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Attack and Launch Early Report to Theater (ALERT) (U)

Overview (U):

(U) The Attack and Launch Early Report to Theater (ALERT) system derives and disseminates information relating to ballistic missile launches, primarily in areas of interest to theater warfighters. ALERT fuses sensor level data from Defense Support Program (DSP) satellites and other national assets and transmits information derived from the fused data to theater users. ALERT is an operational system based on capabilities prototyped and demonstrated in CY92-CY95 by TALON SHIELD, a project administratively sponsored by the Air Force Tactical Exploitation of National Capabilities (TENCAP) program and funded principally by DSP and BMDO.

Description (U):

(U) The ALERT system fuses real-time sensor data available from all accessible DSP satellites and other sources to determine/estimate:
- (U) 1. Missile type, launch time, launch location, and launch direction, as well as;
- (U) 2. Missile state at burnout (time, 3-dimensional position and velocity) and associated uncertainties.

(U) ALERT may update launch information several times for each missile launch and transmit refined information in a series of launch, state, and impact messages. The number of messages transmitted on a particular missile is dependent upon the missile's characteristics, ALERT's software settings, and operator discretion.

(U) ALERT messages are received by Satellite Communications (SATCOM) terminals in theater, where battle management nodes can use the launch point data to direct attacks against the missile launch equipment. In addition, some in-theater radars can use the state data to detect, acquire, and track missiles in support of Active Defense, while other in-theater elements may use impact point data to provide military and civilian populations warning so that they may seek appropriate protection. Although ALERT's principal operational mission is reporting on theater ballistic missiles, it has, since the beginning of CY98, complied with US Space Command's request to also voice-tell information on the launches of intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs)and Space Launches.

(U) The on-going research and development Project supporting the operational ALERT system is called SHIELD. SHIELD includes hardware and software similar to that in ALERT. SHIELD receives the same data as ALERT and has the capability to perform the same processing. SHIELD supports ALERT by prototyping and evaluating modifications to its software to explore potential refinement for the ALERT system. SHIELD also addresses potential evolutionary extensions of space-based support to warfighting missions. In the National Missile Defense context, for example, Shield has demonstrated the ability to send missile state data to a Battle Management Command and Control (BMC2) node, which then transmits the information to an Upgraded Early Warning Radar (UEWR) which can use this information to generate a short-term radar fence. The fence allows earlier detection of the ballistic missile or its components. This testing illustrates ALERT's continued capability to support National Missile Defense.

User Impact (U):

(U) ALERT disseminates information of ballistic missile launches to provide continuous real-time information to warfighters.

Programmatics (U):

(U) Operational.

(U) Organizations and Funding:
  • (U) Air Force.

Images (U):

(U) None.

Related Initiatives (U):
DSPDefense Support Program (DSP)
UEWRUpgraded Early Warning Radars
This Table Is Unclassified.

Related Requirements (U):None.

Related Categories (U):
C2 & Data HandlingCommand and Control (C2) and Data Handling
This Table Is Unclassified.

Road Map Placements (U):

This Table Is Unclassified.

Requirements, Funding and Additional Hotlinks (U):

RDT&E Budget Item Project 3615
SBIRS Homepage
This Table Is Unclassified.

Lead Office (U):

(U) Air Force.

(U) DoD: USD(A&T) and OASD(C3I), Pentagon, Washington, DC
(U) Service Staff: SAF/AQS, NGB/XO, and HQ USAF/XOR, Pentagon, Washington, DC
(U) Major Command: HQ AFSPC/DO/DR, Peterson AFB, CO
(U) Program Management: HQ AFPEO/SP, Pentagon, Washington, DC; SBIRS Program Office, Space and Missile Systems Center, Los Angeles AFB, CA

Point of Contact (U):

(U) Maj James Thorne, SMC, Open Phone: (310) 363-1451, DSN 833-1451.

Date Of Information (U):

(U) 14 September 1998

(U) Road Map Production Date: 12 July 1999

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