Networked Specific Emitter Identification in Fleet Battle Experiment Juliet

I. Terry
Tactical Electronic Warfare Division

Introduction: Specific Emitter Identification (SEI) technology developed by the Tactical Electronic Warfare Division provided a significant capability to participants during Fleet Battle Experiment Juliet/Millennium Challenge 2002 (FBE-Juliet/MC-02), which was held in Fall 2002 in San Diego, California. SEI provides a reliable, long-range, all-weather positive target identification capability against seaborne platforms and land-based systems that emit radar signals. A network of geographically separated SEI-equipped aircraft, ship, and land-based platforms operating in a networked environment provided time-critical, tactically relevant Electronic Intelligence (ELINT) that contributed to early Indications and Warning (I&W) of suspected hostile vessels, enhanced the commander's situational awareness, and assisted him in forming courses-of-action during the exercise.

Details: FBE-Juliet was the tenth in a series of FBEs. It was conducted under the overarching objectives of Millennium Challenge 2002, the Congressionally mandated joint event designed to simulate a realistic 2007 battlefield to assess the interoperability of new methods to plan, organize, and fight. NRL's focus during FBE was to aid in the identification of suspect ships operating close to shore (littorals). Naval operations in the littorals often occur in regions with high shipping densities. Interdiction operations and strikes against seaborne platforms under restrictive rules of engagement (ROE) scenarios require the capability to positively identify surface contacts, thereby reducing the ambiguities in the commander's overall target picture. Traditional surveillance methods fall short in the rapid establishment of the surface tactical picture when operating in such conditions. For FBE-J and MC-02, NRL installed UYX-4 SEI sensor systems onboard the destroyer USS Benfold, the command ship USS Coronado, a P-3 aircraft, and a mobile and fixed land-base site (Fig. 4). These systems demonstrated the ability for one platform to acquire a target of interest, inject that target's SEI information into a network, and have a different platform miles away receive that contact's information in near real time. Of significance was the ability to identify and consistently re-identify shipboard, land-based, and airborne radars on different days, using SEI systems on different platforms, operated by different operators (Fig. 5).

Fig 4
FBE-J networked SEI connectivity

Fig 5
SEI TACELINT message carries SEI "signature" appended to track reports from SEI capable units.

Highlights of Participation in FBE-J/MC-02

Rapid dissemination of information: In the past, Tactical Electronic Intelligence (TACELINT) messages containing SEI signature data were sent to theater commanders, national agencies, and other SEI sensor platforms, generally arriving 24-48 hours after the event occured. During FBE-J, TACELINT messages sent from an SEI sensor over the command network to another SEI sensor or to a command entity, were observed with a latency 10-15 seconds under normal network operating conditions. This ability to rapidly acquire and disseminate target information allowed the commander to make quick decisions in determining courses of action during the exercise.

Development of electronic order of battle: SEI-equipped units developed an SEI Ground Truth Data Base of Opposing Forces (OPFOR), potentially hostile, friendly, and background emitters over a period of 2 months prior to exercise, forming the basis for threat emitter identification/re-identification during FBE-J/MC-02 execution.

Tactical usage of electronic order of battle: Using the ground truth database, the SEI-equipped P-3 aircraft, ships, and coastal site provided vital support in identifying/re-identifying emitters of interest. The information injected into the sensor grid provided real-time situational awareness by amplifying and de-conflicting the naval tactical picture with the SEI signature information.

Networking achievements: NRL demonstrated that TACELINT messages produced and sent by the SEI sensor systems could be introduced into the GCCS-M 3.x command net as ELINT contact reports via a JOTS 1 Master TDBM, and further distributed to other GCCS-M workstations over the network using Common Operational Picture (COP) Sync Tools (CST). This was done using existing network TCP/IP communications, and the capabilities built into a GCCS-M 3.x JOTS 1 workstation, including auto-forward communications, track attribute correlation, track processing, generation, plotting, display and archiving.

Fleet Demand for NRL Technology: Leveraging on the successes and lessons learned from FBE:

1. Commander in Chief, Pacific Fleet made a direct request for the SEI system on USS Benfold to be cross-decked to another DDG to support real-world operations.

2. At the request of Commander, Naval Forces Europe, NRL is currently involved in the implementation of a Networked SEI Sensor Grid in the U.S. Sixth Fleet operational theater to support national defense objectives.

3. The Office of Naval Research (ONR) has funded the development and installation of an Integrated Sensor Suite, including an UYX-4 SEI system onboard the Navy's High Speed Vessel Joint Venture follow-on, HSV-X2.

4. ONR is also funding the Battle Group Distributed SEI Experiment (BGDSE) to equip an entire deploying carrier battle group with a Networked SEI capability.

Conclusion: Fleet Battle Experiment Juliet demonstrated the value and power of SEI's capability to uniquely identify and consistently re-identify radar signals. SEI provides a significant contribution to solving the deconfliction problem between hostile radars from friendly radars in dense, complex emitter environments. NRL's research in Networked SEI is expected to continue to bring a significant capability to operational commanders for a variety of tactical missions around the world.

[Sponsored by ONR]