Steel Rattler / Steel Eagle
Un-attended MASINT Sensor (UMS)
Unattended Ground Sensors ACTD
The UGS ACTD evaluated the military utility of two distinct unattended ground sensors: the Un-attended MASINT Sensor (UMS)-both the Steel Eagle (air drop) and Steel Rattler (hand-emplaced-and the Remote Miniature Weather Station (RMWS).
Acoustic, seismic, electro-magnetic and video sensors are now small and rugged enough that they can be deployed by various methods in large numbers and operate for extended periods with no human maintenance. The Steel Rattler, for example, is a hand-emplaced acoustic-seismic sensor with a thermal imager that can detect, classify, and identify time-critical mobile targets by their acoustic-seismic-thermal signatures. Steel Rattler carries an embedded computer that can instantaneously process sound waves produced by moving vehicles. The system is intended to provide discriminating detection and targeting in the pre-launch and pre- deployment stages, cueing strike assets before the missile threats are armed and dangerous.
Steel Eagle is an airdropped version of the same package, and has already been fitted for deployment by the F-15, F-16, and F/A-18.
For 24 months, the UGS ACTD demonstrated and fielded improvements in the UMS's capability to detect, locate, identify, and report time-critical targets, primarily theater ballistic missiles. Exercised in conjunction with Special Forces (SF) detachments, UMS proved itself to be a force multiplier, and allowed SF for the first time to make operational decisions based on the UMS reports. Steel Rattler made an effective debut at the 1997 Roving Sands demonstration.
The system transitioned to the forces in 1999 under the Special Operations Command's funding line. The Air Force's Air Combat Command is sponsoring the related Steel Eagle program for an air- emplaced version.
In addition, RMWS, through close coordination with multiple users and during multiple demonstrations over 24 months, proved its utility when requested by U.S. European Command in support of the Kosovo Operation "Noble Anvil." RMWS proved itself to operational forces through reports that helped them to determine safest routes of travel and transit. RMWS is in the process of becoming a standard Air Force program through Air Force OS21.
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