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Unattended Ground Sensors (UGS)

The awareness and use of passive sensor technologies for remote battlefield applications has greatly increased over the last few decades. Advances in digital signal processing (DSP) have spawned faster yet smaller and low-power computer chips that provide an opportunity for executing computationally extensive algorithms in real time. These advances have made the development of practical unattended ground sensors (UGS) possible. They can exist in various sizes and forms, contain several sensor technologies, can be deployed by several means, and can report information on or about different types of targets.

UGS consist of a variety of sensor technologies that are packaged for deployment and perform the mission of remote target detection, location and/or recognition. Ideally, the UGS are small, low cost and robust, and are expected to last in the field for extended periods of time after deployment. They are capable of transmitting target information back to a remote operator. These devices could be used to perform various mission tasks including perimeter defense, border patrol and surveillance, target acquisition, and situation awareness.

UGS can be designed to locally process target information, such as detection, bearing estimation, tracking, classification and/or identification. They can also be used for reporting battle damage assessment (BDA) in standoff strike scenarios. In order to support the varied missions of UGS systems, robust and reliable communication links must provide timely message transmissions back to a command and control (C2) center. Optimum performance of UGS systems is based on terrain, weather, and background noise estimates. Select computer models are used to predict performance and identify optimal deployment sites.

UGS Devices may consist of a battery-powered, single or multiple co-located sensors, with signal processing capability to analyze target characteristics, and transmit target recognition information to a remote monitoring location. UGS can be deployed by one of many different techniques. Miniaturization and cost reduction of components is a high priority, to facilitate packaging into artillery projectiles, large deployment from an airborne target or from a launched canister, or hand placement. Artillery and air deployment requires UGS and electronics to be highly robust, shock resistant and weather proof.

The operational life of UGS can be greatly extended with smart power management, which can extend the useful life of the device beyond that of normal, continuous operation. Smarts could be designed into the electronics to monitor the environment every several seconds with minimum power requirement. Once target detection is established, the UGS could power themselves up for normal real time monitoring operations.

Typical UGS have limited ranges of detection and identification. These limitations are generally due to background noise or weather and diurnal changes. A need exists to deploy several UGS devices in the vicinity of one another to ensure continuous monitoring of detected targets. A network of nodes that uses multiple sensor technologies can accurately locate and identify battlefield targets. In addition, they can perform valuable BDA by monitoring activities before and after each attack. UGS should be made as affordable as possible. Cost can become an issue if the price of any one of these devices gets too high.

Smart packaging of UGS in addition to self-location and orientation of sensors greatly improves their performance capability for deployment. Sensor fusion capability at the device level greatly enhances the probability of detection and probability of correct identification of target over range. Sensors built within UGS are generally passive in nature and can include acoustic, seismic, magnetic and IR capability. Correlation of features from various sensor technologies greatly enhances the target-recognition capability.

A robust communication link is key to a successful remote deployment of UGS, for without it, robust target measurements could not be extracted for monitoring. Communication bandwidth and transmission power should preferably be low. Data compression and data encryption could be used for secure Low Probability of Intercept (LPI) and Low Probability of Detection (LPD).



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