide situational awareness and to facilitate threat avoidance. MSTS-A also receives and displays secondary imagery, can display terrain in 3-D, allows the operator to fly through the terrain, and enables the user to create video loops of 3-D fly-throughs. More specifically, MSTS-A consists of WINGS 2.1 software along with ECAT by McDonnell Douglas. WINGS can be evoked from within ECAT. By considering the engagement rings generated by ECAT, route planners can avoid troublesome areas. One can examine a target area in WINGS, and evoke ECAT to read an intelligence message associated with it. ECAT also shows available MC&G coverages for a given area. The Air Force began the MSTS-A initiative, but it has been incorporated into the U.S. Army Space Command's Army Space Exploitation Demonstration Program (ASEDP).
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