greater flexibility in mission planning and decision making.
Providing multiple forms of intelligence via a single plat-
form offers several benefits, including greater situational
awareness and lower costs. “As opposed to looking through
a sensor at a single modality—for example, full-motion
video—you take a full-motion video plus signals intel-
ligence, plus other kinds of intelligence and give a picture
to the soldier that combines and enhances all three. That’s
a real game-changer in terms of the fusion and the integra-
tion of the data,” he continues. “Rather than sending three
different aircraft, we can send one aircraft that has three dif-
ferent sensor modalities to support each other.”
Service officials also intend to improve cross-platform
data sharing, which will enhance situational awareness
and improve force protection and aircraft survivability.
Currently, an aircraft will receive threat data from what-
ever sensors it has onboard but not from other aircraft or
ground systems. “It doesn’t get the data from the DCGS-A,
which incorporates all the other sensors from the ground
or from space to help improve its understanding of the
threat environment. One of our thrusts is to do that cross-
environment, cross-portfolio data sharing,” Kreider says.
But it is not only aircraft that will benefit. “Same thing
applies to force protection. Let’s say a Gray Eagle aircraft
that’s got a signals intelligence or a full-motion video sensor
flies over a forward-operating base—the forward-operating
base doesn’t see that data,” he says. But the Army is working
to ensure that any sensor that comes into the area—even
inadvertently—can be accessed, if necessary. That could
include data from national satellite systems or aerostat data
for troops leaving the forward-operating base.
The PEO-IEW&S office has provided significant support to warfighters. In the past two years alone, the office
has fielded more than 45,000 systems, including reconnaissance aircraft and aerostats. Under Task Force ODIN
(Observe, Detect, Identify and Neutralize), the team provided 112 aircraft at one time. At another point, the team
had provided 32,000 vehicle-mounted Counter Remote
Control Improvised Explosive Device Electronic Warfare systems, which are commonly referred to as CREW
systems. The office also has fielded numerous aerostats,
which have proven instrumental in the combat theater.
“As a PEO, I have had the largest support contingency
downrange. Today, I still have 1,200 people downrange,”
Kreider says. “We’ve been busy.”
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