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JTAGS - Joint Tactical Ground Station

The Joint Tactical Ground Station (JTAGS) is a transportable information processing system which receives and processes in-theater, raw, wideband infrared data downlinked from Defense Support Program sensors. The system disseminates warning, alerting, and cueing information on Tactical Ballistic Missiles (TBM), and other tactical events of interest throughout the theater using existing communications networks.

JTAGS evolved from the Army Space Exploitation Demonstration Program. Prototype systems were built and demonstrated to CINC's in Europe and Korea in 1993 and 1994. Developed and built by Aerojet for the U.S. Army, JTAGS determines the TBM source by identifying missile launch point and time, and provides an estimation of impact point and time. Since the system is located in-theater, it reduces the possibility of single-point-failure in long-haul communication systems and is responsive to the Theater Commander. It also fulfills the in-theater role of the U.S. Space Command's Theater Event System (TES).

JTAGS maximizes the use of commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) and government off-the-shelf (GOTS) equipment. The system is housed in a NBC protected standard military shelter, equipped with a standard mobilizer that permits tow speeds up to 55 mph by a 5-ton truck. It is air transportable by a C-141 or larger aircraft.

JTAGS is an essential link for the Theater Commander's situational awareness. Operational benefits include:

  • Cueing of active theater missile defense systems for missile intercept
  • Cueing attack operations assets to find and destroy enemy launch capability
  • Timely warning for the protection of friendly forces and population

JTAGS receives direct down linked data from up to three Defense Support Program sensors and follow-on space-based sensors. Features include:

  • Threat Tactical Ballistic Missile infrared data
  • 3-D stereo processing of multiple sensor downlinks
  • Real-time reporting
  • Robust multi-networks capability
  • In-theater data/voice

The high resolution JTAGS displays include:

  • Estimated launch point and time
  • Predicted impact point and time
  • Trajectory parameter
  • Multi-track capability

Inside JTAGS, there are three operation/ maintainers per shift. The JTAGS systems are operated by joint Army-Navy crews. They consist of a deployable towed shelter and a crew of 15 soldiers and sailors which provides 24-hour, 365 day-a-year, all weather threat monitoring.

The JTAGS can deploy worldwide. Two JTAGS systems were delivered overseas for contingency operations/exercises, and three systems have been fielded in CONUS: one to Vandenberg Air Force Base, California, and two to Colorado Springs, Colorado. As of late 2002 there were five operational JTAGS systems. Two replaced the prototypes in Europe and Asia in 1997, two are located at Colorado Springs to support contingency operations and one is located at Fort Bliss, TX, for training.

JTAGS P3I Phase I improved the accuracy and timeliness of both predicted missile launch and impact points. It will also improve information dissemination through JTIDS integration fusion of DSP data with data from other sensors and sensor calibration via the use of static sources and beacons. Phase II upgrades five JTAGS into Multi-Mission Mobile Processors (M3P) for integration into the Space-Based Infrared System (SBIRS). The upgrade is necessary for continued JTAGS operation with the new constellation of SBIRS satellites scheduled to replace the aging DSP. The tri-service memorandum of agreement calls for a common mobile processor and recognizes JTAGS as an in-theater tactical processor. M3P provides a low-cost solution for all services.

The Joint Tactical Ground Stations are the only deployed/deployable systems providing CINC's with direct downlinked, in-theater early warning of ballistic missile launches. The JTAGS system is a key part of CINCSPACE's Tactical Event System.

The JTAGS processes data from up to three Defense Support Program infrared, missile warning satellites to determine launch points and time, azimuth of flight, and predicted point and time of impact for theater ballistic missiles. JTAGS supports passive defense by providing in-theater early warning of enemy ballistic missile launch events and provides alert notification to command-level staffs who disseminate the alert message to units in the threatened area. JTAGS also supports active defense by cueing air defense assets to the missile track. Data is also provided on launch location to deep attack assets to aid in attack operations. The key to JTAGS' theater support is its relatively direct connectivity and distribution architecture, via a variety of voice and data networks. As a result of its in-theater location, JTAGS can provide timely, assured early warning.

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Page last modified: 21-07-2011 00:47:04 ZULU