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CHAPTER 3

TACTICAL MISSILE EARLY WARNING


Satellites. During peacetime and all stages of conflict, space-based sensors provide critical warning (i.e., attack initiation) information. The Defense Support Program (DSP) satellites can provide the first indications of a ballistic missile attack. Because of the extremely short timelines for National Command Authority (NCA) decisionmaking and survivability of selected forces should a ballistic missile attack be initiated, there is no alternative to space-based system for detection and reporting of the attack initiation.

Receivers. Air Defense Space Interface (ADSI) is a workstation that translates data from Tactical Receive and Related Applications (TRAP) formats to the most common air defense formats. It was used at the Control and Reporting Center (CRC) to make missile warning data available to Patriot Air Defense units for queuing.

Constant Source is a developmental workstation that was used by the intelligence sections of in-Theater Air Force wings, the CENTAF HQ, and the CRC. It was used as a manipulation, correlation, and display unit for the receipt of TERS (see description below) data at the CRC. This was tied into the air defense network to provide early warning.

Tactical Event Reporting System (TERS) is the USCINCSPACE program to make tactical missile warning data available to tactical commanders worldwide. This system provided early warning data in a near real-time fashion.

OBSERVATION: Personnel were not trained on some of the systems delivered.

DISCUSSION: Space technology is essential to the warning and early tracking of threat missile systems used. As Operation DESERT SHIELD progressed, new systems were provided to soldiers to develop air defense protection. The soldiers introduced to the system had never seen, nor had they been educated on, the system and consequently did not have confidence in the system before Operation DESERT STORM began.

LESSON(S): Soldiers must train with the system with which they are going to fight. Make soldiers aware of the technology available to help them accomplish their mission.

OBSERVATION: Tactical missile early warning was provided to deployed forces, but neither the Patriot nor the warning system used was designed for this role.

DISCUSSION: A communications link was established to connect the Patriot batteries into the early warning network. This was accomplished through a multihop communications satellite link from the unified Space Command to the air defenders in theater. Although available, the U. S. Space Command did not pass predicted impact area information. Brigades operating away from the corps air defense artillery umbrella experienced difficulty receiving missile warning alerts.

LESSON(S): Although the systems were not designed for tactical missile defense, the existing systems provided some capability that could be exploited for that purpose.

Units deployed away from corps assets are candidates for special (satellite) communications packages.

Table of Contents
Chapter 2: The Battlefield Environment, Part 2
Chapter 4: Communications



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